Theme: Space and Place

For the first time in history the earth’s population is more urban than rural. This means that for most people on this planet, the city has become their natural habitat. When in this context we speak of growth and blossom, terrain and flow, or use other natural metaphors, we speak in fact of engineering, architecture and design. We talk about the city as a landscape, that we have created ourselves and continue to shape.

Shaping a place is as much about imagining it as it is about building. Look at a child playing and you can recognize an arch-instinct shared by all living beings. Stepping over an imaginary line, and closing a virtual door behind him, the child says: now I’m in my home. If he has only sticks and stones to play with, he will use these to demarcate the difference between inside and outside, between a place and its surrounding space.

In design for the urban landscape, such symbolism meets the existential needs of the city’s inhabitants, who use it to define their habitat as a place to be. ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 focuses on the new urgency with which we consider urban public space. We highlight the latest strategies for enhancing public places as theater of public conviviality. From informal – and sometimes illegal – interventions which reclaim the street as the meeting place for independent citizens, to proposals by architects and designers to develop the city’s public space as a playground for social interaction. Plus reflections on how to transform a neutral space into an individual place by an international range of cutting-edge designers.

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 invites designers, architects and other creatives from all over the world to meet their audiences in one of the finest urban playgrounds of all: the city of Amsterdam.