Pothole colours

Interventions by parisian based artist juliana santacruz, traces the many cracks and potholes that occur in the city's foundations. By adding braided fabric, she highlights and celebrates the materiality of wear and tear. A nice addition to the everyday grey that sometimes seem to take over our streets.

image via designboom
image via designboom
image via designboom


Kalab (close to home) - Ezri Tarazi Design Studio

room composition, image from designboom
Kalab (close to home) is an exhibition the Paradigma Design Gallery in Tel Aviv Israel by the artist, Ezri Tarazi. (until March 18) It consists of both reclaimed war paraphernalia and mimics thereof that has creatively been remade/made into furnishings. There's a sofa resembling a sandbag fortification, a lamp constructed out of satchel straps, recreating the shape of tires from army trucks, a shelf built out of discarded ammunition boxes.

sandbag sofa, image from dornob

satchel strap lamp, image from tarazi studio

ammunition box shelf + powder coated iron, image from designboom
Of course, this is still high-end design place in a design gallery but there is an juxtaposition in Tarazi's work. It is based on the memories of a state at war, his childhood and his concern for the future of Israel, as noticed over at designboom and dornob. The designs speaking of the relationship between the military and the civil and how closely related these are within the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Conflict becoming domesticated when it is carried on for generations.

This is personal and is a retrospective of the designers own life, experiences and feelings. What is interesting to me as a landscape architect is the act of reclaiming materials for the purpose of remaking them into a new functional state of being but still somewhat resembling what it once was, what purpose it served and what memories are attached to it. I am a romantic in this way, and romanticising like this does not speak or reflect the reality of the experiences that somebody from this region would've gone through.

The act of reclaiming materials in the war torn landscape speaks about spatial systems, both the system of warfare and the system of recuperating and rebuilding from it. The system of warfare exhibited in the locations of found objects and the system of rebuilding in the new locations that the materials find themselves in. The objects themselves are framed moments in time but the process behind making/remaking them, speaks about landscape, the time and process of our culture and how we occupy space.


Productive Dystopia

From the brilliant minds behind tomorrows thoughts today, comes this video production which is an introduction to the question of how dystopia might inform the design of cities, discussed at TINAG’s Festival of Urbanism

Does Dystopia offer us a valid alternative for developing cities? 
Does the one flaw in utopia offer an insight into where urbanism can go?
How does dysfunction inform design of our cities?

These questions immediately makes me think of a quote from Bruce Mau's massive change:

design is only visible when it fails

this is about design process.

To understand emerging urbanisms, one need to understand where the planned city failed. This in a number of ways: 

01. understanding the impact of a formal design outcome, in other words, how has the formal design developed over time. How has it changed from the moment of 'completion'? (I use completion here in lack of other terms)

02. understanding the formula that was used to produce the formal design?

03. measuring failure?


Loveland - Detroit

Salvaged Landscape, inside
Salvaged Landscape passageway

“By its nature, the Internet undermined anyone whose status depended on a privileged access to information.”
—Michael M. Lewis, Next: The Future Just Happened 

The loveland project has introduced inchvestments of so called microhoods, real urban lots in Detroit, that are made online, so you can say that they are rebuilding Detroit through the internet. (They are even suggesting that you buy inches as gifts) hardcore!

These spaces are located within housing and urban lots that are no longer 'productive', I am guessing that previous commercial and industrial ventures are now long gone as these buildings and lots ceased to be profitable and this obviously would've led to an abandonement in residential lots too. So these 'empty' urban lots have been standing in limbo waiting for somebody to come in and start making use of them. These microhoods are envisioned to be visitable park and garden spaces along with renovated abandonded buildings. Inchvestors buy into a set of inches and then collaborate with other inchowners in their microhood to carve out some fine ideas of what to develop on the sites. In other words, it sounds like the loveland project are creating a new type of public space based on the redundant urban spectacle. This is made possible by an innovative social tool, the internet. Watch the TED talk by founders Jerry Paffendorf and Mary Carter:

“Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings."  
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Loveland is a fantastic innovation in urban development and should receive praise on the highest level. Hopefully they can maintain this concept around community based ownership and investment. The danger in rejuvenation through the arts and crafts, through creative endevours is that a gentrification eventuates in those neighbourhoods as the creative lifestyles become fashionable and so you see residential prices shoot through the roof and eventually move the artists elsewhere. 

Plymouth, Lovelands first digital/analogue neighbourhood.
The Loveland website as it is formatted looks very digital. I mean, that IS the whole point. But, I guess what I am trying to convey is a need to perhaps start spatialising the incentives and the projects that are forming in the microhoods so that we can understand them more beyond a planning llot that is either square or rectangular and  coloured in red, green or yellow. More pictures, more plans, sections etc. would aid in understanding the impact that this DIGITAL system as had on our ANALOGUE reality.

for more images, go to core77
Living in the map is a take on the rather drained and seemingly old expression of community consultation. The idea of traditional paper pushing and prolonged waiting periods due to bureaucratic red tape seem to have been moved aside as the internet provides a platform in redeveloping and rethinking Detroit. Imagination station is behind the Living in the map concept which is a continuation of the loveland project that basically offers people to invest in so called microhoods starting as small as an inch. Living in the map seems to have just been powered up and is a website still in need of some work but the general concept is to act as a social platform for job opportunities and for sharing general information and city data of what is going on in Detroit. Imagination station also thinks up clever reclamation installations and public artworks such as this beautiful piece by Katie Newell called Salvaged Landscape whereby she intervened in a burnt down building and used wood to reconfigure the destructed material and building into a so called passageway.

more on the Salvaged Landscape project here
Sewell is gradually demolishing  this building turning it into an intervention in the process. Catie Newell describes it:  

Salvaged Landscape appropriates the charred wood from an arsoned house to create spatial adjustments which uncover the material qualities reliant on flame to exist. Amidst a purposeful tear-down, the project responds to the new textures, spaces, and light effects that resulted both from the fire and demolition. Using existing material from the house as the palette and existing spaces as form-work, Salvaged Landscape creates a new room in the life of the house keying into the opportunities present in its own timeline; constructed with the demolition of the house occurring around it

Following insertion of the left-over firewood into the hollows of the savaged structure, the artist will attempt to invert the passageway. She wants to remove the remains of the old building structure and flip the passageway onto its side so that it becomes an impenetrable structure and a celebration of the building that once was...

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