What if…our public spaces felt like home?

Insights from the Dutch Design Week and the Sweco Design Challenge

Changing the world around us has never been more relevant, inspiring and challenging. Right now, connection and inclusive meeting places are crucial, between people, generations and social groups. That is why Sweco Netherlands organised a design challenge. The three designers chosen for this challenge were asked to design the meeting place of the future. They presented their solutions at the Dutch Design Week.

In order to design the meeting place of the future, Sweco, together with the Dutch Design Foundation, launched a ‘What If’ lab in which designers are challenged to come up with ideas and innovative solutions for the urban areas of the future. During this design challenge, three design studios worked to develop their ideas.

In the video below, you can listen to the top designers reflect on new design ideas and innovative solutions, on how to develop the meeting places of the future and on making public spaces feel like home. Listen to the three winners of the design challenge explain their design ideas and their solutions.

Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven

Dutch Design Week took place in Eindhoven from 16-24 October; it is a week full of design in all its aspects. In areas all over the City of Eindhoven, exhibitions, lectures, award ceremonies, network meetings, debates and festivities are organised.  It is one of the largest events and meeting places for designers in the Netherlands to show their work, meet other designers and initiate a dialogue about the best solutions.

The three concepts

A new vision for unused space. Shadow space by Studio 1:1:

A project that is exploring a new vision for the unused space under viaducts and bridges, highlighting the potential of these unused spaces in relation to the impact of a changing climate.  More frequent extreme weather events will require public space that offers both shade and shelter, which viaducts and bridges can provide.

Vision for unused space

Vision for unused space, design by Shadow Spaces Studio 1:1 © Studio 1:1.

How can we work, meet and rest more outdoors? Bodyscape by Rombout Frieling Lab

Bodyscape is a proposal to design the landscape of our public space in such a way that it offers a wealth of possibilities for working, meeting and resting outdoors, by clever use of differences in height and vegetation.

Bodyscape, design by Bodyscape impression – © Rombout Frieling Lab

Bodyscape, design by Bodyscape impression – © Rombout Frieling Lab.

Tools for a happy city. What if … it’s up to you by Olifantenpad CS

This studio is designing tools to ensure that everyone feels welcome in a city. People will design their own public space in VR with the help of a toolbox created by designers, and experience first-hand the effect of their choices. Afterwards, the different designs created in this way, will be tested with neurofeedback to find the design that works best on both a conscious and a subconscious level.

Public space in VR, Screenshot of the VR application – © KaiserVR.

Studio 1:1’s project, Shadow Space, was selected by the committee as the ‘Design in Residence’, which will be further developed in 2022 in collaboration with Sweco.

Find more information and read about the finalists’ projects at Sweco.nl