Brazilian architects from Studio HAA! have designed a number of polished parklets which make use of parking spaces, and bring liveliness to sidewalks and restaurant-fronts in São Paulo.
Parklets are an extension of sidewalks into on-street parking spaces. They help create public, people-oriented spaces and include seating spots, green spaces and other elements which encourage citizen interaction. These interventions have been increasingly used as a way of revamping public space and making it more inclusive and functional. Projects, such as toolkits for creating parklets provided by the government in Vienna, or shipping containers with greenery and sitting spots deposited on parking spaces in Montreal, are just a few examples of the growing parklet movement.
The city of São Paulo has come up with a manual (in Portuguese) which includes guidelines for designing and installing parklets. These guidelines include the optimal size of parklets and height measurements for the walls surrounding it, and are the base for legal approval of parklets in the city. Studio HAA! has been creatively working within those guidelines to design practical and attractive parklets in São Paulo.
With the use of materials such as weather resistant wood, steel with electrostatic painting as well as elements like furniture with multiple functions, flower pots and benches, their designs have been implemented in several locations all over the city. As opposed to conventional parklets, these parklets take design and functionality to the next level as they are more thought through, more permanent, and less DIY. The use of designer parklets in São Paulo is also more commercial as most of the twelve Studio HAA! projects face restaurants and cafes and can be used by their visitors.
These parklets are a great use of parking space as they promote interaction and increased physical activity (as opposed to driving your car and parking it on the street) and beautify the area. Through careful planning the designs of Studio HAA! add an extra aesthetic value to those spaces making them cool hangout spots.