shani ha softens tough cities with interactive comfort extensions
images by shani ha, marielle pottier, kevain delpesche, louise devin




in an effort to soften tough cities and make them more sensitive towards the needs of people inhabiting them, french artist shani ha has installed ‘comfort extensions’ around paris, new york, miami, brussels and los angeles. the ’empathicity’ project comprises a series of ephemeral, experimental interventions in the streets that offer a visual and interactive break to make metropolises more restful and welcoming. using repurposed pieces of a friend’s sofa, ha adds plush cushions to architectural surfaces and building façades in various postures and positions for people to lean on, sit atop and rest their heads on.

a city dweller relaxes on the ‘comfort extensions’ attached on the the louvre in paris




the project is an experimental utopia of public spaces where empathy invades the streets to provide a comfortable pause for passers-by. ‘these enigmatic street sculptures shake our routines and encourage active behavior’, ha explains. ‘some people lay on them spontaneously, some play with them and other don’t even notice them. the comfort extensions are tools to experiment a metaphorical and empathic re-appropriation of our cities. I’m fascinated by all the reactions depending on the city, space, time etc. I always travel with a few comfort extensions to continue the spreading of the experience.’


comfort extensions are presented at songs for presidents gallery, new york from now until july 30, 2015.

resting while overlooking the atomium in brussels 

the project invites city inhabitants and passers-by to reflect on their surroundings 

‘comfort extensions’ aim to soften tough cities 

a passer-by rests her head on a plush cushion attached to the side of a new york city building 

different postures and positions allow for various user interaction

applied on architectural surfaces, the repurposed couch cushions extend comfort to the city

a new york city stoop is softened for more comfortable public use

a miami wall is fit with a series of ‘comfort extensions’

the urban interventions provide a soft place of rest for leaning arms 

a user rests her arm on the ‘comfort extension’ while she uses her phone 

concrete becomes a comfortable place for rest and relaxation