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Blackout

Design // Tomaso Boano & Jonas Prišmontas

Blackout is an hybrid design typology, a project able to adapt to different programs and usages. A piece of un-obstructive street furniture which lifts up its skin and transforms into a kiosk with either a commercial or public use.

 

With rapidly growing urban population and the building density in cities increasing at an enormous rate, the public space is becoming more and more precious.


Over the last few decades humanity has witnessed great technological advancements in telecommunications, transport, energy production, construction etc. On the other hand, a concept of one of the most important elements of an economically healthy street - a retail kiosk - has long been neglected in terms of its functionality and physical configuration. London, one of the largest metropolises, hosts thousands of kiosks and there are thousands of design variations. However, at the end of the day they all just close down and pay no contribution to the street. Moreover, there are the days when the non-mobile kiosks do not open for business at all, and act as useless obstructions, shamelessly blocking the increasing pedestrian traffic.  

 

Blackout is a piece of un-obstructive street furniture which - by lifting up its skin - is capable of transforming into a kiosk with either a commercial or a public use. This project is a hybrid result of combined studies of existing pop-up store and kiosk provision in London and a playful human-scale sculptural study.  

The greatest advantage of this hybrid kiosk is that unlike its predecessors, it is usable 24/7, 365 days per year. It is made using durable vandal-proof materials that can withstand any extreme weather conditions. Moreover, the exterior finishes are comfortable and provide pleasurable interaction experience for the users.  


This design challenges and combines the concepts of kiosk and street furniture. By using simple hydraulic columns, the objects is able to lift up its skin and become a customizable space with uses ranging from coffee shop, bike repair workshop, library, tickets office to small retail outlet or even a mini-cinema.  

 

The object serves both the community and the public space. When closed, it provides a series of intimate sitting spaces, which offer shelter from strong London winds and harsh summer sun. What is more, the kiosk has a sculptural shape with four different elevations, which makes the shape look similar yet different from all sides. Its aim is to create curiosity and evoke people's playfulness. The sculpted stairs work as a suggestive element that invites people to explore and use this piece of street furniture. When the roof is lifted up, it acts as a beacon - an unusual element that can be seen from far away - that invites people to find out about the activities inside. Creating a point of attraction and gathering can be a significantly beneficial in revitalization of some poor quality urban spaces.