Tom Hawes’ project “came about by recognizing skateboarding as an unstoppable urban pathology.”
Skateable Furniture is a range of benches that encourage skateboarding as a positive activity for youth to regenerate public spaces. The seven benches fit together in many different combinations, and the low back and fortified steel edges allow for many possibilities in terms of “skate-ability”. The benches draw on the visual language of London and are designed to blend into both traditional and modern spaces.
“By virtue of its status as a misuse of public space, and because it is a symptom of defensive design, skateboarding is exceptionally good at drawing attention to the quietly exclusionary nature of modern public space,” explains Hawes. “Older children and young adults are either not considered in urban planning or outright excluded from public spaces. Skateboarders add value to many unused public spaces and regulate possibly dangerous spaces with their presence.”
“The design of public spaces needs to respond to the uses of it by the public. If young people are using these spaces for positive activities like skateboarding, then the design of these spaces needs to evolve alongside these new uses, not discourage and criminalize, alienating and socially excluding the youth.”
Picture courtesy of the designer (tmhdesign AT hotmail DOT com).