For the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, the architect Didier Faustino created the installation Double Happiness, a gutted billboard with two swings replacing the ad space. One of the coolest parts about this installation is that Faustino doesn’t think of it as a sculpture, he calls it an “urban reanimation device.” It isn’t just something visual, it’s meant to draw people on to it, to be an interactive component of the city.
Of the project, Faustino says: “Double Happiness responds to the society of materialism where individual desires seem to be prevailing over all. This nomad piece of urban furniture allows the reactivation of different public spaces and enables inhabitants to reappropriate fragments of their city. They will both escape and dominate public space through a game of equilibrium and desequilibrium. By playing this “risky” game, and testing their own limits, two persons can experience together a new perception of space and recover an awareness of the physical world.”
I think this is a really neat project because of the way it takes something that is typically ugly and inhuman and turns it into something fun. More than that though, it seems like the real value of Double Happiness is the perspective it offers to those who engage with it. Sitting high up on a billboard, swinging back and forth as you gaze out on the city before you, I think you’d have to feel a kind of connection to the city itself. It seems like it forces people to contemplate their urban environment and their place within it, which is something we should all do more often.