A soft material covers the hard concrete surface like moss covering a stone, creating a warm and inviting landscape…
This was the main idea behind AGORASCAPE, a concept born as response to the many examples of cold, grey, unfriendly, deserted and unsafe urban interstices and interior public spaces, which often seem to be some “leftovers” of the designing process rather than real communal places of interaction, fulfilling the function of bringing people together.
The diversity of organic form and lively colour that it can take on, the multitude of functions that it can serve and the variety of spaces where it can be implemented is extremely flexible and open to meet the needs of each specific situation.
A number of properties, like rapid drainage, high level of noise absorption, resistance to abrasion, slipping, indentation and ignition, practical for wheal chairs, hygienic, long life with minimal maintenance, and no joints for vandals to attack, make the material suitable for a large variety of outdoor and/or indoor public spaces and an unmatched range of creative design possibilities.
It can cover the existing site, either partially or entirely, in shapes reminding natural landscapes, such as sand dunes, see waves, tea plantations.
Or the material may provide the coating for the objects themselves, designed as urban furniture with organic shapes, harmoniously integrated into the whole.
Alternately, the relief can also be carved in, rather than build on, creating inserted sitting area islands and basins, or the whole concept may be combined with natural elements, like trees, plants, water. Alternative sources of energy – like solar and wind energy – will be used for lighting and/or heating/cooling of surfaces (already subject of our lab research).
Essentially, we conceived AGORASCAPE as a way to revitalize existing organisational and public spaces in addition to shaping new ones. The aim is to put into practice principles like eco-effectiveness (sustainable and environmentally friendly concepts) and waste equals food (nature inspired models of up-cycling various materials) in order to make sure we create a welcoming, comfortable, efficient and safe, truly life-affirming and contact-stimulating environment, where rigid defensive mental frames are able to make space for creative sharing. The feelings we intend to suggest are ones of safety, harmony, innocence, warm privacy, of “being home”, feelings that come from understanding the space and working with it.