Sit! By Gap Filler is 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.

Seating with more than meets the eye!

The installations are 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 across the Avon River. 

Experiment one: Misleading, and Encouraging Brass Plaques

Experiment two: Interactive Social Signage 

Experiment three: Pop-O-Matic Word Play [Now Live]

Experiment four: Urban Magic 8 Ball 

Experiment five: Surprise Bubble-Seat in collaboration with Jacobs Engineering

Experiment six: Push-to-Walkie-Talkie in collaboration with Tait Communications

Each experiment is installed for a fortnight, with members of the Gap Filler team monitoring any behavioural change. Once the experiment is complete [June 2021], we will update this page with our findings. 


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 – usually 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 that doesn’t exist only on playgrounds, sports fields, or concert halls, but instead choreographing smaller moments of playfulness 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.

Who, what, where, when

Date: March 2021 — June 2021 (Currently Live)

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

Client/Funder: Christchurch City Council

Key people: Jacobs, Tait Communications

Values: Experimentation, Leadership

Support/Sponsors: University of Canterbury Interns