Phase 3b. S.A Knowledge Institute. Design.

portadasan anton

A new design to promote the project, San Antón Knowledge Institute, comes to the neighborhood and a itinerant  intervention, do it aswell outside the “walls” of San Antón.


At the beggining on this Phase I would like to reformulate the main objetive to aim. Leaving apart the project explained on Phase 3a, the one with the “Motherfood”, prepared and managed by the own housewives of San Antón (S.A.), the goal to achieve with the design Phase, would be :

Advertise properly S.A. showing its opportunities and giving a new image outside the neighborhood, in order to make possible the project formulted in previous Phases.

This objetive is crucial in our case of study. The neighborhood, as we analysed, has lack of accesibility because of its morphological placement, and there is not too much chances that people from outside S.A. pass through the intervention, despite of it’s huge or not.  That’s the reason for any project, isolated or not, MUST be advertised outside the “walls” of the own neighborhood.


Looking for a new solution, in a design concept, that go further than obvious design , the one showed in Phase 3a ,  the way to advertise S.A had to be more complex and specific.  Regarding back, the old design had nothing in common with the own neighborhood, it could be used in any neighborhood around the world and nobody would have cared. The identity and the design element were not in armony at all.


The reality must be more complex  , and the identity of the neighborhood MUST COINCIDE with the design element and MUST response to six relations between the context and the element itself.  The common four ( social, economical, cultural and environmental) and two added, the real identity of S.A and the possibility of working in several ways, detaching it and creating variety of proposals.


Going back to previous Phases ,as the infography (Ph.2), we could see some features that difference San Antón to other neighborhoods.  S.A. still behave as a small village in the city, doing life on street basically, and looking for this design element that could work, this appropiation of public space showed the solution.

Using home chairs as design element. Apart for being identifiable as identity of the neighborhood, it also response to the relations considered before.


sillascalle1-01sillascalle3-01 sillascalle2-01

Examples of appropiation of public space in San Antón.





When the element has been defined, consulting some references was the best way in order to set our own design, studying them and seeing how and why had worked in other contexts.


Jeppe Hein takes this convention and adds a series of twists, turns and inversions to create something new and interactive that plays on our sense of the familiar as well as our curiosity about the exotic. These “Modified Social Benches” show that the fun theory might be a good strategy to follow in order to create interaction between people.


Approaching more to our element of design, we can find some installations that can be used to create a new image and identity, or showing as sculptures in the case of Nendo in a London museum or Beth Baker. So the color and shocking desing  or placement also works to create surprise or curiosity, and as a result identity and interest.


Other cases as Mecedorama, creates desing icon, appears as series  only by using rocking chairs  or Yvonne Fehling an artist who works with almost one piece wood, making continous benchs with deconstructed chairs.

(More references at the end of the post)


Summing up, the desing must contain enough visual power to create identity and attention to promote properly the project. Apart for that, must response to previous features already mentioned. That’s how the “Movable bench” is proposed as urban attractor. A cathalogue would be created to response to different situations and number of people as users.


A number N of old chairs, are deconstructed, to be attached to a smooth wood table ( railway wood beams might be considered  if can be provided for less cost), creating different situations by how the chairs are placed ( in a row, confronted, in L shape, etc..). Furthermore a thin steel frame with a wheel is attached below  in order to easy the transport around the city for working as advertisment of the whole project.

The desing answer then the four aspects.

Social : the different designs cause personal encounters and interaction between the users. They also create interest and approachment, using the movable feature as a powerful element of design, and attention for seeing this “benchs” all around the city.

Cultural: the design come on behalf of the identity of S.A, home chairs invading the public space, representing the street life on S.A and indirectly regarding the lack of public space in the city and acting like a controversial design aswell.

Economical: is based on a low cost design. Besides most of the work can be constructed by the own neighbors  and their different trades ( Paco the carpenter for example). This can also be seen as social aspect, creating activity and interaction between the participants inside the own  neighborhood.

Environmental : the use of recycled materials are used in all designs,  donated, second hand chairs or even abandonded.  The desing accept the whole deconstruction of the chair, meaning that it can be used just the legs  of one chair and the back of another. ( see example in the model)

sillas abandonadas final-01Stranded chairs in the own neighborhood 100% reusables for the movable benchs.


These are different designs of movable benchs that can be constructed. The design allows practically everything. ( click to enlarge)

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Apart from this different possibilities, the creation of a brand intself of the project is  a  must be. The chairs would be painted from each color of the workshop that is advertising. Yellow for cook, red for arts/crafts, and blue from building activities.

These three colors were selected in the previous Phase.


