This paper discusses some aesthetic and social aspects that involve interactions with urban art installations. The aim is to better understand how, and to what extent, aesthetic interactions with art installations can transform an urban space into a place. The discussion is based on a case study of the Modified Social Benches, a series of outdoor, interactive artworks that provide different types of bodily engagement, social encounters and aesthetic experiences. A detailed empirical analysis is carried out, emphasising the social roles around the installations as well as the most salient aspects regarding the bodily, the spatial and the experiential qualities of the interactions. The results suggest that urban installations affording playful, action-oriented and sensorimotor encounters are more effective to placemaking than installations that encourage static modalities of social activities.