CINEMA 2.5

In the last two and a half years, we had the great chance to work on the European project CINEMA (Interreg Danube Transnational Program). The huge challenge of generating ideas for the beneficial transformation of a central area in Gabrovo through the involvement of creative industries was accompanied by upgrading knowledge, long-term partnerships and networks of contacts and testing the possibilities of public-private partnerships. At the very end of the project, we make a brief overview of the success stories, approaches and results and what we bequeath to District 6, Gabrovo for the near future.

A WELL FUNCTIONING NETWORK OF PARTNERSHIPS

The CINEMA project gathered over 50 participants from 22 partner organizations from 8 countries with different professional profiles – municipalities, enterprises, business support structures, creatives and academic circles. We have been through a lot together – from the first wave of Covid-19 with remote working meetings and online events, to intensive seminars, sharing experience and knowledge live in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Košice (Slovakia), Timisoara and Resita (Romania). We will certainly keep in touch in the future and look for opportunities to collaborate once again. In a national context, we strengthened the fruitful and excellent relations with the Municipality of Gabrovo, proving that the public-private approach in such large initiatives is the way forward for successful interventions and sustainable development processes of the urban environment.

CONCEPTS AND INSTRUMENTS

The challenge to find and test suitable solutions for the revitalisation of dilapidated sites in inner city areas with the help of the creative industries resulted in a package of 20 tools, policy briefs, videos, guidelines and road maps etc., as well as new contacts in municipalities and government organisations that contribute to the project’s results being sustainable and transferable over time.

DEVELOPMENT OF DISTRICT 6  

In cooperation with the Gabrovo Municipality team, we launched a series of processes to awaken the neighborhood’s potential. After extensively researching locations, businesses, stakeholders, brainstorming and engaging various collaborators, together we successfully implemented and tested tools (the voucher system tool and the culture cooperation tool) which brought attention to the District 6 and three new businesses . Our work has been repeatedly presented to institutions and various organizations with local and international influence. The challenge for the future development of District 6 was set as one of the five tasks at Gabrovo Innovation Camp, and the suggested concept was accepted by the mayor of Gabrovo as a realistic and possible one for application in the municipal policy in the next six years.

We thank our partners, stakeholders and colleagues for their participation, support, interest and contribution in the last years.

TRANSFORMING DISTRICT 6

The European project CINEMA, in which, together with 16 other partners from 8 countries, we are looking for solutions for the transformation and revitalisation of abandoned central urban areas through the power of the creative industries, is entering its last and most active stage. Together with the Municipality of Gabrovo we are working on the development of the District 6. This is the oldest neighbourhood of the city, which has been at the heart of Gabrovo for centuries. The place has a huge potential to become a vibrant and valuable spot for all locals and visitors.

An important step forward in the implementation of the project is the recently announced by Gabrovo Municipalityopen call for the lease of four sites in District 6 through a public-private partnership. The initiative is in support of business and creative activities. Each location has its own distinctive look – two of them bear the marks of authentic Revival architecture, and the others are clean and with generous facades. Their biggest advantage is the opportunity to be part of a transformation of the city centre and turn them into active and lively spots.

The open call aims to select proposals for sustainable use of the four sites in District 6 for a period of two years. Applicants are invited to use the premises for small business, retail, creative activities, creating services and products specific to the creative industries, studios, offices, galleries and more. The requirement for them is to fill in a participation form in which to present their business, to sign a lease agreement and to start operations no later than September 30, 2022. The winners will be signing partnership agreements with the Municipality of Gabrovo, through which they will receive free consultations of choice on marketing activities and advertising, website and online store development, interior design or window layout.

One-year incentives are provided for all start-ups. These include free parking in the paid area of District 6, free internet, membership in the Gabrovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a one-time service of up to BGN 100, distribution of advertising materials from the Tourist Information Center, promotion of business through the channels of the Municipality of Gabrovo.

Applications for the call are accepted until January 31, 2022 by e-mail projects@gabrovo.bg. See full information about the four locations and download the application documents here. Let’s transform District 6 together!

THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

Everything in life is designed according to someone’s vision for improving our lifestyle – home appliances, clothing, accessories and shoes, public and commercial spaces, mobile devices, applications and web sites. It is inconceivable to separate the present from the ubiquitous influence of design. Since when does the utilitarian and applied discipline attract so much attention, generate extreme opinions and put label of quality? Who determines what are the signs of good or bad design? Who decides what to preserve in our collective memory about the aesthetics, function and message we constantly handle and accept as the backdrop of the environment?

Design museums attempt to make order in these queries by presenting complex historical occurrences and doubtful future prognosis, by elaborating on both the origin of the laundry clip, the sign @ and the emoticons. Back in 1852 Victoria & Albert Museum mark the beginning of the design museums by establishing itself as the world’s first museum of applied art, founded as an attempt to collect wealth and demonstrate the progress of the British Empire after the Industrial Revolution. At the beginning of the 20th century, similar institutions appeared in different parts of the world, whose activities and programs sought knowledge of product, industrial, graphic, fashion, social design, architecture and others. There is currently a wave of new design museums, set in impressive and iconic buildings with characteristic collections that criticize trends through bold formats and invite visitors to know more about the subtle nuances of the discipline – such as the Museu del Disseny (Barcelona), the Design Museum Holon (Israel), OCT Design Museum (Shen Shan), M + (Hong Kong), 21_21 Design Sight (Tokyo) and others.

The Design Museum in London is a valuable navigation light among the vast amount of information about the history, the present and the future of design. Founded in 1989 by Sir Terrance Conran in a white three-story building on the banks of the River Thames, at the end of 2016 the museum moved to the renovated by architect John Pawson building of the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington.

Deyan Sudjic is director of the Design Museum since 2006. Born and raised in London, the direct Balkan association in the name comes as a legacy of his parents – immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. Sudjic studied architecture at the University of Edinburgh, but his commitment to the discipline subsequently shifted entirely to writing and curatorial activities. Sudjic’s career covers journalism, teaching and writing. Highlights include Glasgow’s 1999 annual initiative: UK City of Architecture and Design, curator of the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2002), editor of Domus Magazine (2000-2004) and author of design and architecture books, which have become indispensable references (The Language of Things, The Language of Cities, B Is for Bauhaus and many others).

As creators of the series DESIGN IS for Generator, we were honoured to have Mr. Sudjic for a live lecture on the future of design. Below are some the themes he touched upon in his analysis of the various aspects of the discipline.

On the subject of design:

Design is not a thing, it’s a method and it’s a lens to understand the world around us.

When the design museum was first launched back in the 1980s, you could have charted the history of industrial design through a selection of well chose chairs,  starting with the first industrially proiduced pieces in bentwood made by Thonet in Austria, then a tubular steel cantilever from Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus, maybe  an Alvar Aalto in laminated plywood, a Charles Eames lounge chair, a plastic inection moulded chair from Joe Colombo, and so on. They would tell a technological and an aesthetic story, and though its not  primarily a story about taste, they would also make it clear that “function” is a much more complicated idea than simple utility, comfort is not an objective quality, it is influence by how things look, the associations that certain shapes and colours have.

Since those days, design is more and more about non material things. The smart phone has abolished the camera, the music player, the GPS, the tape recorder, the map, the book, the book shelf, and the book store, the alarm clock. A software upgrade can have the effect of creating an entirely new appliance.

There are also fluctuations in how designers see themselves,. When I was very young, people read Victor Papanek, who as violently opposed to design as a marketing tool used to persuade us to buy stuff we did not need, Then we had the emergence of the  superstar designer, whose signature alone was presumed to justify the price, and now another generation see papanek as a hero, hate the idea of consumerism, see design as a social project, or a critical one, and understand design as much a matter of asking questions as of answering them. What interests me at the moment is the idea of the home, We see it as a permanent, solid unchanging place that allows us to be ourselves, but in fact it is changing as fast as every other aspects of out lobes.

On new technologies:

Amazon has transformed the way that we consume, killing off a lot of shopping malls and department stores, and it is also inviting use to allow total strangers into our homes using digital locks to make deliveried direct to our refrigerates, through Alexa and the Echo voice recognition system it has started the beginning of the end of the key board as the prime ey that we interface with the digital world, potentially as huge a development as the smart phone.

