For the couple of days a year that London is treated to some summer sun, its inhabitants rush headlong to the city’s many green spaces to eat, drink, play and ogle. They become little communities of their own for those few hours, ecosystems of enjoyment that clearly play an important socio-cultural part in our lives.
Brooklyn-based designer Mikell Fine Iles noticed a similar phenomenon in the States and so set about capturing and comparing all the parks he visited in 2011, not just in his home country but in Copenhagen and Amsterdam too.
Mikell had been struck by the ways Central Park in NYC and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park “are frequented by all walks of life, regardless of time of day or weather conditions. In a way these are miniature worlds within their respective cities. One can spend hours roaming around the park and forget he or she is still in the city. This is a powerful thing, and not easily replicated.
“With this project I’ve begun to examine the size differences between each of the large city parks that I’ve visited around the globe. The park silhouette is assigned a personalized pattern and color. Each unique shape is then layered on top of the other to form a colorful cluster highlighting the individuality of these cities while mimicking the assemblage of communities. A city park has its own way of speaking to people and its physicality largely dictates this communication. People use Prospect Park differently than they would Central Park or Battery Park for example.”
The result is this tremendous-looking project underpinned by an interesting premise and a set of ideas about arguably the key challenge facing us in the 21st Century – how do we live together and what helps us function as a harmonious society?