Sit! By Gap Filler was a series of six, playful experimental installations on public seating in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. By weaving surprising and playful interactions into our civic infrastructure we’re exploring ways that we might integrate play, for all age groups, into our daily lives.

Magic 8 Ball Sit! Installation at Riverside

Seating with more than meets the eye.

The installations were progressively prominent moving from the lightest-touch – simple brass plaques – to the heaviest-touch – engineered public two-way radios – allowing people to connect with one another in new ways. 

  1. Misleading, and Encouraging Brass Plaques
  2. Interactive Social Signage 
  3. Pop-O-Matic Word Game 
  4. Urban Magic 8 Ball 
  5. Surprise Bubble-Seat in collaboration with Jacobs Engineering
  6. Push-to-Walkie-Talkie in collaboration with Tait Communications

Each experiment was installed for a fortnight, with members of the Gap Filler team monitoring behavioural change. 

Experimental public furniture. 

Public seating is a core component to any public space, urban design brief and master plan – presently, furniture choices tend to be pared back, safe, and focused on a singular activity – viewing, waiting, or consuming. We believe that the omnipresence of public seating makes it the perfect object to experiment with for what we could call ‘integrated micro play’. Encouraging play outside the usual places through the choreography of smaller playful moments in our everyday civic experience.

We hope the products and learnings from this experiment will result in more experimentation in this area and lead to the development of more permanent, playful public seating options for urban designers and projects in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad.

Thanks to the generous support of Christchurch City Council, Jacobs and Tait Communications for their funding, expertise and product which allowed this project to happen.

Vacancy No Vacancy interactive slider on bench, Sit! by Gap Filler project

Who, what, where, when

Date: March 2021 — June 2021 

Locations: 4 locations on Oxford Terrace, Otautahi, Christchurch Central

Client/Funder: Christchurch City Council

Key people: Centuri Chan (photography) Jacobs (bubble machine expert), Tait Communications (push to walkie-talkie expert)

Values: Experimentation, Leadership

Support/Sponsors: University of Canterbury Interns