When an illustration becomes a public installation: a focus on “Animal Factory”

Animal Factory is a park installation crafted from tubes shaped like animals. This captivating creation, originally showcased in Amsterdam, has rapidly become a sensation across Europe

Luca Boscardin, the creative mind behind Animal Factory, is a remarkable designer and illustrator. Over his career, he worked as a consultant for Philips, founded Bluc – a toy company, and published books. Recently, he returned to Italy with his family after a decade in Amsterdam.

I confess, Luca is a friend I met at Triennale some years ago, and I am an avid admirer of his work. Upon first encountering Animal Factory, I was immediately captivated.

However, I questioned whether my enthusiasm was subjective or if there was a more objective appeal to this artwork.

What makes these pieces exceptional is their embodiment of qualities every designer covets: poetry, simplicity, and universality.

Animal Factory filled my design sensibilities with the essence of the finest design practices. What convinced me of its broad appeal was its rapid proliferation throughout Europe.

Let’s delve into the origins of this remarkable creation for context.

During his tenure in Amsterdam, Luca won the Open Call organized by Stichting NDSM-werf in 2021. This victory allowed him to set up an installation for four months. Armed with oil pastels, he embarked on a study to draw animals with a single continuous line. He then translated these drawings into tangible sculptures made of metal.

Luca’s theory was fascinating: the weight of the sculptures imparted a genuine presence to his illustrations, creating an experience akin to encountering real animals. The results, as evident from the pictures, speak volumes. However, how did a four-month exhibition transform into a Europe-wide phenomenon?

Initially, Amsterdam’s decision to make the sculptures permanent reflected positive public feedback. Yet, the pivotal moment occurred during Milan Design Week. The sculptures made their way to Masterly Milano, where they captured the attention of architects and designers. This exposure led to widespread interest in bringing these sculptures to various cities.

Animal Factory public installation by Luca Boscardin

Luca’s effective online promotion, characterized by delicate communication on social media and design blogs, further fueled this expansion. The initial collection comprised four sculptures, but it was destined to expand. This natural progression is a hallmark of a designer’s intuitive creativity.

What sets Luca apart is his ability to tap into the childlike wonder within adults.

Children view the world from a unique perspective, experiencing awe in everyday moments. Animal Factory allows adults to relive this sense of wonder. Although static, these sculptures come to life through the playful interactions of children. However, the intrigue lies in how adults engage with these installations.

The fascinating aspect of this project is its evolution not only in form and scale but also in function. Soon, France will witness the introduction of Animal Factory for fitness, featuring certified sculptures for outdoor calisthenics.

This development draws inspiration from Aldo Van Eyck‘s metal playgrounds in Holland, where children interpreted structures freely, fostering creativity without predefined rules. In essence, Animal Factory transcends the boundaries of age, transforming public spaces into vibrant hubs of creativity and play.

Animal Factory public installation by Luca Boscardin

Luca’s creation embodies the essence of public art, sparking joy and curiosity among people of all ages.


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