European design collection ON/OFF inspired confusion, curiosity, and delight in Brussels with BOULEvard, a temporary mobile playground that created play spaces in unexpected places. Created for the Kanal Playground Festival in September 2014, the BOULEvard ball engaged city dwellers both young and old as it rolled around Brussels’ canal streets and squares. The BOULEvard design was based on the tensegrity principles of Buckminster Fuller, in which structural elements are in continuous compression.
The ON/OFF team assembled the 4-meter-tall BOULEvard ball with high-tension rope and large black plastic tubing that served as the core struts. The tensegrity structure was large enough to roll over bollards and flexible enough to squeeze through tight corners. Most importantly, the sturdy mobile playground was designed with safety in mind as well as input from community workshops.
“The BOUELvard allowed kids from the city to crave a new path through their area, one which crosses typical barriers like roads and no-play zone,” says ON/OFF. “Like its structure, the BOULEvard is playful but tough, it claims space back for play allowing for the temporary take over of everyday space for action.” By blurring the boundaries between play and non-play in the city, the BOULEvard urban intervention successfully shows how malleable and dynamic cities can be.