Analyzing other cases of branding, we realised the importance of creating a identity for itself, a recognizbale icon for the project. These are some examples of branding in food projects and furniture companies :


Julian “Neighborfood” project in Kansas City ( U.S.A.)

comparacion_hotbread  HBK_Seeds_620HBK_Group1_620

Hot Bread Kitchen, a social bakery in New York (U.S.A.) which gives work to inmigrants.

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A restaurant in San Antón Market, Chueca, creates “heroes” as characters to promote its brand.

Seeing this last example, the project needs clearly some characters identifiables who give an image outside the neighborhood. And what better characters that the own neighbors who participate in the project and the workshops. The neighbors are the heroes of the project.

So, as a result, wil be showed the differents trades and jobs inside S.A, for promoting for example the “Motherfood” project, a housewive would give her image to create the silhouette which will be moved around the city.


About this topics it’s been several cases around advertising publicity, as the “We can do it!” campaign in USA in 1943 by J.Howard Miller  for propagandistic purposes in WWII and as a reclaim of housewife enpowerment. It has also been a iconic design for female working recognition.


Our housewives image would be this kind of recognition, maybe not as photographic images, just silhouettes, leaving apart any feminist controversial the brand would might create.

Other ideas would be to place in this shapes, more info about the project, name of participants, commerces you can find  in the neighborhood,  the place and days when the workshops would be celebrated, the location of the motherfood store, some infographic data about S.A, etc…



(01).The movable benches would have first a moving around phase around the sorroundings. These will be placed on the most passed through places around S.A in a ratio of 5 minute walking. This phase would be use to cause attention and interest about the project, and the information as said, would be on the own silhouttes. Apart from that, a website/blog , for internet diffussion wouldn’t be a bad idea. The duration for this phase would be between 2 and 4 weeks.

Another considered option would be placing the benchs on the front door of “collaborating” bars. The bars who collaborate with the Motherfood project, the only thing they’d have to do is borrowing some old chairs for the project, and letting the movable benchs to be placed on its terraces. As compensation they would have priority on the live-stands-cooking in the project ( see Phase 3a). Publicity on the silhouettes would be also an extra for them.

ratio isocronas-01The twelve places where the movable bench would be placed as a advertisment for the project.

(02). The Motherfood project starts on a local near the stairs of S.A.  The Municipal Housing Board has at least two small locals to let us for our project (?). ( For more detail about the management of the Motherfood project see Phase 3a).

(03).  The refurbishing of the stairs on the top on S.A ( C/Olvido at first). The plots would be clean and conditioned. Besides fixed bench intervention would take placed following one side of the stairs, and the movable benchs would be placed faced off , creating different situations  as public space for the neighbors. This  urban “intervention” would be use as terrace for the food-local opened in phase (02).

FASES-01Summary on the phases of the movable benchs and the food-local opening .



The image shows the final image of C/Olvido, after cleaning and fencing around the empty plots. The continous benchs will be attached to one façade, respecting the gaps left by doors, entrances and windows. Besides the movable benchs explained in point 4. will be added creating  a different full of possible urban situations. Other deconstructed chairs will be displayed on the top façades, using them as shelf for flowerpots.


 The housewives: the main part of the food project. They collaborate with their knowledge in change of a salary per week ( see phase 3a). Apart they give their image for advertising the project. Their interest would be ecomical as said, cultural and social with their food- recipes and for giving lessons in stand-live cook.

 Bars/Food commerces: they collaborate with the food project by donating old chairs and by letting the movable benchs to stay in their front doors as billboards for the whole project. They would be benefactors for having preference in live-cooking inside the store food, apart for recieving publicity reciprocally.

 Imagen Urbana & City Council :  the economic part of the project, and one of the most important agent. Their approval for beggining the project would be the spark for doing it.

 University Students: the co-workers with the neighborhood for making the project real. Apart for the designing problems they would care about the construction of all the interventions, moving around, and the paperwork.

 Neighbors of own S.A.: their collaboration wil be indispensable. They are the heroes as mentioned above. They make the project possible with their knowledge of different trades and their free publication around. Their donation of old chairs, as other collaborations , will be welcome.

 Visitors from outside S.A.: their attention will be gain in the moving around benches phase. After that with their interest, and visits to the neighborhood will continue  the project in a economic, social and cultural way.



m13 m1 m2 m10

See more pictures :

See process of construction :



Rethink the design of the final image as a convertible/adaptable design. If the fixed benchs are  detachable at 100% they can me moved to other places, not necesary on stairs but flat floor, and use them to reactivate degradated areas.

Another position would be to consider acting in other part of the neighborhood. Despite the sidewalk of S.A is really really narrow, this apparently negative condition, can be  transformed in positive for a future design. Can be a play between the public and private to see where , when and the most important, how to proceed. A very good example of this ” fight”  looking for this strategies of occupation would be the architect Santiago Cirugeda.


Google hotel finder ( isochrones)


Slides presentantion final:

Previous works (23/01/2014):


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