Calling to create a more dog-friendly urban environment, young designer Monta Kate Zviedre has created Doggy Spot. The pop-up stop makes life easier for dog owners, giving their pets the opportunity to comfortably meet their natural needs. Additionally, the project’s website encourages discussion about our four-legged friends in the city and the problems their owners face.
Doggy Spot is Monta Kate Zviedre’s graduation work at the Art Academy of Latvia. Researching how dog-friendly Riga’s urban environment is, Monta found that a large number of surveyed dog owners face various inconveniences. The lack of waste bins and grass patches, the insufficient number of dog parks, as well as the unavailability of bags in public places are among those mentioned most frequently. Owners often face discomfort when looking for the most suitable place to take their pet to do its business or for a longer walk. The need for improvement for is also evidenced by the initiatives proposed by the residents in various districts of Riga, for example, in Ķengarags, Purvciems and Imanta, where the issue of creating a dog-friendly environment is being raised.
The designer reveals that this topic is also personally relevant for her: «My dog Winnie the Pooh comes with me wherever he can and is allowed, because he is my family and my best friend, and I, as a dog owner in the city, have encountered various problems of inaccessibility of the environment. I observe it every day while walking my pet.»
The Doggy Spot communication design project consists of two parts — a dog stop and a website where animal owners are invited to share experiences and exchange views. The outdoor object itself has been created with the aim of providing basic things that make the city dog-friendly, thus solving not only the practical aspects, but also emphasising the advantages of an accessible environment for dogs. The lower part of the object, as well as the pole is intended to meet the natural needs of dogs, while the upper part — a bag dispenser and a trash can — is designed for the convenience of dog owners. In order to make the object easily visible in the urban environment, as well as to hide the marks left by the dogs, yellow was chosen as the main colour. Inspired by the urban environment and road signs, often dotted with stickers and various inscriptions, the object is decorated with colourful messages.
It was important for Monta to create a friendly and open communication that reflects the kind and sometimes naughty nature of dogs. «Thinking about what a dog is to a person — a friend, family member, companion, pet, playmate, sometimes helper or prankster — it was important for me to preserve these doggish qualities in my work,» Monta explains the inspiration behind the project’s visual image. The messages on the sticker labels invite people who have encountered the Doggy Spot on the street to go to the project’s website and share what a dog-friendly urban environment means to them.
The biggest challenge of the project was to create a solution that was practical, sustainable and stable enough to be used by dog owners and dogs themselves, as well as mobile, so that it could be conveniently placed and tested in different parts of the city. The construction of the dog stop is made of metal and is easy to assemble and disassemble. The cover chosen for the base is dog-friendly, as well as easy to dispose of. The stop, appearing in various places in Riga, has mostly caused a positive reaction of passers-by — those with and without dogs — confirming the city residents’ aspiration to make the urban environment more friendly to our pets.
Doggy Spot is a master’s thesis project by Monta Kate Zviedre, a student of the Functional Design Department in the Art Academy of Latvia. The supervisor of the master’s thesis is designer Matīss Zvaigzne. You can find out more about the project, as well as express your opinion about dog-friendly urban solutions on the project’s website.