Soft Fits

The Bentway Studio at Canoe Landing Park
Few public spaces are designed with teenagers in mind. For Soft Fits, Brooklyn’s WIP Collaborative worked with local youth to create a playful lounge-scape under the trees at the edge of The Bentway Studio Terrace facing Canoe Landing Park.

Soft Fits
creates a playful lounge-scape for people of all ages to gather, hang out, explore, and connect in the heart of downtown Toronto. Situated under the trees at the edge of The Bentway Studio Terrace facing Canoe Landing Park, this site-specific installation blurs the boundaries between hard and soft public space.

Inspired by the cliffs, bluffs, and forest landscapes that are found in and near the city, the installation features netted frames that form inviting, shared spaces under and between the trees. The design is informed by surveys conducted with local teenagers about what softness means to them and their spatial and experiential preferences in urban contexts. While conventional playspaces  are typically designed for small children and other public spaces feel more intended for older adults, Soft Fits offers a welcoming place for teens, whose needs are often overlooked or excluded in the public realm. 

With varied heights, curvatures, and slopes, the pieces encourage playful engagement for everyone. Hand-crafted woven textures and fringes introduce a soft materiality on the Terrace, inviting users to engage through touch. 

Soft Fits is shaped by feminist design principles and communal acts of weaving that gain strength through softness, healing, and togetherness. WIP collaborated with local artist Colleeen McCarten to weave, braid, twist, and tie reclaimed cords into the installations’ netting, encouraging local teens in particular to “create their fits” and make the public space their own through a collaborative design process.

WIP collaborators: Abby Coover (Overlay Office), Lindsay Harkema (WIP), Sera Ghadaki (SERA GHADAKI), and Elsa Ponce (Studio Elsa Ponce).

More info on the Bentway’s website