Urban Blanket In Tech Square Encourages Social Interaction

The Urban Blanket was designed by Kennesaw State University professor Gernot Riether and 20 of his design students. It's located on Fifth Street in Midtown Atlanta.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE
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It’s burning hot in Atlanta lately, but students at Kennesaw State University want people to sit and socialize on a blanket in Midtown. 

The “Urban Blanket” is a large, white, wavy structure in Tech Square. Samantha Johnson passes it every day. 

“The white thing in the middle? I thought it was like a piece of art, so I didn’t think I was supposed to sit on it, or sleep on it,” Johnson said. 

The blanket has a cool white surface made of acrylic HI-MACS, the same material you’ll find in some kitchen countertops. It absorbs sunlight during the day, so that it lights up at night.  

And not only are people sitting on the blanket, but they’re also doing pushups on it. 

“My favorite position was just sitting there, having my feet propped up and like relaxing. It’s pretty cool,” said Alissa Ji, a rising senior at Wheeler High School. 

Kennesaw State architecture professor Gernot Riether and 20 students have spent the last six months building it. 

“We had like one moment in the design process, where we said like, should we put like some sign there to explain, I mean, how you are supposed to use that?” Riether said. “And we decided we will let people figure it out.”

Students are taking photos and monitoring how people are using the blanket as it moves through the Atlanta area this summer. 

Its next stop? Marietta Square.