mobile gardens is a cascoland project, a collaboration with Fiona de Bell and the neighbours in Geuzenveld, Amsterdam New West.
The idea was simple, to provide the option for apartment dwellers to grow their own vegetables for a season, a mobile allotment coming to your neighborhood. The underlying intention was to create a meeting point where neighbors can come together, and of course to activate the public space in another way. The gardens were placed during several seasons in amsterdam (geuzenveld, kolenkitbuurt, pak huis de zwijger) and brussels (molenbeek).
the hot pots mobile kitchen is a continuation of a series of mobile interventions cascoland has developed in collaboration with jair straschnow and wouter nieuwendijk, with the objective of mobilizing participation of residents in their public spaces through urban agriculture, meeting and eating. a construction mounted on a trailer, containing 4 ovens made out of flowerpots that are able to bake bread, flatbread and pizza within minutes. audience is invited to roll their own pizzas and dress them with fresh vegetables and herbs from the mobile gardens.
amsterdam new west was planned to be one of the busiest construction areas in the tetherlands as part of a massive gentrification plan. as a result of the 2008 economical crisis investors pulled back, leaving many empty plots. jan van schaffelaarplantsoen in the kolenkitbuurt is one of them, and between 2010-2015 i have been working together with cascoland, zsolt kamarás and wouter nieuwendijk on various interventions and activities, like urban farming, public bbq’s, neighborhood cooking events, ice-skating arena etc.
a collaboration project with cascoland; fiona de bell, roel schoenmakers, wouter nieuwendijk, gitte nygaard and bart majoor.
for the construction of a cable car system, the teleférico, connecting bonsuccesso at the bottom of complexo de alemão with the station of palmeiras at the top, a strip of houses has been demolished. As a result a lot of in-between spaces emerged that could well be used for all kinds of public purposes. alvorada is a densely populated area and there are few public spaces. Plans from the authorities for development of the empty spaces are not yet being executed. this in-between stage provides opportunity to think about the design of neutral public spaces, not connected to existing structures, multi-functional, accessible to all, safe and clean.
The palco público is a multi-purpose public space created on a vacant, littered in-between space opposite of barraco #55. Now it is cleaned up, it is off the road, so it is safe for children and has a splendid view over the whole of rio.
It’s design is open for various uses, it holds a ping pong table and a football pitch that is at the same time a palco público, a public stage for performances. It is situated right under the comuniférico and visible from afar.
cascoland is an international collaborative project where artists and designers engage themselves in communities in order to activate and develop public space.
in 2008 cascoland took place in the city of durban, SA.
umthombo drop-in centre for street children was the location gitte nygaard and myself chose to work in.
there are around 3000 street kids in durban, and umthombo is one of the organizations working for the children. umthombo’s work mainly focuses on ‘after care’ (bringing children back to their families) and a ‘back to school program’.
each day approximately seventy children come to the drop-in centre. they get simple food three times a day, but are not allowed to sleep there and have no storage space for their(very few)personal belongings.
our intention with the postbox-lockers was both to come up with a practical solution and provide the kids with a space of their own, tiny as it might be, and at the same time use the postboxes as a sign to announce the issue of street children to the people of Durban.
other projects around the centre were yelloL, a horizontal blackboard table, red game-table with three different games engraved on it’s surface, and howZit, sitting-hammocks/swings.
the project has been nominated for the rotterdam designprijs 2009
a collaboration with gitte nygaard
besides its historical importance (the treason trials took place there in the 50’ and 60’), the drill hall and the surrounding hillbrow / joubert park area, have gone through a dramatic physical and social transformation over the past two decades.
it has become the home to immigrants from all over africa, thousands of people in search of a roof over their head and a job in the city. With exceptionally high densities of housing and revolving demography, inner-city lacks however basic public facilities of an urban environment of this size and intensity.
the drill hall itself meanwhile, in a state of decay, was squatted and inhabited by hundreds of people for a few years. a fire that took place in 2003 was a chance to restore the compound and declare it a national monument, but the place stood isolated and fenced in the midst of its vibrant surrounding.
the goal of cascoland was to re-activate this public space despite limited resources.
many mozambican car mechanics are working at the south gate of the drill hall. ‘since 1994′ the sign would read if there was one. an outdoor garage. services varies from changing wipers to fine tuning to complete over-all’s, like car washing, window tinting, stereo make-overs, etc. all action is taking place on the sidewalk.
city authorities, needless to say, are not too happy. they also make it show – once in a while they’ll come and confiscate the mechanics’ tools, rounding them up and deporting many.
‘waiting is the hardest part’, says one of the mechanics, and these guys spend most their days waiting in the sun for clients, either leaning against the fence or sitting on the floor.
after a 10-day observation the conclusions were:
a. it’s obvious on who’s side we are.
b. sitting facilities are an urgent need, also some working surfaces.
the problem: the sidewalk is a public area belonging to the city council, positioning anything on it will require the council’s permission (which obviously will be impossible).
the solution: elements that are woven into the fence, and can be pushed or flipped in and out.
a worktable on wheels is integrated in the fence. during the day it can be slid onto the pavement, in the evening it can be pushed back into the drill hall area.
tubular benches have been welded on the fence, and can be flipped inside or outside. a half sitting half standing ‘ready-steady-go’ bench is floating through the fence (meant for the quick-to-react guys) seems to to be the least popular, proving once again: why stand when you can sit?