Contest Submission

CHITTER-CHATTER

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Type of Work: Urban design & exhibition

This project consists of 2 parts, one ephemeral and one sustainable.

  1. chitter-chatter, a temporary exhibition
  2. waassertrap, a permanent urban decoration

1. chitter-chatter

The wash house itself being protected, its walls shall function as gallery space for a temporary exhibition. Through this immersive experience, the visitor is encouraged to dive back in time. While contemplating reproductions of historic washing scenes from this or similar wash houses in the region, one can listen to audio recordings of  washing sounds : splashing water, mechanical noises, singing and chitter-chatter. The walls facing the wash basins may be used to display printed reproductions. They’d need to be illuminated by a single directional spot per image. The wall facing the entrance shall be covered with a blank canvas, serving as screen the projection of a 5- to 10-minute-movie about the location’s animated past.

2. waassertrap

This mosaic staircase is a permanent and sustainable way to add a dash of color in everyday life. The project calls for citizens to participate in the shaping of their urban environment.

The material (ceramic tiles, colored glass and mirrors) may be upcycled from the commune’s stock and construction excess. Citizens are also invited to contribute by donating unused ceramics which shall be integrated into this piece.

Theme : water is running the city

Being attached to the wash house, the main theme is a source of water running down every step, irrigating every part of the city on it’s way : farmland, forests, parks but also industrial, cultural, religious and residential buildings. The theme of this mosaic is running water and everything that comes to life through it. I will start by applying a river / waterfall area. 

That’s where the public comes in : volunteers are invited during a workshop to choose a theme and help illustrate one or more steps by adding shapes of trees, plants, animals, houses or anything else comes to their mind when thinking of running water. Let your imagination loose ! The process to attach the tiles is quite simple. After a  short introduction, it should be accessible to hobbyists and aspiring artists of all ages.

Estimated time: 3 months
Estimated cost: 15000

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5 Responses

  1. Paul what an amazing way to bring this space to life! I love the first approach, I can imagine people going inside the wash house and closing their eyes to listen to all the sounds you described and being taken back in time. But I also love the more permanent take on the brief and the residents having a piece they bring embedded into the staircase!

    1. Kasia, Thank You for your kind words. Feel free to add any suggestions or critic thoughts … yes any feedback is good. And your support is greatly appreciated !

  2. I love the concept of combining a TEMPORARY exhibition with a PERMANENT piece of public art. I only miss a bit a clear CONNECTION between the two.

    1. The connection between the two is in the theme : the wash house used to be fed by a water source. The ceramic staircase’s central part will be a river/waterfall. Residents are invited to add features around this water source. I’m thinking about animals, humans, trees, … anything that benefits from a source of clean water.

    2. Following your comment, I think it would be a good idea to integrate a “making of” of the staircase into the video clip that is projected in the wash house during the temporary exhibition.

      Thanks a lot for your constructive criticism 🙂

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Related Contest Briefing
Clean clothes are an important asset of a modern society. While today thousands of washing machines do their job spread all over town, once the act of washing clothes was an important public event. Mainly women gathered in washing houses even up to the seventies of the last century to wash the clothes for their families – and of course to chat about the latest news in town. The person of the “wash woman” is so archaic that she still lives in our memories and in childrens songs although the chatting today takes more and more place in the digital...
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