COMMONS

International Design Workshop at IDW Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences
February 10 - 14, 2020



We were tutors of the Antwerp University’s International Design Workshop Week 2020, titled ‘Commons’. As part of our workshop ‘Intercultural bench’, a group of 17 students from various studies researched the topics and went into conversation with residents. The week resulted in the collective construction of a 30-meter modular bench in the center of Antwerpen Luchtbal. read more

The concept of commons resides in language, knowledge, habits. Culture. Cities call for more spaces dedicated to commons. Commons are spaces that stimulate and establishrelations between people (from same or different cultures). We understand the concept of commons also as a gesture of generosity towards the public, and find this concept embodied in one of the most archetypical items of furniture that is inscribed in the language, culture and social spaces of our cities: the public bench.

We imagine a place where people encounter, a free andaccessible place for everybody, in our public, collective space. A place to rest, to wait, to reside, to read, to tell stories, to chat,to play; to be alone as well as to welcome company. Even though in myriad variations, we can find the public bench every where and in all times. Seats have been around in cities for millennia. Before there were chairs, or even tables, there were benches.
It is the very ubiquity of the public bench, its presence in our consciousness as an archetype and its representation of urban life which leads us to propose the public bench as a common. It can serve as an object for intercultural dialogue, on form,meaning and use. Bridging individuals and cultures, evokingquestions on how people live, what their traditions are and howthey use public space and its furniture.

The bench as a big gesture symbolises the three future connections between Luchtbal and Lambrechtshoeken from a very central and visible p art in Luchtbal. A new 35 meter-long bench that rises up to accentuate these future routes. Reflective metal pipes of different heights and diameters are placed with a distance of 1,14m between axes and are slid into the ground in different depths, as a foundation. The level of the wooden coloured panels connect the cylinders in an ascending way, step by step.






ROUND TABLE SERIES

Kulturfolger, Zürich 2019 


We have been invited for a residency at Kulturfolger in Zürich during the entire year ‘19 to develop and present our project. This residency became a context for experiment, inclusive debate and critical reflection.

Through eight events that combined exhibitions round table sessions and performances by invited guests, we presented the development of our research to a new, curious and engaged audience. The different formats of dialogues include eight public events, a series of five round table sessions, two open studios and six tête-à-tête dialogues with invited guests from different fields and cities.

Inside the gallery we gave our thoughts and questions a physical presence, by translating them into eight distinct exhibitions/spatial installations. This made them experiencable to the audience, that thereby also experienced the space of the gallery in eight different ways. Outside we selected specific sites where we found accurate examples for further exploration, together with the invited guests, through their specific - performative - approaches.

The events started on Friday evening with a presentation of the topic, the specific questions and the exhibition/spatial installation. We followed with the performance of the invited guest and used the rest of the evening for open and informal conversations with the visitors.

The day after, on Saturday afternoon, we moderated a series of open round table sessions, in order to continue the dialogue with the community



URBAN TRANSFORMATION AS EVENT

Series of 4 Workshops on the project in Zürich, Rotterdam and Barcelona
February - April - July - September 2018












ALONG THE LINE

Workshop and lecture ‘Waterfronts’, at the cultural festival of La Derivée, Yverdon-les-Bains. With Myriam Treiber. July 2017

A three-day on-site workshop researching the new waterfront territory through photography, drawing, video and sound

Field study along the former shoreline of the Neuchâtel lake. Between this line and the lake we find the new waterfront territory, an unintended result of the Jura water correction. Because of the water correction, the water height of the lake decreased with 2.70m and the shoreline with 400m. This waterfront territory, in fact a place of high potential, remains a no-man's land, with a collection of unspoken buildings, blocking the routes from the city center to the lake.

“How to experience a line that is no longer visible?”

During the 3-day workshop we have focussed on the transformation process of the waterfront territory of the city of Yverdon. 150 years back, in 1868, as a consequence of the correction of the Jura water, the Neuchâtel lake moved back more than 400m from the city center of Yverdon. Many rivers have been corrected in Switzerland to limit the risk of flooding and to add new vast areas of valuable agricultural land through the drying out and subsequent sanitization and improvement of the swamps which used to lie between these three lakes. As a result of this correction the city of Yverdon, as many other cities and villages arround the Lake of Neuchatêl and Biel, have gained a generous piece of land along the lake, a new waterfront and, as consequence, affecting the historical relationhip between these cities and lake. We started with an alaysis through different historical maps that showed the lake before and after the water correction, overlapping them with the current state.


The Workshop was accompanied by the lecture ‘Waterfronts’, presenting similar examples from other cities in Europe, and has questioned the different attempts that have been made to restore the relationship between city and water. The workshop consisted of an excursion and discussion with all participants to explore the original lakeshore line. Today this line goes trough various heterogeneous realities, crossing industries, paths, fields, solitary buildings, walls, etc. The participants were given some mapping techniques and tasks in order to re-draw this line in certain moments, and to identify specific elements, interruptions, dualities,uses, traces and connections.

The collection of this material opened up a discussion where participants shared their ideas about this conflictive area of the city. The discussions resulte in 3 installative projects that emphasize the current disconnection with the city and at the same time, propose creative solutions







ZURICH. LES COOPERATIVES REINVENTENT LE LOGEMENT SOCIAL. 


Workshop on the exhibition at the cultural festival of La Derivée, Yverdon-les-Bains. With Myriam Treiber and Martin Lepoutre. July 2017