19 jun. 2011

Slow Down The City

by Chiara Montgomerie

I had the honor to be featured in BDonline.co.uk at the culture blog section. It is a very interesting article about the talk that I did at the V&A last month. I found very interesting and glad to hear her conclusions and connections with architecture. This was the origing of Slow Domo Design (Moderating Technology) to question the evolution of technology and our role as designers in relation with the new programs and social needs will bring more ubiquitous tecno-environments.

Yona Friedman

My last blog post, Urban Palimpsests, questioned the architect’s role in designing spaces for thought and lecture theatres in a city developing in new dimensions through advances in modern technology.

With these thoughts fresh in my mind at the time of the lecture, I was particularly drawn to MA Industrial Design student and Part 2 architecture graduate Curro Perez’s project Slow Domo. The title is a homage to the visionary Situationist architect Yona Friedman’s book Pro Domo.

The Situationists’ vision was that inhabitants of the city could control their immediate environment as a flexible secondary architecture within a primary inflexible superstructure. Yona Friedman likened this to one having the ability to ’move furniture as one wishes within the fixed formal structure of the house’.

Perez’s project likens the second flexible layer of the city, investigated by the Situationsists, to today’s social networking strata. His device acts as a storage device for the inhabitants of future flexible cities that he predicts will be formed by these technologies.

At first I struggled to get my head around why a project commenting on nomadic architecture would culminate in a stationary object. However for those living a life of transience it seems pertinent that the only resting place is that for conscious and reflective thought: that which defines humanity. This is in fact where a lot of Situationist projects fell short in my opinion; a lack of anything permanent.

Perez’s Slow Domo project invites those who feel overwhelmed by the speed of the modern technological world to detach themselves and slow down by locking and sliding their laptop and associated thoughts away within the white plastic portion of the desk structure.

Storing thoughts

During the lecture to accompany the show, I sat and imagined the act of placing physical manifestations of thoughts into this domestic pandora’s box. I realised that the mental process of doing so was made strikingly easier thanks to the contrasting associations one has to timber and white plastic.

Perez’s project reminded me of the brain’s immediate ability to so drastically associate physical or programmatic functions with a particular material.

It made me question whether it is detrimental to the potential growth of our future cities that as architects and designers we are using materials with a predefined functional association. Is this stemming the organic growth of our cities?

To read the rest of this interesting article click here and register on BDonline.co.uk

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