Installing Social Interaction in the City

Installing Social Interaction in the City

When wanting to reconnect with a friend, people traditionally initiate a meeting at a cafe or restaurant. These locations are typically chosen because they are immediately recognized as being social institutions. Though such areas will continue to be popular choices for social events, in recent years many installation pieces have proved to harness social interaction. It is believed that when installation pieces are successful, they can bring everyone together as a community. They can also demonstrate how design influences the social behaviour of individuals. Let's take a look at some designs that exemplified how an installation can increase social behaviour among individuals. 


Flatiron Sky Line Art

This installation piece was designed by Flatiron Sky Line and located in New York. The installation only lasted for a month but encouraged an increase in social interaction due to the promise of relaxation. Multiple individuals gathered around the infrastructure to get their chance at relaxing among the bustling city. While waiting, it opened up opportunities for individuals to talk among themselves. Since the hammocks were big enough to fit multiple individuals, there was more opportunity for socialization as some took the opportunity to relax with another individual why watching and listening to the city move around them. 


Building for Community by Francis Kere

For an atrium in the Philadelphia art museum,  Diébédo Francis Kéré installed a suspended, maze-like structure that consisted of thin pieces of coloured cord attached to a steel frame. The installation intended to demonstrate the conversation between past and present for African art and successfully exemplified the bonds between art and culture.


Cumulus by Iranzo, Rittler & Kesting

In Halle, Germany, students from Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design were asked to create a structure that represented a parasite. So a group of students decided to build a structure that represented a rain cloud. Inside the rain cloud, people were able to lounge, sleep, read and socialize. 


Light is Time by Tsuyoshi Tane

This installation brought everyone together as they thought of one collective concept. Tsuyoshi tane states that; ‘the goal was to show that there is an absolute quality to time. In the universe and on earth, it has a fixed measurement yet every one perceives it differently’ and the aim was to question ‘what is time? time contains many individual moments, including the one we call ‘now’. It is impossible to make time stand still. it always keeps moving. keeps changing. this is an immutable, external truth.’


The Beach by Snarkitecture

Lawn chairs, umbrellas and nearly one million plastic balls were used to give the public an immersive beach experience. Snarkitecure seen the project as ‘an exciting opportunity to create an architectural installation that reimagines the qualities and possibilities of material, encourages exploration and interaction with one’s surroundings, and offers an unexpected and memorable landscape for visitors to relax and socialize within.’ 


In Orbit by Tomas Saraceno

In the air of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen museum in Dusseldorf, Germany was the installation piece called 'in orbit'. Visitors to the museum could climb around on the nets that were suspended approx. 82 feet in the air. 


Movements by Philippe Malouin

Visitors that went to Neoclassical palazzo in Milan in 2015 were invited to play on swings created by London designer Philippe Malouin using quartz surface material Caesarstone. The swingset was able to be used by 6 individuals which opened it up for socialization. 

Interested in seeing more unique projects? Check out the Design Gallery on to see project details, 3D renderings and more!

Coverphoto: Ron Cogswell

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