There are a lot of things about living in Boston that make me happier. And lots of things that make other people happier, too. We have an entire traveling wall dedicated to happy Boston moments. But few make me as happy as the latest public art installation — “Street Seats“, by Design Museum Boston.
I can trace the beginning of my love affair with functional public art to a trip I took to London in the summer of 2006. I was there on business and decided to stay an extra week to experience the city.
High on my list of things to do while I was there was to visit the Serpentine Gallery to see the Thomas Demand exhibit. I spent hours pouring over his amazing work only to exit the museum and be completely transformed by The Pavilion. Unbeknownst to me, every summer The Pavilion comes to life as a pop-up public art exhibit which just happened to be designed that year by none other than Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond. *Swoon*
To me, The Pavilion was a perfect example of the transformative nature of public art. Stunning design made accessible to everyone. Studies have shown that looking at art makes us happy and just being outside offers a marked improvement in our overall health and well-being. So by looking at art outside you’re getting a double dose of happy-inducing endorphins.
Design Museum Boston has flipped the standard museum concept upside down. Public space is the new museum. And what better way to bring design to the people of Boston than to redesign something so common in urban landscapes that it typically goes unnoticed: the lowly park bench.
The outdoor exhibition features 17 unique public benches re-imagined by design teams from around the world. I needed to see them. All of them.
We’re lucky that the Street Seats are located right in Happier HQ’s backyard. Or as other people like to call it, Boston’s Fort Point Channel neighborhood.
So the Happier ladies minus Nataly (missed you!) went on an exploratory mission to check them out.The verdict? They are an awesome place to sit and enjoy the scenery plus they’re amazing conversation pieces on their own. Also, they’re super fun.
Not only that, but I was fortunate enough to meet the Founder and Executive Director of Design Museum, Boston, Sam Aquillano while at TEDxBoston this week to watch Nataly give an awesome talk on how pancakes can make you happier and change the world (video coming soon!). Sam gave an amazing talk on design, and what we can learn by encountering it in unexpected places. Of course Street Seats featured prominently in his talk which made me very much happier.
We’d love to hear how public art makes you happier!