When I was growing up, skateparks were always depicted on screen as the ultimate backdrop of cool, be it in Larry Clarke’s iconic film Kids through to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video-game franchise.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, skateparks aren’t representative of much more that that – a hangout for local kids and scenesters. Perhaps this is why the Netherlands fail to view skateboarding as a legitimate sport, and in hand, the municipality of Rotterdam has failed to provide a decent skatepark for the healthy skating scene in the city.
Martijn Hartwig and Dario Goldbach, the guys behind Jira Jira, decided they’d had enough fruitless meetings with the council to try and rectify the issue, and decided to opt for a bit of D.I.Y. The project, which had its maiden voyage in the form of a guerrilla skate session on the 7th of July, also tied in as their final work required to graduate from the graphic design department of the Willem de Kooning Academy.
They created a collection of around 9 obstacles which can be loaded onto to a rolling platform and wheeled from location to location, ideal for street skating as #1 the cops are probably going to move you on, and #2 it can be used in conjunction with already existing features in the urban landscape, from advertising boards to public bins, to create layouts worthy of skatepark status.
Additionally, the obstacles are also made in collaboration with the Dutch artists Leon Karssen and Vincent Blok, who created cool but peculiar designs for each. This was to help extend the portable skatepark into a moving gallery of sorts when being wheeled from spot to spot.
The utilisation of pre-existing urban environments and a modular skatepark once again cites the trend for greater fluidity in cities. If you can’t get the local big wigs to cooperate, work with what you have. The project also helps to stamp the Rotterdam skate scene with ingenuity and creativity, whilst helping to create a hallmark for themselves as imaginative thinkers in the skating world.