words Marcus Fairs
Where I live, the pavements are cracked and bruised.
The streets are scarred. The park is exhausted. This is North London but it’s probably the same where you live. The ground beneath our feet has degenerated into a slum carpet: cheapskate, ill-considered and uncared for. It doesn’t have to be like this. Across Europe, architects and designers are realising that the urban terrain defines the way we navigate our towns and cities, and serves as a stage upon which we live our public lives. icon presents projects showing how urban surfaces can be as intelligent, beautiful and lyrical as any building or object.
A new park in Barcelona uses water to blur the boundaries between the city and the seashore.
Artist Richard Wentworth collaborated with architects Caruso St John on the landscaped square outside the New Art Gallery, Walsall.
For this London collective, landscaping projects in deprived areas cannot work without careful analysis of territorial behaviour.
The US practice uses advanced digital modelling and CNC production techniques to create homogenous public spaces which also deal with infrastructural issues.
Abalos and Herreros
The Spanish architects are finding a new direction in their work with powerfully figurative patterns in public spaces.
This Anglo-Dutch architect proposed an audacious piece of topography in the notoriously flat Dutch landscape.
In this theoretical project for the EU, the surfaces of Brussels’ bureaucratic quarter are transformed into political billboards.
Master landscaper Adriaan Geuze brought his own brand of psychedelia to the Swiss Expo last year, revealing how surface can evoke desire and anticipation.