Hirsch & Mann revealed as winners of Playable City Award

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 international Playable City Award® as UK based design and technology consultancy Hirsch & Mann, who will transform everyday pedestrian crossings into playful multi-sensory experiences.

We are delighted to reveal the winner of the 2016 international Playable City Award as UK based design and technology consultancy Hirsch & Mann, who will transform everyday pedestrian crossings into playful multi-sensory experiences.

In September, Watershed unveiled the shortlist of eight projects out of 81 applications from 34 countries for the fourth international Playable City Award, which invited artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners from all over the world to propose new and distinctive ideas to respond to the theme Journeys.

Hirsch & Mann’s Stop, Smile, Stroll is a playful intervention at pedestrian crossings that brings strangers together for a serendipitous shared moment – interrupting the tedium of our everyday mundane ‘stop and walk’ routine.  The judges were particularly excited about their emphasis on co-creating pedestrian crossing experiences with local communities – which may range from a 30 second party to a moment of quiet reflection, as well as incorporating city data. As winners of the 2016 Award they will receive £30,000 and will work with the Watershed team to develop and test their ideas in Bristol, before touring to other Playable City cities globally.

As cities grow, change and develop, road works, temporary crossings and diversions become an irritating part of daily life. In addition, personalised timings for Pedestrian Crossings and traffic lights that respond to congestion data are just two of the crossing-related smart city technologies currently in development or use. Hirsch & Mann see these touch points as an opportunity to enhance rather than disrupt our daily commute.

Daniel Hirschmann, Founder and CEO, Hirsch & Mann says,

“Hirsch & Mann are obsessed with creating memorable human centered experiences. To do this in the city - on a canvas that is 100% publicly accessible - is such an incredible opportunity. There is a real responsibility in creating something that members of the public will pass by, see and interact with and our hope is to leave a lasting impression on all the people that experience a moment of magic when they pass by.”

Hirsch & Mann are a design and technology consultancy exploring the future by making physical technology and putting it into the world to gain impact. Their philosophy of ‘thinking by making’ and using real world testing to evolves ideas and understand their value is in perfect harmony with the Playable City Approach. They have delivered magical projects for clients and partners ranging from AOL to The Whitney Museum of Art.

Clare Reddington, Creative Director, Watershed says,

“We are very excited to collaborate with Hirsch & Mann as this year’s Playable City Award winners. Making work for pedestrian crossings has huge international potential and we are really looking forward to working with them and the people of Bristol to make something surprising, playful and tourable.

“This week marks an important moment for Watershed’s Playable City as we have also been awarded funding by Arts Council England to deliver Creative Producers International, to build the capacity of Creative Producers as city change-makers. Combining the skills, networks and ambitions of Watershed and partners from UK, Lagos, Mexico City and Tokyo, this global programme will build on Playable City to create a lasting network of individuals, organisations and communities sharing ideas, skills and projects in person, online and through events in Bristol and Tokyo.”

Peter Madden, Chief Executive, Future Cities Catapult and one of the 2016 Playable City Award judges, says,

“Playable City makes us question the interplay between people, technology and place, and to see this relationship in a new light. I love this project because it shows how something we all experience in cities – waiting for the lights to change – can be transformed to bring a smile to peoples’ faces.”

Follow Stop, Smile, Stroll as it develops at Playablecity.com and on Twitter.