Sillas en Blanco
Barranco, Lima (2013)
We were invited to participate (among other artists) in the Nuit Blanche art festival edition, in the streets of Lima. As architects, we believe in the ability to condition human behaviours through the manipulation of space. However, the main device within Lima’s public space is the bench; fixed, anti-vandalism, determinist, unidirectional, exclusive and hostile.
For the event, we carried out an experiment to test the possibility of opposing these bench characteristics. A chair establishes a different language; mobile, fragile, friendly, multi-purpose. A round of chairs group a common interest, several rows of chairs attend a discourse, chairs in front of a view invite contemplation, isolated pairs of chairs attract couples, chairs aligned to the edge congregate passers-by...and lack of sufficient chairs requires negotiations, shifts or arrangements.
However, they are chairs and they are not fixed, therefore they can move and completely reinvent a space. The user can define their own version of public space. Chairs register the traces of the use of space. Are new formations created? Are they vandalized? Do some shift more than others? How many are stolen? Or are new uses invented? And how rich would this unplanned choreography of chairs be?
Although the experiment was in an open and uncontrollable place, with thousands of passers-by, less than 2% of chairs disappeared. As expected, the chairs gave great flexibility to the space…but completely unexpectedly, the chairs transcended their common use as seating, to become pieces for creation! It is easier now to imagine public spaces in Lima with a permanent installation of chairs. Spaces that shapeshift each time you return to them: perhaps someone transforms the sculpture of chairs that remained from the previous day, as in a cadavre exquis game, or on the other hand popular taste may maintain them in the same arrangement forever. A magnificent ordered disorder.
DESIGN TEAM: César Becerra, Fernando Puente Arnao, Manuel de Rivero with Sara Gagliarini, Marc Samaniego, Eduardo Peláez, Favio Chumpitaz, Fabricio Torres, Karina León, Daniel Aristizabal, Paulo Afonso, Mauricio Gilbonio
SURFACE: 11436m2 (intervention)
LOCATION: Barranco, Lima, Perú
CLIENT: La Noche en Blanco