Samantha Lippett & Nils Norman: The Model, A City Reimagined
“My mind goes on containing a great number of cities I have never seen and will never see, names that bear with them a figure or a fragment or glimmer of an imagined figure.”
In this passage from Invisible Cities Calvino beautifully sets up the idea of the possibly unattainable richness of a space never visited, only heard of. How such places, being essentially aural, can hold more than reality could ever carry.
Artist Nils Norman and curator Samantha Lippett brainstorm a citywide exhibition and urban plan, titled The Model: A City Reimagined. The exhibition draws inspiration from public playgrounds as a site for imagination, collaboration and activism. Nils Norman is an artist working across the disciplines of public art, architecture and urban planning. Samantha Lippett is a curator and educator working across the disciplines of arts education, social practice and independent radio.
This project permits children with active agency in both consultation and design, with the mobilising of young citizens valued above cars. The coexistence of diverse social groupings is encouraged through open activities like composting and urban gardening that can be communally enjoyed on street corners. Art organisations spill out into the streets with sculptural pieces that offer multiple possibilities like play, exercise and relaxation. This citywide model provides opportunity for the publicness of public space to truly and playfully be reclaimed.
This reimagining emerged after a conversation about the activist Palle Nielsen, who installed an adventure playground in the main gallery of Moderna Museet Stockholm in 1968. Nils Norman is an artist working across the disciplines of public art, architecture and urban planning. Samantha Lippett is a curator and educator working across the disciplines of arts education, social practice and independent radio.
Listen to The Model: A City Reimagined here:
Céline Condorelli, “Elmington Playground” (2021) South London Gallery.
“MIXdesign”. Joel Sander’s think tank and design consultancy dedicated to creating design recommendations and prototypes that respond to the specific needs of traditionally marginalized individuals whom architects, interior designers and clients have long overlooked.
MK Gallery, “City Club”
Palle Nielsen, “The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society” (1968) Moderna Museet in Stockholm (Exhibition)
Park McArthur, “Ramps” (2014) Essex Street Gallery (Exhibition)
Richard Dattner’s “Ancient Playground”.
“Stud: Architectures of Masculinity” (1996) Ed. Joel Sanders
“Streetwork: The Exploding School” (1973) Anthony Fyson and Colin Ward
Free PDF download here.
Schools with open playgrounds in Copenhagen: