Canadian designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster repurposes wave breakers to create a concrete, blue playground in Jamestown, New York.
“A dolos is a large prefabricated pre-cast concrete element. In extensive coastal engineering projects large numbers of them are typically interlocked to form breakwaters – barriers that protect shorelines from the impact of waves. BREAKWATER brings together these infrastructural elements and gives them a colourful coating and a soft rubber base to make a playable ‘social infrastructure,” informs Julia Jamrozik.
BREAKWATER salvages these seven-ton dolesse, which were originally fabricated for an Army Corps pf Engineers project on Lake Erie, allowing the infrastructural scale and utilitarian nature of the dolos to be decontextualised. “The intent was for its sculptural shape to be appropriated in the context of the city,” informs Coryn Kempster. The artists used the form of the elements in different orientations to create an unusual sculptural arrangement that references maritime imagery as much as formal qualities of minimalist artworks. “It blurs the lines between playground and sculpture, lending it a sort of a productive ambiguity that allows users and passersby to interpret the installation in their own way.
Unlike conventional playground equipment, the forms of the dolosse are unfamiliar and non-didactic and can be appropriated and used according to the will of the occupants, including sitting, climbing, sliding, lounging and playing hide-and-seek, among other activities. To encourage interaction with and occupation of these forms by people, and children in particular, the dolosse were given a colourful polyurea coating, which provides both a tactile surface, a consistent appearance and helps make the project low-maintenance. The arrangement is placed on an EPDM rubber surface, acting both as fall-protection and a unifying colourful base.
BREAKWATER emphasizes the role of playspaces as an amenity, as a right, and as essential infrastructure, and is therefore a ‘social infrastructure.’
Text provided by the designers.