What is Hello Lamp Post?

"This summer, Bristol's street furniture is waking up - and it wants to talk to you."

Hello Lamp Post is an experimental, city-wide platform for play. This is an opportunity to rediscover your local environment, share your memories of the city and uncover the stories that other people leave behind. Hello Lamp Post encourages you to look at the city with fresh eyes and engage with systems we take for granted. This is a chance to slow down, reflect and give yourself permission to play.

Hello Lamp Post is an interactive system that gives everyone in Bristol a new tool to talk with each other, through prompts and questions - all facilitated by the city's physical infrastructure. By referencing the thousands of pre-existing identifier codes that label items of street furniture across the whole city, players can send text messages to particular objects, including (but not limited to) lamp posts, post boxes, bollards, manholes, bins, or telegraph poles.

Hello Lamp Post ran from July 2013 - September 2013 in Bristol. It is currently dormant.


The inspiration for Hello Lamp Post came about by combining two ideas.

The first was that the city can be thought of as a diary that one walks through: when we return to a place we've visited before it can trigger memories of what we were doing there last time, who we were with, how we felt etc.

The second idea was an observation - that so much of the city's infrastructure is labelled with unique identifier codes, used for maintenance and administration. Could these codes be used to reference locations in a way that is more human, fun and playful?

The Team

Hello Lamp Post was developed as a collaboration between PAN Studio, Tom Armitage and Gyorgyi Galik.

PAN Studio

PAN is a design and research studio, established to produce rich, powerful and affecting experiences. We promote the idea of Experiential Design - taking theory and practices learned from the design industries and applying them to help people discover new sensations, explore deep emotional states and learn in new ways. In the last year we’ve built brain-scanning seance tables, woodland camera puzzles and a zombie-defence laser trap. We have worked for clients including The British Council, Marks & Spencers, Tom Dixon and Capcom.

Tom Armitage

Tom Armitage is a designer and technologist, working across hardware, software, and the network; he has previously held positions at games company Hide&Seek and the design firm Berg. His explorations of the playful city go back to 2008, when he joined Tower Bridge to the network with an automated Twitter account, which has proved curiously popular.

Gyorgyi Galik

Gyorgyi Galik is a London-based media artist with a background in fine arts and visual communication design. Gyorgyi has worked in labs and design studios including: Designswarm (London), Elmsly Arts Limited (London), PAN Studio (London), Natalie Jeremijenko and the Environmental Health Clinic (New York), Hexagram-Concordia (Montreal), CECI (Montreal), Szovetseg'39 Association of Artists and Architects (Budapest), Kitchen Budapest Art & Tech Lab (Budapest).

The Playable City Award

Hello Lamp Post is the winner of the inaugural 2013 Playable City Award, launched by Watershed and a network of organisations exemplifying Bristol's strength in Creative Technologies last year. The Award offers artists and creatives from across the world a unique opportunity to make something wonderful using creative technologies which surprises, challenges and engages people in exploring the playable city. Pushing the boundaries and encouraging experimentation, this international award sits at the intersections of technology and culture and will champion Bristol as an international hub for cutting-edge creativity.

The Playable City is a new term, imagined as a counterpoint to 'A Smart City'. A Playable City is a city where people, hospitality and openness are key, enabling its residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories. It is a place where there is permission to be playful in public. The Playable City Award is part of Watershed's ongoing investigation into this theme, which will also include a programme of work with British Council in Recife, Brazil, during 2014.

Supporters and Sponsors

The award is co-funded by a network of organisations who exemplify Bristol's strength in Creative Technologies. This unusual approach to sponsorship and support reflects the collaborative nature of a city where companies are well networked, open and sharing.

The partners are:

Hello Lamp Post is powered by Twilio.

To complement the Award Bristol Festival of Ideas will deliver a programme of discussion and debate expanding and exploring the theme of 'Playable City'.

The Award is produced by Watershed with support from Arts Council England.