Humanise the dehumanised
Public art in global cities has made an incredible contribution in addressing contemporary urban issues by enhancing the quality of the urban environment, defining the city’s identity and improving the aesthetic quality of urban settings. The amalgamation of art in the public realm is also responsible for bringing together buildings and people; without it, we would be left with a dehumanised and desolated urban space.

Public art can take various forms, from historical visual art, street art manifestations to art performances or can even be reduced to a pure non-visual form such as sound.

With rising popularity and worldwide acknowledgement, public art has gone further into the abstract territory where our perception of art is challenged, where we are left stunned.

Public art installation in a western inner suburb (Footscray)

'Human Structures' in Vancouver by artist Jonathan Borofsky 
Photo credit: Jonathan Percy
Public art does not necessarily have to be provocative or controversial, its functional aspect has the ability to transform urban environments and bring life into monotone central business districts. 

The business precinct of La Defense is a good example. This CBD is internationally renowned for its uniqueness: an overlaying structure with high-rise buildings standing on a man-made horizontal elevated slab on the edge of Paris. The city’s innovative vertical structure had created an unfriendly environment dominated by concrete, sky-scraper like buildings and concealed open spaces however major transformation has turned public spaces into multi-functional spaces. 

La Defense, ‘La Grande Cantine’ installation by Talking Things and Jean Baptiste Hardoin (2012)
Photo Credit: Jessica Guirand 
Since 2010, a series of street furniture interventions have been added to respond to contemporary needs while initiating a conversation on the role and place of street furniture in the built environment. The latest edition of Public forms features 8 concepts created specifically for the residents, workers and visitors of La Defense.

The human scale of Public forms has multiple social, cultural and economic benefits on the urban environment. And obviously, there’s no need to be an art curator to get your head around it!

Slides by Alexandre Moronnoz
Dune street furniture system by Ferpect Collective


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