(Photo: Maximilian Koenig)

Post-Socialist Urban Furniture

Benjamin Cope

This text lays out some considerations regarding socialist urban furniture with a view to better understanding the context in which post-socialist urban furniture functions. On the basis of a number of examples, it argues that the key characteristic of design elements in socialist urban planning was their embodiment of the connection of the individual to a wider social whole. With the collapse of communism, this frame disappears. Elements of the socialist built environment now remain as material evidence of the unfulfilled promises of the past, reminders of inhabitants’ current alienation in an unbound social context. The argument made in the text is that considering how to hack urban furniture in the post-socialist context requires engaging with the fact that the overall programme in which the society was written has already definitively collapsed. What roles might projects around urban furniture play in this context?

Funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the Senate Department of Culture.

Shared Cities: Creative Momentum (SCCM) is a European cultural platform addressing the contemporary urban challenges of European cities. SCCM is a joint project of Goethe-Institut (DE), Czech Centres (CZ), reSITE (CZ), Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (SK), Association of Belgrade Architects (RS), Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre – KÉK (HU), Katowice City of Gardens (PL), KUNSTrePUBLIK (DE), Mindspace (HU), Old Market Hall Alliance (SK), Res Publica – Cities Magazine (PL). Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.