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"public space" Tag

Concrete Choreographies

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I have a big love for dance, where space is explored, described, by the moving body. This interest for dance, inspired me to reflect on body, space dance and architecture.

Our bodies are always in a dialogue with their surroundings. Looking at our everyday environment, streets, buildings, its intersections, they shape our movement through the space. Sometimes there are stairs, floors, curves, or slopes, which have more choreographic potential than others, they challenge me to make a certain movement or walk in a different rhythm.

film still from Michelangelo Antonioni’s film ‘l’eclisse’

Choreographers and architects both work with space. Like architecture, a choreography is constructed in a well considered way. The big difference is that a choreography includes the aspect of time, a sequence in its construction, where architecture doesn’t.

‘body/space’, a project by choreographer Krisztina de Châtel

together with the Academy van Bouwkunst Amsterdam.

Myself being a designer I tried to bring these two worlds of dance and architecture closer together, by making a product.

Concrete choreographies, is a series of concrete paving stones, which will encourage people to dance in the streets. Varying in shape, size and surface, every tile is designed to facilitate a specific movement.
With these tiles, building choreography gets materialized. Depending on the paving patterns, the stones will give rise to new choreographies, leading the stroller into a dance where rhythm, repetition, balance, speed, direction and gesture play a part.

photo by Vincent van Gurp

The movements I chose for designing the tiles originate from a personal experience during modern dance class. With these basic movements multiple choreographies are possible.
After mapping and understanding these movements I searched for shapes and finishing, which would serve and even strengthen them.

The size of the tiles, 30×30 cm, fits the grid of existing streets and squares. The used material, concrete, also fits the existing surroundings. But, as a contrast to the straight grid of the street, my tiles have curved forms, which is more fitting the dance and the human body.

With this project I would like to show how interesting moving by foot can become. Now things designed for movement or play in a city, are always for either skaters or children. But why not for someone who is walking outside, and who likes to take a dance path?
With concrete choreographies I try to move people, invite them to see the urban space as a place to dance a little.

Pomme van Hoof is a 2010 graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven dept "Man and well being"

Shield and Shelter

Thursday, July 15, 2010



intuitive fear spaces


Architectorial anxiety.
Can I design a space that uses my experience of fear to design the perfect safe zone? How can I shape a space which gives one freedom and privacy but which is not enclosed?

Shields and Shelter is a design for the grounds of the public bath – Flevoparkbad [link] – in Amsterdam. For the Rietveld graduation exhibition 2010, I realized a 1:1 detail of my design on the lawn behind the Rietveld Academy.


above : a 1:1 detail of my Flevoparkbad design on the lawn behind the Rietveld Academy.


In Shields and Shelter I applied step by step the guidelines that I have developed to achieve safe and comfortable zones using my own fear experiences. These guidelines involve architectural concepts like shielding and view, shadow and light, flexibility versus rigidity. The perfect safe zone to me is a flexible space which gives one freedom and privacy but which is not enclosed. As basis for the design drawings I used an aerial photo from Google Earth of Flevoparkbad. From each towel, I constructed lines of sight from 120° angle views. Through shading these 120° triangles a map emerges with different degrees of surveillance. The darker the area, the more views. At the darkest areas the view must be blocked. Therefore I developed shields, which can be slided along rails that follow the lines of sight. This allows the bathers to adjust their exposure to others according to their own wishes.



tracing the 'feel' zones and the emotion lines and reproducing them in a real situation.


From the jury rapport : Kristin Maurer’s installation outside is a whole new interpretation of space. Space can be created by shadows as well as materials. This is what struck our jury-members. Next to this the technical realization of the work is stunning and therefore our members of the jury wanted to celebrate this piece of work.


etchings at graduation show Kristin_Mauer3


The etchings in the thesis, presented as part of the graduation show, are ground plans of remembered fear spaces. A scheme of lines of sight in train, Kristin Maurer, 2009 [etching]


Pdf-icon Download thesis: Architectural anxiety. the perfect safe zone

Applicable to all aspects of daily life

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If I would come across El Lissitzky’s street decorations today, without knowing what they were, or who they were made by, I’d be wary of calling them decorations.

They just look too much like big paintings.

And calling somebody’s painting “decorative” is usually not good for your relationship with the person.

But that’s what interests me so much about his design for street decorations from 1921: It doesn’t look like any type I have seen before.

I’m actually not sure if the decorations would be terribly effective, the street in the photo does not look particularly festive. Lissitzky’s position seems to be not so much about creating objects that fulfill a purpose in the best possible way, but more about having them embody certain (suprematist) ideals.

It seems to me, that in his street decorations, Lissitzky is not looking for the ideal street decoration, but instead applying his ideals to them.

The Suprematists of whom Lissitzky was part, strived for suprematism as “embracing all aspects of the human spirit”  and thought suprematist forms to be applicable to all aspects of daily life. And you can see this when you look at a sample of Lissitzky’s work put together. It seems he really believed that this style, this way of working, could work for anything.

But there is more to these forms than meets the eye, they follow set standards and, if you know how to “read” them, communicate a clear story. A real form-language if you will. Unfortunately I do not speak this language, or know what the paintings mean, but in Lissitsky’s vision it would be omnipresent, and understood by all.

This really interests me,

is the reason the decorations do not work for me that I do not speak Lissitzky’s language?

Or would they, even if communism had worked out and everyone would understand, still miss something of the festiveness that we associate with street decorations?

I am inclined to think the latter

Bruce Nauman, but not on citizenship.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

As a final post on flaneurship and neon lights in the city landscape, I chose to write about  Bruce Nauman. This might seem confusing, because his works are usually displayed in a gallery or a museum, quite isolated from the busy city environment that was my starting point for the first post.

Nauman made some installations with neon light, some containing text, others consist of images only. I chose these three examples from the mid-eighties (One Hundred Live and Die, 1984, Seven Figures, 1984, Mean Clown Welcome, 1985) for the more or less brutal messages they communicate.  I still don’t know what the medium neon in itself expresses. This needs a more elaborate research. I’ll try to give a short comparison between Nauman’s work and the neons in Vegas. Comparing these two types of neon signs arise questions about this romanticist (yet uncanny) idea of a flaneur who gets sucked into a dreamworld of lights in the city. The common divider between these works of Nauman and for instance the neon signs in Las Vegas is immediacy. Both types of signs are attacking the viewer, but the effects are parallel reversed to one another. Nauman plays with a system of repulsion, while in a competitive commercial context (such as Las Vegas), neon signs would rather be used to evoke attraction. Still, I think both have to do with desire. -naum-8

keyword: neon

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