And the pace of change is accelerating,  Facebook’s hеadquarters in Silicon Valley is in a building that once housed the hq of Sun Microsystems, a company that, like so many tech companies was started by Stanford graduate students,  but from an earlier generation, the 1980s. Sun grew into a huge international company with tens of thousands of employees, built is building not much more than a dozen years ago, then vanished,. Facebook’s designers treated it like a relic from the industrial revolution and trashed it.

Meanwhile the work place is looking more and more like the domestic world. The new silicon valley offices are full of pool tables  and sofas, and kitchen tables and chairs that don’t match.

Social media have abolished the idea of privacy, and in some ways pushed us back into the middle ages with twitter acting as a kind of digital lynch mob.

 

On the future of design:

I  always remember the remark once made by Buckminster Fuller, the maverick American engineer, inventor and home spun philosopher best known for the geodesic dome, “the best way to predict the future is to design it yourself” I am not sure that Fuller always got things right – his three wheel Dymaxion Car was an instant failure when it  crashed into a pedestrian on its launch at the Chicago Worlds Fair. One person who certainly designed the future was Steve Jobs, but even he, just eleven years ago when he launched the first Apple Smart Phone could not, I think have predicted how that one pocket sized object was going to change everything, Without the smart phone there would be no Uber, , no Tinder no AirBnB  They have transformed the way that we fall in love, how we navigate the city, and the character of entire cities. Barcelona, New York and San Francisco are all horrified at the impact on rents caused by the way.

About the role of the design museum:

The design museum in London sees its role as showing everyone the value of design, we have built a large audience: one million people have visited us since we opened in november 2016,  we stage exhibitions that range from the fashion of Azzedine Alaia, to the design of the Ferrari.

We communicate through our temporary exhibtions, we are careful about what we collect, because for us we want to be able to show them, not to hide them in a vault, A collection is costly to maintain and archive, and since we are  private charity rather than a state supported institution we have to be careful about how we use our resources.

A lot of people are opening museums about: Barcelona, Shenzen, for example, Until now, design has had a presence  in museums either as a department in big general museums, or else as small and specialst. What we see now is a sense that design is as much a part of the wider cultural landscape as art.

Generator

After more than two years of working on a concept with a focus on design, where diverse teams combine skills, professional experience and dreams, we are happy and proud to share that it is already a fact. A few days ago, we opened Generator – center for design, innovation, culture and creativity in Sofia, located on 300 square meters on the top floor of the Vitosha factory in central Sofia.

The space will offer self-initiated projects and carefully curated program, it will be a field of experiments and collaborations, hosting a library, a café, offering office surfing or renting. Everyone is welcome to come up with an idea or just visit us. From September – we will have fixed working hours and a working web site (fingers crossed). Until then – you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

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<photos: Under The Line>

The beginning: Motivated by the desire to expand our work and contribute more fully to the relationship between the creative industry and the business and public sector, we, Studio Komplekt, Creative Shower, Martin Zaimov and Ioanna Mitova (metta) joined forces in this partnership to have a stronger impact and realise some of our wildest professional dreams.

The place: In place of a former tailoring workshop, architect Iva Platikanova managed to create an interior that is comfortably adaptable to the needs of the program and flexible to the requirements of future visitors. The team of SKLADA (bar and the space around it), DontDIY (desks), Cactus Lab (green area), Artelie (exhibition details), and others, contributed to the process. We are hosting Design Bookery, which will continue to develop and enrich with new editions and magazines thanks to our mutual efforts with Next DC. We are proud that even before the start, IKEA trusted and supported the furnishing of the space, and we are already working on collaborative initiatives to reveal more from the lab and the “behind-the-scenes” processes of the largest furniture maker (studies, collaborations, experiments, environment, health, new materials, social, etc.). The ecosystem of the Vitosha factory – from our neighbours (White Place Studio, Harmonica, Puzl) to all new ones – is a serious argument for our positioning here.

Design as the guiding light: Generator is a field for meaningful experiments and new adventures. The design and its applications to solve different challenges is leading in shaping the program, developing projects and planning our collaborations. Generator is open to like-minded people, to open discussions and expand views on the world, and turn one form of energy, ability or talent into another, be it practical or inspiring one.

