Everyone can remember the childhood feeling of sitting on a plain wooden plank, with your hands holding tight to the ropes on either side, swinging through the air. It was the ultimate feeling of freedom, playing and moving. With their innovative Swing Park Studio ID Eddy & IND [Inter.National.Design] have brought that feeling back and combined it with a place for both young and old to be together and meet people. A wonderful example of how we in Rotterdam are constantly working on a vital, healthy city for all Rotterdammers.
The Swing Park (‘Ring of Swings’) which was recently commissioned at the Prinsenlaan in Prinsenland, is a concept that overlaps with the two existing functions of the public space: the sitting function and the play function. We are all familiar with park benches, mostly sited as solitary units alongside the paths of a park. Unfortunately, they do nothing to stimulate interaction with fellow-residents. If you want to play, you go to the children’s playground, specifically designed for children. Elderly people are often confined to the sidelines.
In the Swing Park, those sitting and playing functions are combined. The two worlds have been brought together by crossing the seating with the playful elements more typical of a children’s playground. This combination stimulates both young and old to use the park while automatically creating contact and connection.
The Swing Park also strengthens the identity of the area in which it is situated. Both social awareness and a feeling of security are reinforced. It stimulates the relationship between the environment and its residents. The Swing Park is a permanent urban park installation, and as such it changes any area into an interactive zone. Using the Swing Park, residents can enjoy the public space more while making use of this attractive eye catcher.
Feeling at home while sitting comfortably in a refreshingly playful outdoor space; that is what Studio ID Eddy & IND [Inter.National.Design] aimed to achieve with the Swing Park. They based their design on a universal, functional element that we all recognise from our home environment; the chair. As well as more traditional swing seats, the Swing Park features a number of swing chairs with a back support. Swing-lovers, and elderly people in particular, can lean back comfortably and still go with the flow. There are even swing benches for two people! So anyone can have fun in the Swing Park in whatever way they like.
THE CIRCLE IS CLOSED
The Swing Park is an open circle that symbolises a clearing in a wood. The round shape was a deliberate choice, as it automatically creates a feeling of safety and security. To underline that feeling even more, the swing chairs are positioned facing each other so that people can see and hear one another easily. At the same time, encounters are stimulated. A setting has been designed that features a variety of swings where people can meet in a unique and enjoyable way.
Photography: Aad Hoogendoorn