Everyone gets frustrated. If only there was a constructive way to release frustrations in public. For a little more than a week in May 2019 residents and visitors of New York City had a very constructive and cool way to blow off a little steam. During New York Design Week, designers from all over the world flocked to the city to showcase their talents. One of those design studios was Donttakethisthewrongway. As part of the festivities, that studio installed public punching bags on select corners around the city. From May 10th to 22nd, these bags could be seen at the corner of Spring Street and Thompson Street.
Why Punching Bags?
Donttakethisthewrongway is a conceptual design studio based out of Savannah, Georgia that has attracted the attention of everything from funny blogs to fashion industry trendsetters like Marie Claire. The studio has always been known to take a walk on the eccentric side. What inspired the studio to place punching bags around New York City?
A caption on the studio’s Instagram pages says, “A design concept for the public that explores designing common spaces for the frustrations we all face. Frustrations that go beyond designed systems and happen, well, because we are human. The public punching bag offers an outlet for these emotions as a means to maybe develop a healthier way to address personal and collective issues in a public setting.”
How Did They Work?
In case you’re wondering, the design studio did not attach huge swinging punching bags to light poles. That would have probably led to someone inadvertently being hit by a punching bag. Instead, the punching bags were designed to be compact and safe to use. The bright yellow punching bags had a flat back that fits snugly around the pole. They were just big enough to be seen, but they were small enough so that they did not obstruct the view of pedestrians or drivers. They were strategically placed on poles that sat far enough away from the street so that passerby would be safe when using them.
The punching bags were only out for about three hours each day. Surprisingly, most people who took pictures with the bags seemed to take pictures of the bags rather than pictures of people punching the bags. Although the bags were only out at select times, many people noticed them and posted about them on social media.
What The Public Thought
Many cities around the world could benefit from having these poles year round. Whether it’s missing the train, forgetting your lunch, or getting yelled at by an angry boss, there are plenty of things that make people angry and frustrated throughout the day. Many people bottle up those emotions rather than releasing them. Often times, the emotions leak out in the form of being rude to others. Maybe, if we were all allowed to show the world that we are upset by letting all of our anger out on a punching bag on the sidewalk, we would be a lot nicer to the people around us.
The quirky public punching bags may not have solved all the world’s problems, but they accomplished exactly what they were intended to do. People noticed the punching bags, and they got people thinking. Some on social media posted that they wished these bags were everywhere, and almost everyone viewed them as a great idea. Rather than encouraging violence or anger, the fact that these bags were there made many people smile. The presence of the bags alone was enough to distract many passersby of their problems and get them to smile. Who would have thought that a few bright yellow punching bags could bring the community of New York City together!
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