Client: City of West Palm Beach, SDC de l'Avenue Mont-Royal
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $150,000
Cities designed primarily for cars have many endless and shadeless sidewalks unfavorable or hostile to pedestrians. This has repercussions not only on mobility, but on equity and wellbeing.
Shade Parade prototypes a very slow means of public transportation inviting passersby to glide oversized parasols along a rail to negotiate and gather in delightful ways. Hot, monotonous sidewalks are transformed into opportunities for play and collaboration, in this inspirational provocation to boost cities’ walkability.
Take a parasol for a stroll, scoot on its base, walk or roll beside it. You may share the shade or exchange it at the end of your course with a fellow traveler coming the other way. Glide your way to work, enjoy the scenery and meet someone new. The parasols are quite slow no matter what. It isn’t about speed or efficiency, just the simple pleasures of moving together, and sharing comfort. You may notice that it is very hard to be angry, stressed, or sad, when gliding on a giant parasol.
When Daily tous les jours was given a monotonous and exposed sidewalk to work with in West Palm Beach, Florida, the issue became an opportunity for play and social connection.
The oversized moving parasols bring shade and play to a wide range of age and ability, as it can be used by young and old, on foot or in wheelchairs.
The base of the parasol hides an intricate mechanical system to control the speed and maintain general safety. While a lot of urban innovation, especially pertaining to mobility, focuses on efficiency and speed, Shade Parade praises slowness and social connections, bringing forward a whimsical dimension to how we can move around in cities.
Shade Parade does what intelligent dynamic shade systems do, moving when and where shade is needed, except it is powered by human joy and guided by a sense of humor.
Cities need more alternatives to move around that encourage walkability while celebrating the human spirit. The project inspires new ways to look at mobility and urban infrastructure, celebrating a slower pace of life, exploring joy to stimulate social connections. Because joy builds trust between citizens and ultimately, contributes to creating more resilient cities.
The project started in West Palm Beach's Quadrille Boulevard, where we did a series of workshops with passersby to understand the challenges of this space we were given. Locals helped us understand the dynamics of the sidewalk, why they did not enjoy their experience and their aspirations for the city to be more walkable.
Once we set on the idea of gliding parasols, we worked closely with engineers and a machinist to develop the gliding system. The base of the parasol hides an intricate mechanical system to control the speed and maintain general safety.
Play is a central part of the work, whether people elaborate their own games or just smile as they use Shade Parade, a state of playfulness is achieved, releasing tensions and stimulating a sense of closeness between users and onlookers.