Bus stops, city toilets, benches, trash cans, infoboards ...

Urban furniture combined with outdoor advertising has determined the public space of metropolises for more than 30 years. The project ‘Hacking Urban Furniture’ explores the history, present and future of urban furniture in collaboration with artists, urban explorers, administrators, politicians, activists and researchers, exploring the potential of spatial public service Design in the city.


16 - 25 March 2018 @ ZK/U Berlin

Opening: 15 March, 19:00

From March 16 to 25, 2018, the exhibition "Hacking Urban Furniture" will take place at the ZK/ U - Center for Art and Urbanistics. The exhibition is part of an ongoing research project of several years with the same name which explores the history, present and future of urban furniture. The exhibition is founded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

More info and the full program on ZK/U website ›

Artistic Positions

Specifically commissioned and produced for Hacking Urban Furniture: 5 artist(collective)s have worked with various elements of the public spaces in Berlin.

Christian Hasucha


A late-forty-year-old in a bright shirt appears on Otto-Platz, pushing a transparent cubicle with curved anterior in front of him. The transport ends at a park bench, on which the slim booth can be set up. The man sits down on the bench, pulls the house-like, acrylic structure closer to him, and uses it as an outsourced office space for the next couple of hours. Every once in a while he talks to curious passers-by through the speaker installed on the side of the capsule. Later he leaves the spot again, together with his cubicle. The day after, the man with the office booth finds himself a...



Why do bus stops look they way they do? Decisive here is an operator model that promises the public sector an all-round carefree package, and in return offers private companies the revenues of...

Markus Ambach


UUF - Upcycling Urban Furniture
A concept for the Bremerstraße in Moabit


Action Prototypes

KUNSTrePUBLIK, through a series of five prototypes, explores the potential of urban furniture in relation to money, violence, energy, space and solidarity.



Vorgestellt wird eine Serie von Spekulationen über den alltäglichen Gegenstand des Pollers. Was wäre, wenn sie nicht alle so träge und stumpf herumstehen würden, sondern im gegenteil Einladungen zum...

Martin Binder


Ein innovativer Stadtmöblierer stellt seine Produkte vor


Hacking Urban Furniture explores the evolutionary history, present and future of urban furniture. In regularly published essays, urban researchers, architects, artists and citizens examine the legal, historical, political, cultural and social parameters of urban furniture and question paradigms by looking at perspectives from Brazil, India, Egypt and North America.

Mary Dellenbaugh

The physical and social normative properties of street furniture

Public space, in particular in cities, is an important backdrop for gatherings and everyday social life. The organization of public space and the objects in it, most notably street furniture such as benches, bus stop shelters, advertising pollards, and public restrooms, determine which uses are possible or allowed and help to create and confirm norms about how we should move through and use space and which persons or groups are welcome there. In this essay, two aspects of street furniture’s norming function will be discussed: its provision by various entities (public authorities, private...

Joanne Pouzenc

JCDecaux, Public-Private Space

When in 1964, the young entrepreneur Jean-Claude Decaux invented the “Street Furniture”, he couldn’t foresee the immense success of his company 50 years later. Present in every continent, in the...

Laura Sobral

Co-created Street Furniture as a Catalyst for Urban Culture and Public Life

In São Paulo Brazil, as in many cities throughout Latin America, public open spaces have for decades been neglected. Public open spaces in these environments are generally unattractive, dirty and...


Learning Reconfigured: Challenging and Negotiating Urban Perceptions

Streets in contemporary Indian cities are a confluence of formal and informal flows of human endeavour, with the informal moulding and wrapping itself around the “official” with varying degrees of...

Jan Bovelet

Corporate urban furniture, public space, and money. A sketch for an artistic research project

The basic idea of the project is a Marx-inspired analysis of the economic logic of corporate urban furniture with a focus on exploring it's spatial patterns. It's not about a rigid application of the...

Benjamin Cope

Post-Socialist Urban Furniture

Laying out some considerations regarding socialist urban furniture with a view to better understanding the context in which post-socialist urban furniture functions. The argument is that understanding...

Mobasher Niqui

Walls of Kindness

Untreated walls in big cities in Iran has become the field of expressive action for a society that is getting used to express itself indirectly. The walls are the screens of hackings and graffitis,...

Case studies

Eva Hertzsch und Adam Page

V.I.P Box

Installation im öffentlichen Raum Die Arbeit V.I.P. Box beschäftigt sich mit der Aneignung von öffentlichen Räumen durch ihre Nutzer_innen. Ihre dauerhafte Installation im Parkgelände vor dem ZKU-Gebäude möchte einen Dialog starten zwischen Anwohner_innen, die den Park nutzen, und Künstler_innen, die das ZKU-Gebäude nutzen, über Themen wie Eigentum, Privileg und gerechte Stadt. Informationen zu V.I.P. BOX im ZK/U: https://www.zku-berlin.org/projects/vip-box/


KUNSTrePUBLIK together with the neighborhood action group 'Parkkeepers' will develop a case study for new forms of urban furniture on the public community plaza ‚Plato‘ in the city of Belgrade. The...

Idea Contest

The International open single-phase idea contest “Hacking Urban Furniture – Urban furniture in Communal-Collective-Cooperation (CCC)” searched for ideas for new forms, meanings and concepts of urban furniture. The focus here was on substantial conceptions of new economic models, functional expansions and civil-societal participation. Mere questions of design were not at the core of this contest; rather, it was about the collaboration of society, public function and formal solution.

Two First Prizes
A. Kiez Ding / Fiete Rohde & Team / 1500€
B. Benoit Maubrey / Arena: a Speakers Sculpture / 1500€

Two Second Prizes
A. Andreas Templin / ''Berlin Dough'' / 1000€
B. Adam Page & Eva Hertzsch / 'Executive Box  / 1000€

Two Honorable Mentions
A: Extrapolation Factory / Transition Habitats
B: WTHUF / Printschler Josef-Matthias

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Portable Polis

Berlin-wide public-participation project based on oral, close reading of texts by German-American thinker Hannah Arendt. One of Arendt's singular goals was to place serious thinking in the world where it is most needed. As such, readings will occur at sites around Berlin from texts related to the activities and focus of the site where each session occurs.

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