The third installation of my project for the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Council 2015 in the Atrium of the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels.
The idea of sitting together in a more sociable and friendly way, as one does between friends that work on a common project, is also the idea behind the installation in the Atrium of the Justus Lipsius building (see previous post ‘Presidency of the European Council design project – part 2’ ). The visitors are invited to claim the space and to move the deckchairs around by reconfiguring them as they wish.
The 28 deckchairs bring together in a proportionate yet abstract manner all the colours of the flags of the 28 Member States – by collecting & rejigging these colours into a new composition which was then printed onto the fabric in a ‘traditional stripey way’. Everybody will be able to find their ‘own’ specific colours within a collectif colour scheme.
The deckchairs also refer to the poetic image of time spent with family and friends, which for many Luxembourgers, means past holidays spent at the Belgian coast – a nod also to Belgium, the country with which Luxembourg has close links, and which houses the Council.
Client: Ministère de la Culture
Graphic artwork: Laurent Daubach
Double-click on the image to zoom
Additional information on the project can be found here:
The Presidency campfire meeting room, for the Luxembourg presidency of the European Council
By analysing the usually conventional set-up of meeting rooms for diplomats & heads of state one thing becomes clear, there is always a certain distance between the individual seatings – not too close and yet not too far away from your interlocutor. On this occasion I was able to challenge this status quo by creating a space where everybody had to decide for himself how close he or she wants to sit in relation to their interlocutor (and how good a friend he or she really is).
The ‘campfire’ is a space for people that share a common project & a common cause. A place where you can sit all night talking to friends, sorting out differences and coming out with a stronger bond… even if that looks like a difficult thing to achieve at this moment in time.
For the luxembourgish Presidency of the European Council from 01.07 – 31.12.2015 the Ministry of Culture has commissioned me to design three spaces in the Justus Lipsius building of the Council of Europe in Brussels.
This part of the project consists of an curiosity cabinet made from 45 individual front or back-lit boxes. The cabinet shows a more unusual side of luxembougish history & culture, mixing together an apparent random selection of oddities and stories from past and present. One of the aims was to focus on the people (artists, writers, film makers, cooks, engineers & inventors) but also institutions, industries & customs that contribute to the fabric of the country, showing a side that would be little known outside its borders.
The content has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of culture and a booklet has also been produced to help the baffled visitors to understand the slightly obscure images & objects.
Last but not least, luxembourgish artists Paul Kirps and Filip Markiewicz have also produced specific artworks for the cabinet.
Further to my recent design & customisation project of the new bus shelter for the city of Luxembourg I have been asked to develop a graphic charta & system to integrate the city wide bus network into the existing Luxembourg city map. The political aim was to make the complex bus network more user-friendly and comprehensive for visitors that are not familiar with the network, thereby encouraging the use of public transport.
Together with the AVL (Luxembourg-city bus services) & graphic design company Monopolka we have developed a graphic charta with very constraint rules & guidelines to make both network and city map work well together.
As a base the city wanted to use a topographically accurate map (based on the local ordnance survey type map) as its used by all internal services and is updated automatically when changes are made anywhere within the city. Based on that system and with our graphic manual they are free to update their public transport map internally, without relying on external contractors and without disabling rights-of-use for the map.
Last but not least, unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to re-design the bus network diagram on the top left corner of the first image below. Something that has been of much debate in recent weeks in Luxembourg… But hey, it’s never too late.
Paul Smith shop in Albemarle Street, central London designed by 6a architects
A fantastic example on how to integrate a contemporary shop front design into a heritage environment, without resorting to pastiche. The intricacy of the contemporary cast iron panels & railings marries the texture of the old facade, making both old and new stand out.
3 dimensional signage rarely works, unless you have a distinct layout or feature in the area – as it is the case on the Golden Lane Estate in London with the Great Arthur House. Despite a slightly unfortunate implementation this original cast iron signage seems timeless, has weathered well and is astonishingly clear.
Conventional tables and chairs wouldn’t have worked that well for the terrasse of my local hangout. The cultural centre Carrérotondes in Luxembourg, with its concerts, exhibitions, kids theatres and parties required a flexible way of sitting (and drinking). The Lego principle gives plenty of options on how to configure the modules, leaving it up to the user and the moment to choose how to use them.
Materials: Custom designed male & female rubber connectors combined with water resistant low-cost plywood.
Anybody who lives in London knows the difference between mediocre and fine public transport design. The classy post-war route master got replaced 10 years ago by terrible double decker buses made from cheap materials, ugly colours and a few poor ‘design’ elements until the once again beautiful and specially for London designed new route master finally made it in large numbers onto the streets last year or so.
The new route master (designed by Thomas Heatherwick) shows that good design can make all the difference in the experience of traveling on public transport. Besides the important iconic outside design and the fuel efficient engine my point is that beautiful detailing and good quality finishes are also essentiel.
Especially in cities where the private car usage is still an option (like in Luxembourg, where I’m from) and where you want to get people out of their own cars you have to create an alternative that is not only faster, cheaper and more ecological but it also needs to be a beautiful ride. If the public transport experience is mediocre because of poorly designed interiors & exteriors (with maybe some customised colour scheme if you are lucky), then people will still want to use their own cars..
Designed for outdoor spaces like nature reserves, parks & forests, this seating range is composed of large & chunky shapes with very simple profiles. The large – single piece – wood parts are made from locally sourced oak trunks with a simply sawn finish to resist weathering and vandalism. Due to its thickness, the wood can be sanded down if damaged but can also happily live with the added texture.
The wood profiles and tubular powder coated steel tubes are both an integral part of the structure and form objects with a strong visual contrast between natural and man made materials. The simple & sculptural shapes should integrate well in natural environments, yet stand out enough to be noticed for its quality.
The City of Luxembourg commissioned us to develop an furniture and colour guidance manual for the terrasses on one of it’s most prestigious squares in the city centre. After many years of wild west behavior of the restaurants and cafés, using mostly cheap looking plastic furniture, branded umbrellas, primary colours and endless clutter the city wanted to clean up.
The new scheme, involving a selection of muted colours and more attractive furniture typologies has now been implemented, giving the square a more dignified and calm appearance while focusing on the quality of the space, the trees and the architecture.
One of press critics wrote at the time that we want to take colour and life out of the City, thankfully the chap in his all red training outfit plus hat has turned-up on my photo (on the right) to prove that it is not furniture & umbrellas that are creating a colourful city life!