Article by Farah Afza Jurekh Spark Your City, by Kipling, in Sutton Walk, London Imagine you are walking past the same old, boring tunnel to start your day, stressing about how angry your boss’ mood might be or how your presentation to the multibillion-dollar company will turn out. Suddenly, you notice a huge difference around you. The usually dull, gray tunnel does not look the same as you see every day. It is completely adorned, lively and colorful. And even though this bright, new change won’t necessarily turn your presentation into the perfect one or bring a smile to your boss’ face, this colorful tunnel will definitely lift your mood and relieve your stress, preparing you to give your day your best shot. The spaces around us can act like mood lifters. A vibrant, colorful space can bring joy and happiness, relieve stress, or create a festive mood of celebration, depending on how the space has been designed. A dull, shabby place can ruin our mood, depress us, or aggravate our stress levels.
Spark Your City
Like the name of the project suggests, “Spark Your City” is a global movement — coordinated by the luggage brand Kipling — to spark joy in everyday city life. It is an exclusive initiative to transform the drab parts of cities into vibrant, interactive spaces to lift residents’ moods and bring joy to their mundane, busy, urban lives. In order to achieve that, Kipling invited creative, talented, pioneering, and influential women from around the globe who have expertise in their own fields to transform ordinary city routines and landmarks into extraordinary living playgrounds that will also inspire other women in their fields. Isn’t that exciting?
The Start of a Global Initiative
The initiative started in London and will continue in 50 other cities, encompassing 1,000 events around the globe. The first event launch was ignited by Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney, with the makeover of London Bridge. The second event – the one we will talk about here — took place on Aug. 27, 2015, at the behest of the energetic television presenter Helen Skelton. She is a former Blue Peter presenter, currently working in different genres for the BBC. An adventurous spirit who has already broken two Guinness world records for her adventures, Skelton has always been passionate about trying something new. She has the ability and the intelligence to draw out something extraordinary from the ordinary. This was certainly showcased in her plan.The Magical Tunnel Skelton’s idea was to brighten up the route from Waterloo to the London landmark Sutton Walk (Southbank) through a kaleidoscope of images, variegated colors, and shapes. The main concept behind the project was to create an urban jungle amidst the concrete and bricks of city life. Everyone from every-day users to tourists loved the kaleidoscopic, adventurous tunnel. To the regular users, it was magical — as if someone had struck the whole tunnel with a magic wand! The Experience As one walked through the tunnel, one could imagine being in a real jungle. The intriguing feelings, the enthusiasm, the unexpected joy, the excitement of walking along the jungle, encouraged people to explore more. At the same time, Skelton’s presence in the tunnel literally turned it into an interactive, adventurous playground for all. “We live in a massive playground,” Skelton said. “It’s so easy to run around town looking at our phones or our feet, but if we look up and around, there is so much that can excite and inspire us. There is plenty for adults and kids to explore in London. It’s constantly changing and evolving. I never feel like I ‘know’ London. Around every corner is something new to explore.” Together We Build a Better Place It is true that there are many great outdoor spaces in London. But spaces that can ignite the moods of people of all ages, offer adventure, and encourage people to explore their cities are few in number. Projects like this one not only ignite the adventure within oneself, but also encourage us to transform other parts of our cities into a better place. Overall, this is a great global initiative that will not only remind people to live their lives happily every day, but also inspire people to celebrate life and to inspire the whole community, bringing in loads of new ideas to spark up their cities and making them better places to live.
Full Project Credits For Spark Your City:
Project Name: Spark Your City Event Year: 2015 Initiators: Kipling Location: Sutton Walk (Southbank), London Recommended Reading:
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Farrs
Article by Farah Afza Jurekh