LoT was invited by Athens Voice to submit a design for an urban market in the city of Athens, Greece. The market, once a place for social and communal provocation, has been reduced over the centuries. LoT designed individual circular booths, open for occupation by individuals or groups. Each circular pavilion, bound by a semi-permeable surface of flexible white wires, creates a sense of equality, an omnidirectional approach that allows relationships of entry/exit and spectator/participant to become blurred. As such, the market becomes an open show, an urban installation.
The market, once a place for social and communal provocation, has been reduced over the centuries, altered into its current typology – a space based primarily on the viewing, sale, and purchase of products from pre-specified vendors occupying pre-assigned positions in a pre-designated configuration.
This iteration that we are familiar with today typically takes the form of a series of stalls arranged in a line or grid, designed for efficiency of movement and maximization of vendor presence. Elongated linear paths form a showroom through which traffic flows continuously. Separated by these movements, each stall operates on a traditional served/server relationship. The prescriptive nature of these movements and interactions diminishes the opportunity for happenstance, reducing the market condition to familiar banality. A re-imagining is in order.
A new model, embedded with social intention, might promote greater interaction, confidence, and communication, establishing a space where the exchange of not only products, but also views, perspectives, and ideas flourish. The market as an agora, a place of synthesis covering communicative and social needs. An individual pavilion might house the traditional sale of items, but could also contain a pop-up workshop, an art display, an open kitchen for communal cooking, or even a simple library annex, creating a unique network of experiences. A market that is extroverted, multifunctional, and flexible, capable of accommodating vendors, collective activities, installations, discussions, and urban serendipity.
In order to promote more opportunistic interactions and to break down typical role relationships, LoT designed individual circular booths, open for occupation by individuals or groups. Each circular pavilion, bound by a semi-permeable surface of flexible white wires, creates a sense of equality, an omnidirectional approach that allows relationships of entry/exit and spectator/participant to become blurred.
Enhancing this, LoT employs a simple shift of the roof surface, an action that creates moments where a passerby might be under the roof of the pavilion without being physically inside of it. Beyond a singular stall, the arrangement of kiosks is intentionally free and flexible. Changing its configuration with frequency, a series of overlapping and interweaving movements emphasizes exploration and interaction through non-prescriptive directions and unintended destinations. As such, the market becomes an open show, an urban installation.
Project Team: Leonidas Trampoukis (Partner in charge), Eleni Petaloti, Brandon Maldonado (project leader)
Commissioner: ATHENS VOICE, Greece
Site: Monastiraki Square, Athens
Total built area: 125 m²
Project Year: 2013