Canal180

A project in a Portuguese city asked residents to sit down and stay a while.

“DomestiCITY,” the art installation that won a Portuguese television channel’s “urban intervention competition” earlier this year, gently prompted the residents of Abrantes to slow down and take a load off.

We really liked this idea of transforming the domestic into public, and also the possibilities of interaction and dialogue between people,“ creator Maria Mazzanti said in a video made by the media arts organization that organized the competition. That’s why she and her collaborator, Martin Ramirez, decided to put a living room on an Abrantes street.

First, the Columbian artists asked the older people who usually sat on Abrantes’ streets for a little help—they wanted their furniture. Then the team repaired, sanded, and repainted the 60-odd pieces to fit their multi-hued palette, and arranged them on the streets.

(Canal180)

In the 1980s, the sociologist William H. Whyte noted the transformative power of (movable) urban furniture, which he argued could be used to create inviting public spaces. Since Mazzanti and Ramirez wanted to create an urban living room, they had to find a way to stimulate conversation. So they posted encouraging words on the sides of buildings, and created a mailbox where residents could slip suggested discussion topics.

Artist Maria Mazzanti with “DomestiCITY.” (Canal180)

“Many people said that they felt at home, in their living room,” said Mazzanti. “This the best thing.”

(Canal180)
(Canal180)
(Canal180)

H/t: ArchDaily

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of Zurich, Switzerland
    Life

    Death to Livability!

    What does it really mean when certain kinds of cities keep getting ranked as the world’s “most livable”?

  2. A rendering of Quayside, the waterfront development now being planned for Toronto.
    Solutions

    A Big Master Plan for Google's Growing Smart City

    Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs has revealed its master plan for the controversial Quayside waterfront development—and it’s a lot bigger.

  3. A photo of Donald Trump in the Oval Office, with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
    Equity

    Don’t Call Trump’s Housing Order a YIMBY Plan

    The president just signed an executive order calling for states and cities to pursue zoning reform. But affordable housing advocates aren’t celebrating.

  4. Design

    Revisiting Pittsburgh’s Era of Big Plans

    A conversation with the trio of authors behind a new book about the Steel City’s mid-20th-century transformation.

  5. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

×