Thor ter Kulve

Product Design (BA)


Redefine our Public Space

Redefine Our Public Space is a collection of products that reshapes and redefines our public space. By using well known products I want to show what is possible with what already exists. Simply attaching a bell to a lamppost transforms it into a landmark. More or less the same idea inspired my design for a fireplace insert, attachable to Holland’s most wide spread public trashcan. Thanks to this design dull and derelict places become hangouts of choice and to the same object I designed an attachment that makes a fire post into a fountain. It’s my strong belief that in a time of economic hardship and individual isolation we should address ourselves to public space as a collectively owned domain and possible ways to use it to our joint benefit.

The term public space somehow suggests that urban environments are open to our free use. The reality is that public space is over regulated. There is little room for free use, no room for play. A serious obstacle is zoning or urban planning with the attached discussions on what is permissible where and the ambition to regulate on this for the long run. To make public space free and a life again I propose temporary intervention making short term use of the plastic possibilities of specific places.




Thor ter Kulve is a Dutch designer based in London. His work re-defines public space, inventing products that enables natural or civic typologies to be transformed into tools, furniture and solutions. In his recent work a stem becomes a perfectly safe vertical climb using Canopystair, a set of stairs strapped around a tree without tools. Other projects include the Water fountain attached on to  fire hydrant, or the Swing clamped onto a light pole. With a mission to challenge the value statement of a public location, ter Kulve, enables everyone to re-think the rules of civic environments. 

Driven by democratic design, ter Kulve nurtures his relations both with other designers and with the public, such as the work with fourteen people strong collective in the Woodland Workshop or the paired collaboration with Rike Glaser for the One Square Meter project and the long term project running with Rob McIntyre for Canopystair – all sharing an approach that prejudices simplicity over complexity.

Ter Kulve received his MA in Design Products from the Royal College of Art, London and his BA Product Design from Artez Hogenschool voor de Kunsten, in Arnhem. Shows include, Salone De Mobile, London Design Festival, Aram Design Gallery, Dutch Design Week to name a few.