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Public Spaces Around the World: Eddy Kaijser’s ‘Urban Living Room’

thiscitylife:

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Photos c/o ID Eddy

As a new This City Life feature, I will be profileing a fun, urban public space project each month. This week, I came across Eddy Kaijser, a Rotterdam-based urban designer, who contacted me through the blog. His “Urban Living Room" is a pop-up installation project that brings the cozy warmth of the family living room into local urban landscapes. 

The Urban Living Room consists of your typical living room furnishings: a sofa, chairs, coffee table, dresser and lamp, as well as common objects used in everyday life like a teapot, newspaper rack, plant and even a campfire -  all painted in electric blue. The Living Room’s contemporary furniture was created by leading Dutch designers Dirk van der Kooij, Roderick Vos for Linteloo, Ben Oostrum en Jan Melis. 

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According to Urban Living Room creator Eddy Kaijser, installing these comforts of home in an urban context makes big cities feel more intimate and welcoming.

"The world urbanizes rapidly. People live closer together and cities keep on expanding - how do we hold on to the  bond with the city that is rapidly changing? The large scale of the city demands the opposite: a home. Feeling at home is a special feeling. By putting a living room setting in an unexpected place, we create an opportunity for that home feeling. With this project we want to explore that feeling. Important in the development of a city are the contacts between people, especially on a cultural and social level. The Urban Living Room is a prime example of encouraging this."

So far, the installation has travelled from Rotterdam to Istanbul to Barcelona. In each location, small scale activities such as board games, children’s storytelling and live music from local musicians are programmed.

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"The Urban Living Room is a social meeting place that we designed to demonstrate who the public space of the city belongs to: the people," said Eddy.

Eddy has been involved in many innovative public space projects that have been showcased around the world, such as his Flying Grass Carpet, an immense Persian rug with a pattern executed in different types of artificial grass. It creates an instant park, bringing a soft, cozy green space to wherever it lands. Since its conception in 2008, it has won the Dutch Design award and been displayed in Istanbul, Madrid, Berlin and many other cities.

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According to Eddy, his ideas pop up, based on a combination of intuition and listening to citizens’ feedback on their desires for lively public spaces. 

"My main inspiration for getting involved in public art space projects is a combination of the ‘displeasure’ with how I feel things are designed in public space right now. There tends to be a focus on maintenance free, low-cost spaces, consequently with a very in unsocial, dull end result. I think that the public space belongs to the people and I want to create a pleasant, social place where people can meet, play and enjoy."

Currently, Eddy is designing a total new kind of public space specifically for children.

"They can create their own world in this space. It will be really nice."

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