Social Integration Furniture

baum architects+integration furniture+sevilla+(3)

SI8DO_  They did let me do(wn)

Social integration furniture Seville (Spain) 

First Prize Unpleasant design

SI8DO is a social-integration urban furniture, a subversive urban-intervention tool designed to improve the working conditions of those people that work at the traffic lights selling tissues.

After months of fieldwork, more than a hundred immigrants were located at Seville’s crossroads. Unfortunately most of them spend the whole day standing.

Attached as a parasite to traffic lights, a simple, folded, perforated metal sheet creates both the seat and the storage shelf they need to work more comfortable. SI8DO not only highlights an unfair urban situation, but also proposes a solution.

The first prototype is now fabricated and tested. Here we present the results.

Some tissues companies are interested in supporting the idea.

All throughout Seville’s urban grid, it is hard to find a traffic light without somebody selling tissues. After a systematic fieldwork, we located more than one hundred. Almost all of them are immigrants, almost all of them men, coming mostly from North and Central Africa, who are trying to make a living by standing at road joints for hours, wandering between the car lanes to sell their product.

Due to the present economic crisis, the number of them is slowly decreasing, but the living status of those who stay is getting harder and harder.

The situation is so extended, that it is already part of the urban landscape. It belongs to the common conscience of the town and people tend to accept, or simply assume, this kind of conflictive realities. Some of these tissue-salesmen are even growing old at their job positions and they have been going to work to the same place for more than ten years already.

But there is a complex legal and social context behind this apparently spontaneous way of street trading. Our proposal for the SI8DO seat aims to design an integration catalyst towards the improvement of the “working conditions” of these people. It tries not only to help them to integrate in the city and the local society, but to highlight the problem, making it visible for the rest of the citizens and the local administration.

Since the institutional social organizations or the municipality have unfortunately not found an integration solution so far, with our proposal for a specific urban seat we try to improve the every-day tasks of hundreds or thousands of immigrants in Spain. Although their work at the streets of Seville is unofficially accepted, their residence permission status in Spain is highly unclear. It is as if the surroundings of the traffic lights were in some kind of legal limbo.

They live in a legal-less status, rather than in an illegal one.

SI8DO furniture proposal confronts an already existing working situation around the semi-legal “tissue salesmen”. No matter if their status is legal or not, but, since the reality is already ongoing, our proposal tries to equip it properly. A real “workplace” will be so created.

While the light is red, they work. While the light is green, they seat. A life regulated by the traffic light rhythm, which we are trying to turn into something a little bit more comfortable.

Before SI8DO seat they used to stand all the time.

Locating our piece of furniture within the city environment aims to call attention to the problem of immigration and the negative effects of an unclear residence status. Therefore, it will make it impossible for the municipality and the government to keep on ignoring this situation. Immigrants are an important active part of the city and today’s society and they should be respected and accepted as citizens with equal rights and duties.

Following the idea of urban acupuncture, we induce a global change by stimulating a local point. Often, single selective interventions, such as the one we planned, lead to improve the overall situation.

The final design aims simplicity and conceptual clarity. A lightweight, perforated, CNC carved, thin, metal plate is folded to shape a seat with a storage place beneath, which can be fastened to traffic and street lights.

It is a parasitic object, which needs of the structural stability of the hosting element to stand.

SI8DO is an open-source hardware. The fabrication plans are available online for free. Anybody, willing to fabricate it in his hometown, can download the files from the web. Digital fabrication releases citizens from the labor chain slavery, opening a new relationship between people and products.

But what the ++%&??!! does SI8DO mean, then?

The flag of Seville has the motto “NO8DO” on it. It stands for “no me ha dejado” which literally translated means “she (Seville) didn’t let me down”. This slogan for the city goes back to King Alfonso X. who lived in the exile in Seville, the only city that remained loyal to the king. Nowadays, it is still meant to be the slogan for every council-house institution in town.

But for the immigrants this slogan might be changed to “she let me down”, or in Spanish “ me ha dejado” because they don’t receive any help from the city and remain living in this unclear residence permission status. So for them, a much more accurate motto would be: “SI8DO”.

Furthermore, a second translation of “SI8DO” could also be “they did let me do it”. Thus, this would show the complex duality of these people’s situation, between tolerance and denial both from the government and the society.

NO 8 DO – They didn’t let me down.

SI 8 DO – They let me down. They let me do it. THEY DID LET ME DO(WN)

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