Want Solar-Powered Charger, Inflatable Shelter? How About a Parkbench Bubble?

Want Solar-Powered Charger, Inflatable Shelter? How About a Parkbench Bubble?
Arts & Culture

Dutch designer creates eco-friendly resting spot

Marnie Kunz
  • 3 october 2014

If you’re looking for a place to rest your weary legs, shelter from the rain or just somewhere to charge your phone, artist Thor ter Kulve has come up with a solution: Parkbench Bubble. The eco-friendly contraption features a solar-powered charging station and an inflatable shelter on top of a park bench.

The innovative design came out of ter Kulve’s interest in public space usage and everyday objects that can be improved with innovations.

“I was working on a lot of projects around topics like the shifting boundaries of public and private space, and what is home, and the influence of our surrounding technologies — always being online, etc,” ter Kulve says. “I was triggered by what I see happening around me. How would it look if i tried to make a functional object that tries to capture all these thoughts? And all this became that.”


The Parkbench Bubble indeed makes modern life more convenient, featuring a solar-powered USB charging station. The functional art also serves a basic human need for shelter and supports ter Kulve’s belief that people need more public spaces to connect in a modern, socially isolating world.

The innovative Parkbench Bubble deflates easily to return to an ordinary looking piece of outdoor furniture. Ter Kulve constructed the bubble out of everyday objects that he collected during the deconstruction of the Royal College of Art’s degree show. Materials he used include reclaimed pine, fire-retardant and UV-resistant ripstop nylon, a battery van and solar panel.


The inventive Dutch designer created the Parkbench Bubble for the “Future Stars?” exhibition at the contemporary art and design museum Aram Gallery in London. The exhibit features ter Kulve and six other young designers who demonstrate inventive designs using exploratory methods.

“Future Stars?” is part of the London Design Festival 2014. The exhibition will be at the Aram Gallery from now through October 24, 2014.

Thor ter Kulve, designbloom

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