Why Beautiful Public Spaces Matter More than Ever
In dark and divided times, we all know how beautiful spaces can lift our spirits and bring us together. Why then should public spaces experienced by thousands of people a day be typically devoid of the kind of warmth and expression we value in our homes, favourite restaurants or local galleries?
Well, things are changing in the wake of designers challenging the idea of a choice between form and function when it comes to public spaces. Trailblazing projects such as Yinka Ilori’s unmistakably frivolous projects such as ‘flamboyance of flamingo’ playground, splashes a myriad of colour and pattern across a Dagenham public park to create a unique destination celebrating playfulness in all its forms.
Following a cultural backlash to the homogenisation of logos due to the digitisation of typography and the sterilising forces of globalisation, we are craving originality and variety in the world around us. Studies show the consumer tastemakers that are Gen-Z have the greatest leaning towards eclectic and experimental design styles – the exact opposite of the aesthetics borne from a culture of standardisation. In true reactionary style, The society obsessed with automation and convenience is craving humanity more than ever.
“The society obsessed with automation and convenience is craving humanity more than ever.”
For example, Public art is becoming more of a priority. The Crossrail Ltd art programme was an integral part of the Elizabeth Line project, delivering unique installations within each station across the ‘line-wide’ exhibition. The project shows how art and design can be informative to the design and engineering stage, rather than being an incoherent afterthought.
We all know art can connect to us on an emotional and human level to a sense of place. The recent Charles de Gaulle airport terminal in Paris is a perfect blend of functionality, durability and originality which combine to create a memorable space full of delight. Stylised banquette seating reminds us of Parisian benches and humorous recreations of fountains celebrate both the uniquely beautiful physical features of the city and the unique charms of the Parisian lifestyle. Moulded plastic tubing creates areas of durable, high capacity seating while being visually reminiscent of celebrated Parisian landmark and global design icon, the Pompidou Centre, (Centre Pompidou) inserting the terminal seamlessly into the city’s wider design discourse.
“As our world becomes increasingly automated and standardised, a refocusing on the transformative power of design is more important than ever for businesses”
Art and design enriches our world. They create emotional connections with us as on a human level, and with us as consumers. As our world becomes increasingly automated and standardised, a refocusing on the transformative power of design is more important than ever for businesses and institutions when considering what kind of spaces they want to create for themselves and for the world.