UTOPIE

UTOPIE
Halle Neustadt, Germany
Halle-Neustadt was born as a self-suficient solution for satisfying all the needings of the new working class. It was not conceived to be a utopia itself, but it followed some utopic socialism system guidelines. Nevertheless, the system’s deep flaws reflect that utopias may work theoretically. But in a panoramic view, they depend on many circumstances capable of unbalance any delicately designed plan.

The word “UTOPIE” speaks about the intention to guarantee all the commodities to maximize productivity. It reflects the city’s identity, which is currently building a sustainable future, not forgetting its roots.
THE CITY
Halle is a city located in Sajonia-Anhalt state, on the banks of the Saale river. It was part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1949 and 1990.
In 1958, the GDR socialist government developed a plan to increase chemical production in the area. For this purpose, they began the integral project for building Halle-Neustadt, the “chemical workers socialist city.”

The architect Richard Paulick, a son of the Bauhaus where he worked closely with Walter Gropius, was hired to design the project.
SOCIALIST URBAN PLANNING
The Halle-Neustadt urban planning model is a close relative of the utopic socialism by Owen, Fourier, or Cabet, which was later rethought by Le Corbusier and developed by architecture schools, like the Bauhaus.

The city is composed of carefully arranged, enormous prefab concrete beehives (like Block 10, the largest housing complex in Germany). A new town, autonomous, built out of nothing, design to hosting more than 90.000 inhabitants.

Nevertheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 led to a dramatic increase in unemployment. Halle became a shrinking city, reducing its population to more than a half in just two decades.
THE SPACE
The space chosen by Freiraum Gallerie is based on the strategy thought by a committee made up of artists, architects, and urban planners from the city. It aims to connect two significant city areas through the intervention on the ramp access to Neustadter Passage. For this purpose, they carry out several surveys to get some insight and different opinions from the Halle Neustadt neighbors. They shared the results with us to develop the concept design. We aimed to make a complete intervention on the area, focusing primarily on the ramp, an essential element of this complex space.
APPROACH
We approach such a complex space by unfolding it, turning it into a more simple, flat, and abstract canvas. Then, we write three times the word “UTOPIE” and place it on the canvas. The word rotates as the canvas unfolds. We propose to apply a geometric transparency effect, which chromatic interactions refer to some of the city’s significant works of public art, such as the murals by Josep Renau or the masonry walls of many of the block’s façades. Once the word is placed on the canvas, we fold it back, creating a composition of typographic elements. The work turns almost abstract, unreadable but acts as a new skin by wrapping the space uniformly, flattening it, and generating new rhythmic patterns resulting from the different typography anatomy parts. The painting slightly changes when walking up and down the ramp giving access to the Neüstadter Passage.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS

  • 610 m2 intervention
  • Plastic paint over cement and water based poli urethane on concrete
  • It is part of the Wall and Space project, commissioned and produced by Freiraum Gallerie, with support from the City of Halle
  • Thanks to all the Freiraum Gallerie crew, especially to Danilo Halle, Philip, Ina
  • Execution team: Irene García, Javier Ballesteros, Jan Lütgert
  • Studio support: Alba Sánchez, Clara González
  • Photos by Boa Mistura, Danilo Halle and Readys


REFUGIO

REFUGIO
Madrid, España
A shelter is a place to look for protection and security, a refuge from outside’s hostility.
We propose to transform this forgotten transit area by changing its meaning using color and typography.
The word REFUGIO (SHELTER) surrounds the crossing pedestrians under the shadow of this bus station on their way to the plaza above.
CONTEXT
We deal with a very complex space made up of many walls, windows, and a ceiling that darkens the entire area.
This civil engineer structure also has several pillars and beams, which take away any trace of identity from the space. But at the same time, they are the differential aspect from any other type of workspace.
CONCEPT
We work by tripling the word "REFUGIO" and overlapping its three colors. The transparency combinations create six color shades that rhythmically repeat thanks to the vertical proportions of Sudtipos type foundry's Fixture typeface.