Before the summer vacations: We are launching with some seriously engaging and good quality program. Check it below:

 

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Know-How/ Show-How Podium – The building as a material

2 – 2:30 p.m. / Welcome coffee and registration
2:30 p.m.- Official opening and Introduction by the moderators – Adriana Andreeva and Boyana Gyaurova (Studio Komplekt)
2:45 p.m.- “Material resource efficiency in construction” / Dr. Rumyana Zaharieva, Associate Professor at UACEG, Sofia
3:30 p.m.- “Fail” / Georgi Manassiev (BG) and Els Woldhek (NL) Studio ODD MATTER, Amsterdam
4:15 p.m.- “Earth construction: Materials, techniques and building maintenance”/Varvara Valtchanova, architect Zemnostroitelstvo
5 p.m. – coffee break
5:30 p.m. – “Тhe emergence of form“/ Maria Blaisse (NL), research and education in textiles and flexible design Maria Blaisse, (NL)
6:15 p.m.- “Slow research: particle and universe” / Carolyn F. Strauss (USA/NL), curator and educator Slow Research Lab
7 p.m – / Creative discussion with all participants

 

 

 

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Daniel Charny is our first guest speaker in the public series of meetings with respected design innovators from around the world called DESIGN IS and inaugurated by Generator.

The format reveals the various aspects of the discipline and how it supports a better quality of life. Through lectures, exhibitions and workshops, both professional and general public have the opportunity to learn more about important stages of historical evolvement of the discipline, its remarkable revolutionaries, contemporary implementations, bold and imaginative experiments, ethical and sustainable trends, upcoming innovations and more. The format DESIGN IS encourages the creative process and the development of a more meaningful future that we all want to be a part of.

* Supported by the platform PROTOTYPE – developed and hosted by Societe Generale Expressbank Bulgaria.

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WATER CULTURE: RESOURCES is a long-term initiative by Generator for deconstruction and research of important natural resources of the city. WATER CULTURE is the first project on the topic, which aims to inform and provide solutions for a fuller and more conscious use of the mineral springs in Sofia. How can these springs be used, why a large part of them spill into the canal and remain unused, where they are at all, who is responsible for them, what their potential is for balneology and tourism. These will be part of the questions we will ask during WATER CULTURE. We will look at the plausible answers together. The project is divided into several parts and the first one is DECONSTRUCTION “WATER” (information event) on Thursday, 20.07.2017 from 17.30 to 20.30. More info тук.

Тhe new museum

There are international standards how to develop art institutions in order to attract broader public. There are also local specifics that need to be taken into account. The intersection between these two positions might be a successful formula for a vital and perspective museum, gallery or art center. Go small! Big institutions are remnants of the past.”

Maria Vassileva (curator)

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The above words come as a reaction to a most prolific and interesting discussion organised on the occasion of the visit of Pedro Gadanho in Sofia, where he delivered a lecture on the new role of the museum and the challenges it faces in terms of programming, education, audience and marketing and communication. Тhe meeting with local culture activists happened as a leisure breakfast lead by us, Studio Komplekt.

Pedro Gadanho is an architect, curator and writer. For four years he was a curator in the Department of Architecture and Design in MoMA, before quitting the job and becoming the first director of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology  in Lisbon, Portugal – MAAT. He aims to turn the museum into a place with a unique space for exhibitions and collaborations, events, educational programs and other diverse activities.

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We were most honoured to meet Pedro Gadanho in person and listen to his insightful stories. Through his personal experience he touched upon such pertinent and interesting topics as grabbing opportunities in the independent cultural sector, starting an ambitious new museum and turning it into more than an exhibition space and keeping the audience coming through strong and interactive content but also through a landmark architecture point in the city.

The discussion turned out to be a dynamic and engaging one also due to the participation of such bright minds like: Architect Aneta Vassileva (WhAT Association), Architect Angel Zahariev (Grupa Grad), Velislava Popova (editor in chief, DNEVNIK daily), Vessela Gertcheva (Program and exhibitions director, Muzeiko), Architect Ina Vulkanova, Kalina Zhuleva (clinical psychologist and design thinking lecturer, Generator), Architect Mariana Sarbova, Maria Vassileva (curator), Sevdelina Voynova (program director, Sofia Development Association), Zornitsa Mitkova (public relations).

Content: Adriana Andreeva and Boiana Gjaurova, Studio Komplekt (journalists, curators, cultural managers)

Organization: Zornitsa Mitkova (public relations) 

Photography and Editing: Ilian Ruzhin

Sound design and mixing: Yordan Markov

Music: BenSound

Special thanks to: architect Ina Vulkanova, the Embassy of Portugal in Bulgaria and Instituto Camões Sofia

The podcast is available –> here.

