Sometimes you need a side of whimsy and delight to go with your cynicism.

Dutch designer Thor ter Kulve creates tweaks for everyday city fixtures, temporarily imbuing them with childlike zest. A boring light pole becomes a swing, for instance:

Weeeee!
Thor ter Kulve
Wheeeee!

And this fire hydrant becomes a fountain:

fire-hydrant-water-fountain
Thor ter Kulve

The fact that his inventions are temporary — “They are set up for a few hours and then removed without damaging the structure it was attached to,” PSFK says (what a concept!) — doesn’t lessen their ability to charm or make the observer see the city in a new way. And they might just make you smile.

Thor ter Kulve has a simple, lovely statement about the pieces on his website:

Thanks to [these designs], dull and derelict places become hangouts of choice…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.

Ter Kulve is part of the “slow design” movement, which champions the following:

Reveal: Slow design reveals spaces and experiences in everyday life that are often missed or forgotten, including the materials and processes that can easily be overlooked in an artifact’s existence or creation.

Expand: Slow design considers the real and potential “expressions” of artifacts and environments beyond their perceived functionality, physical attributes and lifespans.

Reflect: Slowly-designed artifacts and environments induce contemplation and ‘reflective consumption.’

Engage: Slow design processes are “open source” and collaborative, relying on sharing, co-operation and transparency of information so that designs may continue to evolve into the future.

Pretty cool, no? Check out some more slow design projects here.