A new interactive public art structure has sprung up in Cape Town’s Long Street.

The artwork, Open House on Long street, aims to serve as a platform, playground and shelter for people from all walks of life.

Open House is the brainchild of Kimberley-born artist Jacques Coetzer, who has designed the winning concept in the Western Cape Government Public Art Competition in December 2014.

Coetzer says he drew inspiration from corrugated metal structures, RDP homes and the facades of Long Street’s buildings to design ‘Open House’. According to the Western Cape Government  website, Open House is envisioned to be a symbol of democracy, which embodies shelter. Coetzer says that “Democracy is an Open House with a firm foundation and a balcony to sing from”, and this is what he attempted to manifest with Open House.The Western Cape Government also says that the artwork is “set to encourage dialogue and interaction between people of all walks of life. It is set to be an open platform for artistic expression and freedom of speech, which is symbolic of our democracy”.

Since the erection of ‘Open House’, many people have spontaneously partaken in this symbolic idea when they’ve stepped into the house.

The artwork, which will be a permanent installation within the CBD, is a 10.5 meter high structure with windows and balconies on which Capetonians can sit.

The Open House balconies play host to open mic poetry sessions, talks by international dignitaries, theater productions and various annual events” and will continue to do so in the future.

When not in official use, locals are being encourage to see it as a “tree top bench for your lunch break”.

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