The run up to this year’s European Street Design Challenge at the Futur en Seine festival in Paris began with a “Mini-Challenge” workshop on the afternoon of Friday, 17th May at the Make It Center in Saint Petersburg.
Two teams of young design and architecture professionals and students were set the task of redesigning the area around the Make It Center, an old, disused printing factory complex which lies on the Karpovka river and is surrounded by several universities, a botanical garden and historically rich residential areas with a mixed social demography.
Heavy rain prevented the design teams from touring the area on foot. As a substitute, Maxim Shkapovskiy, the creator of the Make It Center and host to this workshop, gave a description of the immediate area from the roof of the Make it Center, after which the groups carried out the emotional mapping exercise: gathering their initial individual impressions to formulate their first collective reactions and ideas.
This was followed by a value ladder, which yielded the following results.
- Free of charge
- Self realisation
- Creative collaboration
- Open to communication
- Aesthetic beauty
- Unpredictably cult
The value ladder should normally have been followed by an appreciative inquiry. However, given the limited time available, the teams pressed straight on to the brainstorming and building process.
The two teams showed real creativity and imagination both in the concepts for their solutions, and the resources, which they used to build their design prototypes.
The two design prototypes present a strong reflection of the different approaches and concepts developed by the two groups:
Urban Peppers: An “all-embracing”, very contextual approach at a meta-level, encompassing the whole factory complex, its ecological setting, and its relationship to the surrounding area. The concept integrated interaction with the surrounding area and its inhabitants, a very open and accessible approach, with strong use of digital media for communication. A strongly aesthetic and “green” design of the landscape also included pointers towards the historic heritage of the sight.
Design Garden: A more micro-oriented approach, with a focus on one building which integrates recreation for the whole family with opportunities for creative collaboration under one roof.
Given the very limited time available to the participants in the workshop, both solutions should a high degree of focused creativity and potential.
The European Street Design Challenge would like to thank:
Risto Wallin, Kouvola Innovation and the Finnish Digital Creative Industries for creating the initial framework for this workshop.
Marina Lebedeva for establishing the valuable contact with Saint Petersburg designers and creative entrepeneurs.
Maxim Shkapovskiy for his vision, collaboration and hosting of the workshop.
Anna Kholina for her insights and support during the workshop.
We look forward both to welcoming the Saint Petersburg design team to Paris for this summer’s European Street Design Challenge at the Futur en Seine festival, and also to collaborating further with our colleagues in the Saint Petersburg Make it Center.