Boombench & Moving Forest by NL architects

NL architects have been working together since 1997 and realised a wide variety of provocative and humorous projects: from a vase for Cor Unum (Den Bosch) to the new shop layout for Mandarina Duck (Paris). They are now working on a commission for the Groninger Forum, a new eye catcher in the eponymous city that will combine public library, cinema, historical museum and other functions in the city’s central square.

NL architects was awarded the Rotterdam Design Prize 2001 with their design for WOS8, a water transfer station. The wet-look black polyurethane shell for this system doubles as a playing object for local residents and passers-by. It can be used as a climbing wall or basketball pitch, but it also offers shelter to swifts. A similar multifunctionality characterizes their award winning BasketBar (Emerging Architect Special Mention – Mies van der Rohe Award 2005). It is a university campus café with a bright orange basketball court on the roof and bright orange seating object next to it.

For the design of the ‘Boombench’ NL architects transformed a regular piece of
street furniture into a sound system. This seemingly normal street bench reveals its hidden gimmick when it is activated via Bluetooth, allowing the public to play the music on their mobile phones. Street furniture becomes ghettoblaster and passer-by becomes DJ. ‘Moving Forest’ is NL Architects’ answer to the lack of green in contemporary urban environments. One might occasionally find a carefully designed patch of plants or shrubbery there, but nothing like the majestic parks and shady trees that can be found in historical city centres. So they designed a park on wheels, with trees in shopping carts. Around a small street bench, the public can rearrange their own little park and thus create a nice green view and a bit of shade.