'People parking lot' installation in Paya Lebar wins URA-Redas competition

The installation invites people to "park" themselves in frames of poses such as cycling and holding hands. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Children interacting with the Park Yourself installation at Paya Lebar Quarter plaza on April 28, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - An installation in Paya Lebar inviting people to "park" themselves in frames of poses such as cycling and holding hands has won a competition for breathing life into public spaces.

The public can also draw on whiteboards in the shape of speech bubbles that are attached to the frames, which are dubbed "people parking lots".

The winning installation, called Park Yourself, was announced in a ceremony at Marina Square on Thursday (April 28). It was among five finalists shortlisted for the competition held by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas).

The URA-Redas Spark Challenge, launched in October 2021, had called for the public to submit ideas for designs to enliven public spaces in mixed-use developments and shopping malls.

A total of $60,000 was given to the participants with the five shortlisted ideas to develop them into 15 physical installations. They are on display in Paya Lebar, Jurong Gateway, Marina Central and Orchard.

Architect Jonathan Chin and landscape architect Pearlyn Chang, the husband-and-wife team behind Park Yourself, said they wanted to bring people together through the installation but in a socially distanced way by making the frames of people in pairs.

Mr Chin, 31, said: "It was heartwarming to see people - young and old - taking photos, doodling and interacting with one another. It is the main reason we keep coming down every weekend."

Ms Chang, 28, added that people would write encouraging messages to each other on the whiteboards, such as "all the best for O levels".

"It is like seeing the story of the people of Paya Lebar unfolding," she added.

The couple's installation won $10,000 as well as $1,000 for being the most popular design after receiving 781 out of 1,672 votes by the public. The other four finalists were awarded $1,000 each.

Park Yourself is on display at Paya Lebar Quarter's outdoor plaza until April 29. It will be on display at Marina Square from April 30.

Husband-and-wife team Jonathan Chin and Pearlyn Chang won ,000 as well as " > Husband-and-wife team Jonathan Chin and Pearlyn Chang won $10,000 as well as $1,000 for being the most popular design. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI,000 for being the most popular design. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Another installation called Cash Love Clout was created by National University of Singapore architecture students Andrew Lee and Chan Chee Meng. The two 3m-tall structures show a dollar sign, heart and trophy when viewed at certain angles. 

Mr Lee, 22, said he hoped the installation has inspired people to think about their desires and aspirations.

The Cash Love Clout structures show a dollar sign, heart and trophy when viewed at different angles. PHOTO: AKIPLGO

"Even if they don't see the symbols, we enjoyed watching people, such as parents playing hide-and-seek with their children, use the structures," he added.

The structures are on display at Paya Lebar Quarter and SingPost Centre until April 30.

Cash Love Clout, created by National University of Singapore architecture students Andrew Lee and Chan Chee Meng. PHOTO: AKIPLGO

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, the guest of honour at the ceremony, said that public spaces take on a new sense of meaning and importance as it enhances one's social and mental well-being in a time of uncertainty and isolation.

"As Singapore reopens, it is especially timely that we make our built environment lively, vibrant and welcoming once more, so that we can reconnect with one another and emerge from this pandemic stronger and more united, especially now that limits on gathering sizes have been relaxed," said Ms Indranee, who is also the Second Minister for Finance and National Development.

"(The competition) may sound simple, but it challenged the participants to think about how to design our public spaces to encourage and revive interpersonal exchanges."

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