The FURNISH consortium is delighted to announce that all 7 design teams have successfully developed, fabricated, installed and tested their prototype urban elements, which combine tactical urbanism with local digital manufacturing to make public spaces safer, more comfortable, and more engaging for use during COVID-19.
Please find an overview of the results below, and we invite you to download each team’s respective Design Booklet PDF for more information. Further, all the fabrication files for each design are fully open-source and available for free download in our archive.
A total of 23 teams applied to the open call, which resulted in 4 winning teams from different European countries. During the past months, they have been working jointly with the consortium members through mentoring and virtual workshops, which has involved more than 70 professionals, to design unique temporary urban elements. The 7 teams (4 selected through the open call and 3 headed by the FURNISH design partners) have now reached the last stage of the process and have already tested their creations on the streets of their respective cities.
The contexts where these prototypes have been tested are cultural, educational, recreational and commercial activities that take place in public space. In these situations, new spaces need to be gained, often in a temporary way. FURNISH proposals help expand public space in areas temporarily cut off from circulation.
The seven prototypes, placed in five different European cities, have been tested by more than 300 people through “living labs”, as the end-users of these designs have intervened in the evaluation of the pieces, fabricated digitally in FabLabs. The cities where these tests are taking place are: Espoo (Finland), Barcelona (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Guimarães (Portugal), and Milan (Italy).
The prototypes created are:
The AEIOU (Amplification Element for Interactive Open Urbanism) prototypes are movable autonomous spatial devices that allow to amplify sound due their megaphone shape in diverse urban contexts. The design was thought to amplify the sound of drums, as they are used at the Pinheiro parade, in the city of Guimarães. The prototypes design was supported by parametric modelling tools, namely for the design and discretisation of the curved surfaces of the “megaphones”. The structure of the prototypes and surfaces are produced by CNC milling process, with a structure defined by a contouring system, built in birch plywood (30 mm thickness).
The AEIOU prototype intends to generate new ways of expressing a traditional event, by means of an interaction that keeps social distancing but simultaneously reaches the greatest number of people, spreading the positive feeling that is present in such a traditional celebration.
BP Gang is a Courtyard transformation project in a downtown urban block in Budapest. It is an installation of digitally fabricated sets of furniture and graphics. It aims to foster the stimulus for more interaction between users through art, music, theatre, and new daily rituals while maintaining social distancing measures daily.
The team focused on transforming the courtyards into new cores of community life by creating new daily rituals. The installation has two layers: gang and courtyard. The gang part includes CNC milled plywood cutty-stools and windowsills. The courtyards’ design and installation of digitally fabricated sets of furniture and graphics stimulated more interaction between users through art, music, theatre—the life maintaining social distancing measures daily.
Konch is a multipurpose object enabling discussion or relaxation in the COVID-19 situation. It is a comfortable seat with an integrated audio system. This way one can keep the social distance recommendations and still have a vivid, organic, screen-less conversation, as a balance to the recently so popular video chats. Konches can be easily arranged in any constellation up to 100 meters apart, which is the area covered by the integrated router.
The platform is suitable for both outdoor, and indoor settings. Because of its weatherproof coating and its shell-like design, it can be a cosy hideout during cloudy and windy days. It is perfect for students debating from different corners of the school/university, or simply enjoying a chat over a cup of coffee with some fresh air.
MUE:SLI (Mobile Urban Element: Sport, Leisure and Inclusion) is the name of the digital fabrication project developed by the UNPark team of the Politecnico di Milano and Ideas – Bit Factory, the first Fab lab of the Monza Brianza province, for the European Call FURNISH (EIT Urban Mobility).
MUE:SLI is an urban furniture modular system, formed by plywood wooden panels cut by a CNC machine that can be intersected and assembled to create benches, tables, vertical supports and game surfaces for the public space. Thanks to several plug-ins, it is adaptable to multiple functions and uses related to sport, leisure and social inclusion, in full compliance with physical distancing rules to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Under the conditions derived from the COVID-19 Pandemic and the protocols for the use of spaces and physical distancing, we will focus on experimenting with urban relations and synergies, focusing on educational spaces. Based on the strategic location of an ephemeral and itinerant architectural device, it is intended to allow continuous learning and experimentation on the use and appropriation of urban space by citizens.
Some of its benefits that the prototype EDUS brings to the interface between schools and streets are:
– Intervene quickly with the participation of the citizen, more active, agile and informed for decision-making on the management of urban space.
– Promote proximity relationships. From the study of existing relationships, attractor and daily uses, travel flows, micromobility, environmental conditions, etc.
– Extend educational activities and uses, beyond classrooms and centres. From the appropriation of outdoor spaces, and of all kinds of public spaces and facilities.
VORA is a temporary infrastructure conceived to intensify and multiply the use of recently gained pedestrian spaces around school accesses in Barcelona city centre, consolidating the temporary public spaces that have occupied streets in response to the COVID-19 crisis. VORA is a safe and thick limit that promotes space appropriation though spontaneous game, outdoor academic activities and creative industries actions.
It’s a system, not an object, that can be adapted to any site to generate a safe limit that will protect and activate expanded pedestrian space. Once the system is installed on the site, VORA’s plug-in components can be rearranged according to the needs of the site with the addition of slides, steps, benches or combined playscapes.
Open Terrace is a modular, adaptable system of rapidly deployable and reusable urban elements for reclaiming vehicular space for human use. The system comprises wooden platforms which elevate street areas to the same level as pedestrian zones, and massive wooden curb which act as safety barriers between people and vehicles and are also capable of serving as foundations for a wide range of plug-in furniture elements.
Open Terrace was conceived as a direct response to the city of Barcelona’s temporary permitting of >2.600 bar and restaurant terraces occupying former vehicular space in order to expand opportunities for socially distanced outdoor dining. Open Terrace seeks to dramatically improve the quality of these areas, which were never designed for human use and have been demarcated with unappealing concrete and plastic barriers, by replacing these inhumane objects with high quality, aesthetic, regionally sourced, and ecologic materials.