At the heart of a mixed and vibrant neighborhood in South Philadelphia stands the former Edward W. Bok Technical High School. Building on the building’s heritage as an incubator of vocational creativity, Scout Ltd. is redeveloping the building as a hub for designers, makers, artists, and community, rebranded as “Bok”. To demonstrate to the community Bok’s transformative nature, Scout promptly opened Bok Bar, a seasonal rooftop nightlife and event space.
To further enmesh the space in a maker ethos, Bok commissioned eight design teams to craft bespoke furniture for Bok Bar. The KSS team, in collaboration with studioRON, conceptualized a lounge seating installation as an intertwining of the beach and the boardwalk in a new landscape, a place to see and be seen. Following an iterative and collaborative design process, the team finalized its design as a collection of seven pieces to be stacked, reconfigured, and playfully arranged in series or as individual objects. The materials (pool noodles and 2x4s) and building techniques were intentionally selected bring to mind the intersection of beach and boardwalk—the boardwalk as framework for interaction, the beach as field for play. The final installation activates the rooftop bar, attracting sponteneous interaction among people and between person and object. The impact? A design that participates in placemaking to spark authentic encounters with the neighborhood, the building’s blossoming arts community, and Bok’s singular character in the urban landscape.