You know the old saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In the case of Basurama, that trash is transformed into the building blocks of two new playgrounds for kids in Taipei, Taiwan. Commissioned as part of World Design Capital 2016, Basurama’s project, called Re-create Taipei, consists of a pair of play spaces innovatively constructed from water tanks and street lamps reclaimed from local landfills. Keep reading to watch an interview with Basurama design member Mónica Gutiérrez Herrero and to take a video tour of the site as it transforms from trash to playground.
Founded in 2001, the Basurama artist collective has worked around the world developing innovative uses for waste to raise awareness about the benefits of reuse and the ills of a throwaway consumerist society. Re-create Taipei was created in collaboration with Taiwan-based City Yeast as part of an International Open Call program hosted by the World Design Capital, a biennial city promotion project hosted this year by Taipei. The design studios constructed two temporary playground sites in a central location near Zhongxiao Xinsheng. As their name implies (‘basura’ is the Spanish word for trash), Basurama primarily uses locally found, discarded materials as their preferred building medium.
“We always try to work with local materials,” said Mónica Gutiérrez Herrero in an interview with Inhabitat. “So, in this case it is our first time working with water tanks because it’s the first time we’re in a country that uses it. So we are really happy to experiment and learn from new materials because although we have been working now for 15 years, we learn in each project.” The unique and site-specific Re-Create Taipei playgrounds were built in ten days following a nine-month design and planning process that involved site selection, material collection, and community engagement.
The Re-create Taipei playground that Inhabitat visited comprises four main play components: a ball pit, a labyrinth, a tunnel, and a slide house. Upcycled water tanks form the skeleton for all the play areas and are supplemented with other found materials. The water tank labyrinth, for instance, is covered in a variety of textures including bubble wrap, astroturf, a chalkboard surface, tree bark, and more. The second site, located nearby in an underpass, features swings made from discarded street lamps. The “trash” playgrounds are a temporary urban installation and will stay onsite until the conclusion of the World Design Capital later this year. Click here for a Google Map with the playground locations.
Images © Lucy Wang