How one artist is creating an empathetic cityscape by repurposing old couches into “Comfort Extension”

Art City Terrain East Environment Urbanism
(Courtesy Shani Ha)

(Courtesy Shani Ha)

From grandma’s plastic covered loveseat to the once-loved, now-wrecked college futon, all couches doomed for the dump are revitalized in this art installation that seeks to make cities a friendlier—and more comfortable—place to inhabit.

(Courtesy Shani Ha)

(Courtesy Shani Ha)

Friends of French-born, New York–based artist Shani Ha found their old couches repurposed and transformed into sculptural, functional wall pieces, appropriately named Comfort Extensions, that aim to encourage individuals to invade public spaces in a comfortable and odd way.

(Courtesy Shani Ha, Marielle Pottier, Kevain Delpesche, Louise Devin)

(Courtesy Shani Ha, Marielle Pottier, Kevain Delpesche, Louise Devin)

Comfort Extensions maneuvered its way into New York City’s public spaces and seized nooks, crannies, and light posts to make way for an in situ exhibit that focuses on public space appropriations and the reconsideration of social behavior. The project, entitled EmpathiCity, is a transitory form of three-dimensional graffiti that serves as an extension of architecture, and, when used by people, can create a welcoming environment in fast moving cities.

Paris, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Brussels are among the cities targeted by these infectious political art statements that encourage individuals to reflect on their social behavior and break loose of the typical non-empathic characteristics that city-goers presumably harbor.

(Courtesy Shani Ha, Marielle Pottier, Kevain Delpesche, Louise Devin)

(Courtesy Shani Ha, Marielle Pottier, Kevain Delpesche, Louise Devin)

“These actions of leaning on architectural surfaces can be interpreted as active ways to live in the city and affirm our presence by appropriating portions of public spaces” said Ha, “It’s almost a form of protest, a social statement. EmpathiCity doesn’t solve the problem but tries to address it.”

[h/t Designboom.]

(Courtesy Shani Ha)

Comfort Extensions (Courtesy Shani Ha)

Related Stories