Design students will make the swift return to the summer city

2019-02-02 

Design students from the University of Gävle will visit Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair to exhibit pop-up parks, temporary summer parks which are to bring nature back to the city, while helping people to get over their city stress.

Tornseglare

Students in the Industrial design programme from the University of Gävle have created a group of sustainable and colourful products to challenge traditional ideas of what represents a park.

In collaboration with Nola, which develops and sells quality products to public environments, the students have created products for this new type of park, the pop-up park. It is a temporary park that pops up in places usually occupied by traffic, pedestrians or in spaces used for storing bicycles or snow.

The products range from nesting boxes for swifts returning to the city to nest in the summer to the new phenomenon “sound shower,” used to replace city noise with other more pleasant and calming sounds, and park benches which really are for everyone, as homeless people can sleep there, for instance.

Soon, it is time to exhibit all this and much more, at the largest furniture fair in Scandinavia, Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. The fair starts in week 6 and is open to the public on Saturday February 9. Earlier, around 40 000 visitors from all over the world have visited the fair.


Familjär, a nest for the swift

Familjär, a nest for the swift, is designed and constructed by Mårten Dahlöf, Fredrik Palmebäck and Camilla Tungström.

Familjär, a nest for the swift, is designed and constructed by Mårten Dahlöf, Fredrik Palmebäck and Camilla Tungström.


“Our idea was to bring back nature to the city and we came to think about birds. The feeling of spring that comes with birds chirping really creates well-being in people,” one of the students behind the project, Fredrik Palmebäck, says.

An ornithologist suggested the swift, a migratory bird few people know about, that comes to Sweden during a specific period and often nests in church towers.

Globally, the swift is not an endangered species, but in Sweden their numbers have been dramatically reduced, and possibly, it has to with a new roofing technique. The swift is a hole-nesting species; it likes to nest under the roof where they can find a space in which to protect themselves, but today, roof panels are sealed and we make houses unfit for swift nesting.

The swift is very special. Usually, it doesn’t linger in city environments. Instead, it remains high up in the sky and, when it isn’t nesting, it even sleeps there.

“In what way could we help the bird? It doesn’t demand a church tower, but it is rather large and not a good climber, which means that it needs a larger hole and protection that resembles the kind of protection that roof tiles provide.”

Fredrik says that as designers they found it incredibly exciting to work with something of deeper value, which does not only help people but also conserves nature in a responsible way.

“I am passionate about product development and product design, and we are really looking forward to exhibit at the fair, to show everyone the programme but also ourselves, of course.”

“Stilla,” the sound shower that creates relaxation in a stressful environment

“Stilla,” a sound shower designed and constructed by Helena Edqvist, Donjeta Luzhnica, Viktor Wigelius and Alice Alm.

“Stilla,” a sound shower designed and constructed by Helena Edqvist, Donjeta Luzhnica, Viktor Wigelius and Alice Alm.

Helena Edqvist, one of the students behind the project "Stilla" says that the stress people growing up in a city environment experience can remain with them even if they move away. They started to think about what relaxes you in a forest environment. The forest often makes people regain their strength and people who feel worn out are often prescribed walks in the woods to recover. They found that the leaves, the forest and the shadows which are formed have a calming effect and they started sketching on different ideas.

“We wanted it to be like a tree with openings for shadows, affecting all senses and also with a sound reminding us of trees swishing, water and bird song.”

Helena says that the fair will be fun, like going live. Possibly she will continue by studying for a Master’s degree in artistic research while starting up a number of projects with a friend who is an artist and a philosopher.

“As a mother of four daughters, my focus has been on them. Now, it was time to explore myself as a creator and define myself as a designer. I may be the oldest in the class, but if you are alive, you should LIVE a little as well,” Helena Edqvist says.

“Artikel 25,” a park bench for everyone

Artikel 25, a park bench for the homeless, designed and constructed by Anton Åsberg and Douglas Velasquez. (The picture shows a prototype of the bench on a scale 1:2)

Artikel 25, a park bench for the homeless, designed and constructed by Anton Åsberg and Douglas Velasquez. (The picture shows a prototype of the bench on a scale 1:2)

Artikel 25, a park bench for the homeless, designed and constructed by Anton Åsberg and Douglas Velasquez. (The picture shows a prototype of the bench on a scale 1:2)

Anton Åsberg says that when they started to look at parks and the use of park benches in public spaces, they were struck by the exclusionary quality in modern design. Armrests on benches and art works in street corners are used to prevent people from lying down to sleep on park benches and in public spaces.

“We say that public spaces are for all, but we do not really mean everybody. You may use them, but not in any way you want and not all of them. We find this to be totally bizarre.”

They decided to do the opposite, that is to create products with an inclusive design, something that can be used to lie down on and to sleep on, quite simply. Their parch bench has two functions and two surfaces and the flat surface can be folded to be like a roof over the curved surface.

“We have encountered a lot of resistance; people were critical to attempts to solve the problem of homelessness. For this reason, we masked our fight and stopped saying that the bench was for the homeless.”

Anton is now planning for a Master’s degree at the University of Arts, Crafts and Design and he says that it has been very rewarding to work closely with a big, renowned company and to be able to use their resources and muscles

“I feel that I have found my place and that I have something to contribute with here; I like to criticise and to go against social norms.”


“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25.)

 

Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Ph
oto: Marie Hägg
Photo Familjär: Henrik Lunderbye and Hugo Netinder
Photo swift: TT


For more information, please contact:
Fredrik Palmebäck, student, Industrial design programme, University of Gävle
Phone: 073-723 87 20

Anton Åsberg, student, Industrial design programme, University of Gävle
Phone: 076-170 40 21

Helena Edqvist, student, Industrial design programme, University of Gävle
Phone: 070-223 52 89

Annika Viding, programme director, Industrial design programme, University of Gävle Phone:

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2019-02-02
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)