The School of Critical Engagement and RedLine Copenhagen are pleased to announce a spectacular evening lecture with Nils Norman on Thursday, February 16th at 19.00, titled, “From Bomb Site to Boutique: the playground and its journey from anarchy to economic development tool“. Nils Norman will talk about his ongoing research into Adventure Playgrounds and some of the more unusual and interesting playscapes found across Europe, Japan and the US that he has visited and photographed. He will explore the history and ideas of the adventure playground movement in Europe and Japan and how certain playspaces, like adventure playgrounds and the playgrounds of the Dutch city planner Aldo van Eyke can be seen as potential alternative models for urban planning and the production of public space. He will touch upon a brief moment in the 1950s when artists and architects were involved in innovative playground design and why this quickly fell out of fashion as fear of litigation and health and safety stifled creative collaborations. Making way for the “fixed play” risk-free playscapes of contemporary urban centres, and the recent development of the playground as a regeneration tool.
Speaker Bio: Nils Norman works across the disciplines of public art, architecture and urban planning. His projects challenge notions of the function of public art and the efficacy of much urban planning and large-scale regeneration. His work is informed by local politics and ideas on alternative economic and ecological systems, merging utopian alternatives with current urban design to create a humorous critique of the discrete histories and functions of public art and urban planning. He exhibits and generates projects and collaborations in museums and galleries internationally. He has completed major public art projects, one being a pedestrian bridge and landscaping project for the City of Roskilde, Denmark. He has participated in various Biennials worldwide and has developed commissions for the Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY; London Underground, UK; Tate Modern, UK; Loughborough University, UK; Creative Time, NYC and the Centre d’ Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland. At the moment he is developing two small-scale urban farming parks in the Hague, the Netherlands, that test and question the limitations and potentialities of permaculture as a possible city-wide alternative design strategy for urban centres.
He is the author of three publications: Thurrock 2015, a comic commissioned by the General Public Agency, London, UK, 2004; An Architecture of Play: A Survey of London’s Adventure Playgrounds , Four Corners, London, UK, 2004; and The Contemporary Picturesque , Book Works, London, UK, 2000.