ATELIER BOW-WOW

On the occasion of the ninth edition of the international festival One Architecture Week, we reviewed the work of the prolific and renowned architecture practice Atelier Bow-Wow for our column at Capital Light. One of the founders – Momoyo Kaijima – gives a minimal interview before coming to Plovdiv:

 

> Where did the name Bow-Wow come from?
We like a dog.

> What is architecture to you?
Life and culture.

> What are you seeking to invest in your work?
Life and culture in the society

> Most people do not consider architecture very deeply, or at all. How can the work of architects trigger the establishment of criteria in order to appreciate and understand better what we are looking at or the conditions of our living environment?
Reading of architecture and finding the meaning.

> In the context of the topic of the ninth edition of One Architecture Week () what are some of your observations and experience on activating the potential of the citizens?
Commonalities.

> What is one plausible future scenario for the Plattenbau?
It is different meanings in the context.

> What are you curious about to see/learn when in Plovdiv?
All.

> Who are some of your heroes and inspirations in architecture right now?
Machiya and Minka with life.

> Books you’d always recommend to an architect or architect-lover?
Commonalities by Atelier Bow-Wow!

> If you put any preconceptions out of your mind, what do you think will be your spontaneous thought on the value and purpose of the discipline, what will you be willing to do next (as a building, exhibition, publication, etc)?
Fisherman village and forest.

Best,
Momoyo

ACTION! Towards a neighbourhood practice

One Architecture Week celebrates its ninth edition this October with a strongly built program and diverse formats, some of which will remain as a permanent intervention after the end of the event. The international festival dedicated to architecture and urban environment follows the practice from the previous two years, in which the main theme is focused on a certain place – Kapana (2014.) and the River (2015.).  The director of OAW Ljubo Georgiev decided in 2016 to concentrate the program in the third largest district in the country – Trakiya, Plovdiv. The Romanian studioBASAR is the curatorial team. The preliminary preparation of the event included site-specific research and non-formal conversations with the residents of the neighbourhood about their views and needs, extensive studies on historical facts related to “panelki” and the involvement of the local people in cultivation of their personal and public spaces as a shared responsibility and revealing the potential of architecture as an activator for a more comfortable, intelligent and beautiful way of living.

The program is targeted to support the motto ACTION! Towards a neighbourhood practice and is quite diverse and interesting; here we select a few suggestions not to miss while in Plovdiv and Trakiya neighbourhood:

— the exhibition LIVING SPACES;

<<30% of the population of Bulgaria lives in panelki. Constructed en masse, the concrete residences gained a reputation for monotony and lifelessness. The neighbourhood of Trakiya, designed in the 1970s, attempted to differentiate. The architects experimented based on their ideas of social living, stepping the blocks, and placing them in organic configurations  to create contrast and a sense of individuality. The inhabitants moved in eagerly, carrying with them their own ideas of living. The small apartment boxes were quickly filled, and the transformations seeped beyond their walls. The balconies pushed out and were glazed in, becoming kitchens, kids rooms and bedrooms, layering them with sun blocking fabrics, foils, lace, solar panels and parasols. The facades started reading like a patchwork, as the people living within expressed themselves. Around the blocks, neighbours planted gardens together and built structures for gathering with any materials they could find. Led by ideas of ownership, individuality and the changing needs of everyday life they created, and continue to create their own living spaces.>>

permanent interventions: one of the best side-effects of organising the event in Trakiya neighbourhood is the chance of approaching its people and engaging them into the creation of playgrounds or common places to gather and relax; the permanent structures were designed by several international studios after a brief based on numerous conversations with the locals and their needs;

— the book Almanac of Prefab Trakiya

— the interactive map 30 Locations in Trakiya

— for the first time in the festival’s history a documentary has been shot featuring a conversation between some of the architects who were working on the building of Trakiya – Do You Know the Architects?

forum: even though each one of the invited speakers has certainly an inspiring story to share, it is Momoyo Kaijima(Atelier Bow-Wow) and Jan Gehl who are the most prominent and well-known stars.

One Architecture Week has all the prerequisites to be a most formidable and meaningful event.