Interesting post about the European.street.design.Challenge via ArthurDesign (+)
The European Street Design Challenge workshop started by some conferences in the PICNIC area to share with us Paris and Amsterdam’s vision of creativity and to explain us the schedule of the three coming days. We then went in the Waag Society which is settled in a castle in the Red Light District and which hosted us for the whole workshop.
As soon as everyone was ready we jumped into what we believe was the first thing to do: understanding the people and the area.
Tourists represent a major part of what the area is, therefore we first walked in the Red Light District of Amsterdam to understand what we feel as tourists when going around with not much information about the area.
To compare our feelings we mapped where we felt good and/or bad in the district and we discussed why.
We then listened and discussed with Birgit Büchner (see right picture), Project manager for Museum Our Lord in the Attic and Henny Tinga from the Salvation Army who gave us an historical and cultural point of view of the area. They also shared with us some problems they encounter everyday in the Red Light District such as the number of tourists in the street, the noise they generate and the fact that they don’t see the treasure of the area.
To have different points of view of the district we went down in the street and talked to people: waiters, bartenders, massage shop owners, inhabitants, etc. After speaking with many people we came up with one new conclusion: some people feel like this place is the best ever!
After having these keys to see the district from different points of view, we all went downtown again and indeed, we saw all these old buildings and we were especially astonished by the beautiful view you have from all bridges crossing the canals. And this is the moment where we came up with an other conclusion: it is quite difficult to see this aspect of the area at the first glance.
Based on all the information we gathered we came up with one conclusion: if the district has an incredible cultural diversity it has unfortunately a disproportionate visual diversity.
We believe that this disproportionate visual diversity is just a matter of point of view. This is the reason why we decided to solve the problem: how can we give people the opportunity to change their point of view of the Red Light District to better see its historical and cultural aspects?
To build a concept that would solve this problem and represent our values at the same time, we listed two key elements that we believe could help people see an other face of the area: contemplation and information.
We then brainstormed to translate those elements into a concept. To do so we wrote, made quick mock-ups and scenarios.
At the end, we all agreed that the best place to make people change their point of view is in the middle of the Red Light District meaning, on the canals.
The bridges offer a unique view of the area which is really beautiful especially thanks to the trees and the old architecture.
We believe the first step to change one’s point of view on an area is to give him the opportunity to contemplate it. Therefore we propose to create a place on top of the canals to give people a chance to do nothing but admire the area.
Once people are in the position to see the district from an other point of view we believe they need information to increase their knowledge on the area. As this needs to be seamlessly provided we suggest to build screens that use augmented reality to add an informative layer on top of the reality. This layer is added on top of what people see from this place. Plus, tweets related to the area are displayed on the screen to let people share their thoughts and for the local people to share events and more.
As we want to help people see this other aspect of the district ,we suggest to use this augmented reality screens all across the canals. This way people can easily learn about the area.
To push the idea of changing people’s point of view we want to shock them by making them the one that people are looking at.
Finally we would like this place and those interactive screens to be a interface for sharing different strong points of view. To do so, we would like to invite artists to use these to express there points of view and engage people through it. The previous scenario could be the first idea going in this way.
On the final day we presented our process, vision and solution to an audiance and a jury.
We finally had the chance to win the contest!
Now I hope our proposal will be an inspiration for the future evolution of the Red Light District in Amsterdam!
Team members: Anabelle Eugenia, Manon Ely, Franck Noel and Renaud Larivière.
* Stay tuned for : a Thesis project from Arthur Bodolec in connection with this topic