Watershed is delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 international Playable City Award, Urbanimals, created by the Laboratory for Architectural Experiments, LAX, based in Poland.
This September and October, a playful pack of wild beasts will appear in unexpected places across the city of Bristol, waiting for people to play with them. Take up the dolphin’s challenge to leap together, chase a shy rabbit down the pavement or skip with a cheeky kangaroo. Lurking behind city walls and hiding in dark corners, Urbanimals are eager to brighten the day. Triggered by people passing or stopping, this magically interactive project will be created using projectors and sensors and will stretch across the whole city.
Richard Roberts, one of the Judging panel, from Jason Bruges Studio said, “It was the fresh response to the brief, and the positive impact that these pieces could make to everyday city journeys that won me over.”
Urbanimals by LAX was selected from 197 applications received from 60 countries around the world, and the installation will be unveiled in Bristol in September 2015. LAX are an experimental design team based in Poland, who describe themselves as practicing ‘at the edge of architecture’, testing the boundaries of urban planning, design, psychology and computation. They will now work with Watershed producers across the summer in Bristol to explore their ideas, developing the technology to bring their vision to life.
“Bringing people together through play in forgotten areas of the city lies at the heart of what we do”, say Ania and Sebastian from LAX, “with Urbanimals we want to highlight the city’s hidden value and treasures inspiring residents to consider their environment in new and unexpected ways, we want to stimulate their senses and inject a sense of excitement and wonder into the everyday urban landscape.”
Clare Reddington, Executive Producer of the Award says, “ We are very much looking forward to working with Ania and Sebastian to bring Urbanimals to life in unexpected and hidden corners of Bristol. We love the combination of imagination and sophistication that the idea offers and were impressed with their ambitious and playful response to the playable city theme.”
Miguel Sicart, play scholar and author of Play Matters (MIT Press)
“Urbanimals helps us rediscover the magic in the city; it gives us a fresh perspective on spaces we might ignore, we might forget, we might despise. Playable cities are instruments to give us back the sense of wonder and situate it in our daily lives. Urbanimals is a great example of this appropriation of the urban space to remind us of its beauties and mysteries”.
Richard Roberts from Jason Bruges Studio continues, “Urbanimals is a great piece because it proposes a series of unexpected installations which are delightfully fun and engaging. Its flexibility allows it to be deployed in areas of the city that would benefit from something startling, fresh and new. This proposal allows many levels of interaction from brief encounters by passive observers to active engagement over longer timeframes, and is open to be enjoyed by everyone.”