International design competition “Reclaiming the Street”
FINALIST, selected for second phase
Program: Reorganization of urban public spaces in order to create a place for multiple user groups including skateboarders.
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Year: 2010


Skateboarding is rightly considered by many a form of art more than a sport. Skateboarding is associated to other forms of urban art that have a long history to date. Street culture counts artists such as Any Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat till Jeff koons that found their main inspiration in the connection of art with everyday life. This popular translation of life into art generated a new way of thinking about the work of art: an object capable to talk to everybody and to create debate because of its iconic connection to the collective imaginary.
De Badkuip becomes a tridimensional translation of pop art. An object with no cultural links beside the bare use of the object itself in everyday life.
Using the organic shape of the bath tab is the most immediate action we can imagine to combine at the same time the curved surfaces of a skate park to an object immediately recognizable and ironic. With no doubt we want to translate the whole design task in a playful opportunity; an “event” capable to move the attention and the laugh of every passer-by, regardless his age, social background, mood.

De Badkuip (the Bathtub) can be plugged in every place. It is suspended from the ground, avoiding any obstacle on the urban space, rather offering a shelter, flexible to multiple uses (bus stop, canopy, etc). It is democratic because it doesn’t want to establish an intellectual or historical connection with the surroundings, keeping all times its role of contemporary piece of art.
Its introvert shape offers infinite opportunities of use: from skate shows to public events, concerts, open air cinema, exhibitions, disco party, political debates, every activity can be hosted in De Badkuip. Its shape allows its location in even extreme urban conditions, i.e. traffic connections, always preserving, if desired, a high range of privacy for the inner activities.
Based on the simple assembly of a steel frame, De Badkuip can be clad in aluminum, plywood (like the traditional skate modules), fiberglass or even recycled composite materials, according to the budget and the professional workforce used in the construction. It is a fast buildable structure that, because of its freestanding form, can be easily moved from place to place, preserving its essence of flexible work of art. Sustainability is provided my the possibility of reusing the object several times and in several locations, and by its minimal site transformation (it stands on four legs).
De Badkuip is willing to spread irony and optimism in our cities, even more in a delicate period like the one we live now, when social, political and economical troubles afflict our daily routine.