Commissioned by
Marseille Buiten
Surface area
191 pages
Leonie Verbrugge

Marseille Buiten will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2022. In that time, the office has worked on more than a hundred projects in the Netherlands and abroad. Public space seems to be an obvious concept. But it certainly is not. The importance of a well-designed outdoor space is constantly increasing. Just think of heat stress and all the climate measures that cities and towns have to take.

With drawings, plans, photographs and journal excerpts, the reader gains insight into the creative process used to design public space. The book illustrates the working method of Marseille Buiten in a very tangible way. After reading this book, no public space is considered a common anymore.

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Coming up with a good idea is of course the main task of a designer or someone with a creative profession. Coming up with a "workable idea" comes last in our eyes, but of course, the idea has to be good enough to form the basis for its realisation. In our case, this is mainly done based on experience, examples, of mutual discussions. And then, of course, it often happens that a workable idea does not work at all. Fortunately, sketchbooks and pens are there to help with that.

And that is another important part of how we look at the world, how we approach assignments and set up projects. Every time, you start all over again. Every place is different, every place requires a different approach. Of course, some ingredients are reused. A sitting edge is a sitting edge. But where will it be, how big will it be, what material will it be made of, what form will it take? The same goes for one of the basic elements of many of our plans; how do people move through space? How do they find their way through the city, how do they arrive at that square, what do they see, how does it feel, where do they want to go and what do they encounter along the way? With each project, a new approach is taken.

The square that eventually emerges is now simply there. Many people use the space without thinking about it. But someone has thought about that sitting edge, about the trees, the materials and the way you move across that square. Fortunately, a design process never starts with a white sheet, but always with a location. We do not work on automatic pilot, we do not roll out a method. Time and again, we have to battle with the starting points, the location, the budget, the forms and ourselves.

And the latter is what makes this such a beautiful profession.