The rhythm is broken by each characters' singularities, such as the R leg, the G crossbar, or the F or E arms.
APPROACH
We intend to create an abstract color space that comes straight from something specific as a word. Then, we try to wrap and clean the station for the pedestrians to immerse in the work. For this purpose, we unfold the structure and omit the tridimensionality, reducing it to a single flat canvas where we write the word. Then we "fold it" back again. When analyzed separately, the ceiling and the walls become one abstract skin based on color stripes which provide light and color to the area. By working with the unfolded architecture, we can work on walls and ceiling by applying the word literally: to create a shelter using the word shelter.
INFORMATION AND CREDITS

  • Total intervention: approximately 2.250 m2
  • Plastic paint on concrete and granite tiles
  • Project developed thanks to Concejalía de Desarrollo Urbano Sostenible and Distrito Centro de Ayuntamiento de Fuenlabrada
  • Thanks to Marta Nieto Varela and Eva María Vega Sevilla for trusting in our work
  • Studio support: María Corrales
  • Execution team: Irene García, Javier Ballesteros, Mark Zimmerman, Pablo Velasco, Darío Ariso and Miguel Cabrales
  • photography by Boa Mistura


AVENIR

AVENIR
Bouillargues, France
This mural belongs to the “Harmonies” series. It is in Bouillargues, a small town at the Southeast of Nimes, Francia. “Avenir” represents the future which the young generations from this public high school represent to the town. As well as the initiative by all the educational team for making alternative activities that empower and encourage the youngsters.
INICIATIVE AND DESIGN
On January the 5th, 2020, we received an email from Dolores Corzo, the Spanish course teacher at Les Fontaines School in Bouillargues, a small village close to the city of Nimes, in France.

The text was a simple Spanish composition exercise in which they asked us to “come and decorate the high school.”

A year after our positive reply, we found ourselves painting a mural at the school’s main entrance in which the 30 3éme LCE Spanish students who wrote the email took part in the concept design.

We made a concept design workshop where we taught how to draw letters and look for appropriate words for the mural. This way, they got to understand all the work behind the mural.

As a result of the workshop, we chose the word AVENIR (future), and then we designed it as a part of the “Harmonies series.” Finally, we set a transparency effect on the letters creating complex color harmonies.
INFORMATION AND CREDITS

  • Mural size approximate: 18 m2
  • Plastic paint on cement
  • Thanks to all the students and educational team from the Les Fontaines Middle School for the warm welcome, specially to Dolores Corzo, for her amazing initiative
  • Executuon team: Irene García, María Corrales
  • Photos by Boa Mistura


RENCONTRE

RENCONTRE
Paris, France. 2020
This intervention at Place Charles de Monselet in the 19th arrondissement of Paris belongs to the art residency program Bien-Venue, carried out by Le CentQuatre cultural center.

The objective is to develop public and participatory art and cultural programs in the 19th arrondissement, a decentralized district with less priority for the administration.

We write the word “Rencontre” (meeting) because it represents squares as elements of social cohesion and reflects a neighborhood whose main characteristic is its socio-cultural diversity.

Besides, the unique temporal context in which we executed the work strengthens the chosen word. We traveled to Paris amidst a global pandemic, with rigorous health controls which did not allow us to make the participatory process. As a result, only a few neighbors and students collaborated, bringing out the social need for working together to overcome these situations.
CONTEXT
Paris' 19th district is located on the northeast side of the city. It is a quiet residential area. Its main feature is the multicultural side, with French, Portuguese, and North Africans living together.

Charles de Monselet square is in the merge of Boulevard D'Algerie and Boulevard Sérurier. The chosen wall faces the plaza's east side and is highly visible from the Avenue de la Porte du Pré Saint-Gervais and the Robert-Debré child Hospital.

This small square is mainly a crossing point for the neighbors who catch the tram next to the square. However, it also represents a
meeting point for different generations. Children use the playground; youngsters hang out on the afternoons, and elder plays pétanque.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPATION
We carry out the design process by giving workshops with different neighbor collectives. For example, in the schools Romainville and Eugénie Cotton, we conducted surveys and drawing activities. On the other hand, we proposed a neighbor meeting at the L'Accorderie, where we had an exciting discussion and brainstorming looking for words.

We found the word RENCONTRE to portray the time and place in which the work is executed.
We write the word three times to create chromatic and geometric rhythms along the wall.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS
  • 51 m width x 3 m height intervention
  • Plastic paint and waterbased enamel on limestone and metal wall
  • Project developed in the frame of Bien-Venue Art residencies by Le Centquatre Cultural Center
  • Thanks to all the 19th arrondisement neighbors and the students from Romainville and Eugéne Cotton schools, for taking part on the proect
  • Thanks to José Manuel Gonçálves for trusting in us
  • Thanks to Clara Chalou, Delphine Marcadet, Sonia Khiter, Elsa Lemesle and Celia for their neat production
  • To Anne-Flore Cabanis and Jann Vormann for their amazing company
  • Studio support: Maria Vadell and Alba Sánchez
  • Execution team: María Corrales and Irene García
  • Photography by Boa Mistura and Quentin Chevrier