Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robson Square + Picnurbia

As the repairs to Robson Square draw to a close the space is coming alive again.

It's a chance to experience the landscape anew, almost like stepping back thirty years. Granted, I miss the mature plantings that provided quiet shelter from the city but the renewal closely reflects the original design.

Meanwhile the stretch of Robson Street between Hornby and Howe remains closed off, a temporary pedestrian zone that allows the north and south blocks of Robson Square to meld together.

An intriguing installation has appeared there recently: Picnurbia, a pop-up park in the form of undulating waves of soft yellow turf, interrupted only by sun umbrellas and wooden seats that span the hollows. The soft forms invite exploration and reimagine the urban experience.

It's an unexpected delight to come across Picnurbia - I encountered it in the quiet of early morning and had breakfast while lounging, with Robson Square as a backdrop. Quite remarkable.

Picnurbia is the work of The Loose Affiliates, a Vancouver-based design collective that explores how urban space is used, searching out opportunities where none appear to exist. It's a summer installation so check it out while while the weather is warm.

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