BOULEvard Tensegrity Ball

Berlin (DE)



The design of the BOULEvard ball was based on the principles of Buckminster Fuller, which
used tensegrity – an ecological precept based on scientific theories of compression – to create a large 4m tall structure, made entirely of plumbing pipes balanced between tension and integrity and tough enough to roll through the city.

Through a series of workshops with locals, the ball was assembled and embarked on its
urban expedition around the canal area of Brussels. Festival Kanal Playground wanted to
create playgrounds in unexpected places. The BOULEvard ball engaged local children and
grandparents alike as they navigated the urban landscape and transformed otherwise familiar spaces. The mobile playground rolled past neighbours’ windows, inciting confusion, curiosity and ultimately enthusiastic participation.

The BOULEvard ball has a split personality. On the one hand it appears as a fascinating
overgrown structure emerging out of nowhere. On the other, it has a distinct mission in the
city: the BOULEvard ball is part of an urban strategy, to connect the micro (the object) with
the macro (the city). Do-It-Yourself doesn’t have to be small, the city is a playground for
experiments just as much as a shed filled with half-fixed furniture and modified shelves.
The BOULEvard ball shows that DIY can also be collective, and its results can be shared in

The BOULEvard ball was introduced by ON/OFF in September 2014 on the streets of Brussels during the Kanal Playground Festival (September 17-21).

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Toon Verberg