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A Series of Playable Installations Inspired By Coral Reef Activate a Revitalized Waterfront Park in Sarasota.



The Urban Conga worked with Agency Landscape and Planning, who designed the latest segment of The Bay Park in Sarasota, Florida, to add two playable opportunities to serve as moments of social activation along the waterfront. Each installation utilizes the views, movement, and play to spark social connection along the bay walk. Both pieces become communal landmarks within the space, each uniquely relating to the surrounding context. Inspired by the many coral reefs that reside off the Sarasota coast, the installations appear to be two unique pieces washed up on the shore.

The first installation, titled Portal, is a swinging social bench with a flowing form that frames out different views of Sarasota Bay. The sun sits perfectly within the work’s circular forced perspective during the equinox. The interlocking curved forms are designed to frame a more ample gathering space along the walkway where people can sit and come together as a larger group to take in the sunset views, converse about the changing area, or even have a picnic. As one sits or lays on the floating bench and stares into the water while swaying back and forth, they begin to feel like they are floating on the water in solitude. The curved design of the bench provides a variety of open-ended social seating interactions for up to 4-5 people at a time. The installation becomes a portal for people to connect with the surrounding landscape and to think about our environmental impact and how sea-level rise is dramatically affecting the Florida coast.



The second installation, Drum Coral, is a series of tuned drums that can be played or used for seating. Each end of the tentacles of the reef is a drum tuned to a different pitch. The drums can be played with your hands, much like a Conga drum, while the smaller coral pieces become seats that can also be played while seated, much like a Cajon drum. The various spacing and heights of the drums help create easier accessibility for all to play. The work uses movement and sound to make a connection within the space, becoming a space for spontaneous jam sessions, dance parties, and other social gatherings. The work was created entirely from recyclable aluminum and painted with an eco-friendly powder coat. Like Portal, the work connects people to the surrounding environment while promoting greater awareness of their impact through play to spark open conversations on climate change.

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