I stood awkwardly facing the camera surrounded by faces i didn’t recognise. As the discussion drew to a close we stood in a pack unsure of where to start. The first point of call was the studio, where we introduced ourselves and began talking about the project ahead.
The brief was broad with the concept simply being to reclaim urban landscape for one day only and turn a parking space into a greener, more sustainable area. Park(ing) day originated in San Fransisco and is now a global event in which anyone can choose to take part. We chose to base our concept around how Dundee has changed and continues to change as a city over time.
Our research into the history of Dundee lead us towards the idea of a picnic for our concept. During the industrial revolution Dundee became a factory powerhouse producing both products and soot. This drove the locals to appreciate green spaces and parks more than they had in the past, therefore increasing the popularity of the picnic. We decided that this was a good, basic concept in which we could bring into 21st century Dundee. Picnics were a way of bringing people together in a natural environment for social interaction without the use of technology. We wanted to promote green spaces for social interaction through the use of a picnic theme.
The first idea began with sourcing AstroTurf to create a square of grass with old furniture placed on top to encourage people to sit and stay to interact. In order to draw people in we discussed the idea of picnic foods such as small sandwiches and biscuits. To further emphasise the idea of nature we decided to construct a tree as during a picnic the best spot would often be in the shade of a large tree.
The tree was going to stand 2metres tall and have various branches of different sizes. We sourced the plywood large enough to create the shape and began cutting over the template with a jigsaw. It turned out to take longer than expected but the tree was eventually finished.
Looking at the overall design we wanted to add a little more to the aesthetic of the space to create a greater interest among the public. We decided to construct a hill made from old carpet tubes which people could sit on and enjoy social interaction within our space. The tubes were trimmed and drilled at three separate points to allow us to thread a rope through to hold it together. Each layer of tubes was joined in a line and the layers placed on top of one another and screwed together. This created a sturdy structure which we covered with an old carpet.
The carpet covering the tubes was due to be thrown away but we up cycled it by covering it in paint to represent grass. It was an easier and cheaper solution to sourcing AstroTurf.
The final design was successful in creating a welcoming space which promoted social interaction. We served small biscuits and sweets throughout the day in order to draw the public into our space. Many people would pause for a minute or two and ask about what we created. Most people had never heard of parking day and after spending time in our installation learned more about the concept of the project.
Images of the final design are shown below.