Project: Ideas competition for public artworks
Location: Guimarães, Portugal
Client: Guimarães 2012
Images: Estúdio AMATAM
Made-In was an international ideas competition for public artworks and was destined to reconfigure 4 public washing points in the city of Guimarães, Portugal beyond 2012.
Guimarães is a city that reminds the past but inspires the future and this led us to think about the challenge that was presented to us as a changing point for the present social paradigm. How can the lavadouros be more for the city as such a public washing point?
The rehabilitation of this urban and social icon of the city is more than a technical and material question, is about social engagement. Portuguese society is facing a challenging period where a new paradigm is being crafted towards the traditional, the sustainable and the art expression. The economical crises had the benefit to make us all start to remake our life style into something less egocentric. The Lavadouros were a symbol of the traditional community spirit somewhere lost in the past, but now there’s a chance of re-finding these principles. Having in mind the strong identity of these places our intentions were to create conditions to re-install its use enhancing the social interaction; pay a tribute to the collective washing spaces by demystifying it negative connotation; promoting the use by emphasizing it sustainable qualities; reusing the washing tools as a form of art, a background for artistic expression for the city and by the city; and finally but of extreme importance give this places back to the city, adding extra value to potentiate informal or planned new uses.
The re-appropriation of a forgotten space by the collective does not depend only on it physical qualities, it does mostly depends on the social function representation that this space might have and if it becomes part of something more vast than it single quality. A global strategy to all the Lavadouros is able to create a bigger impact in Guimarães city life than a narrow single approach to each Lavadouro independently. We propose in this sense to create a theme path – along the water stream that connects all of them – related with public washing clothes, art and water sustainability awareness, creating a network that involves not only the surrounding neighborhoods but also the visitors of the city. These washing public places become also a cultural/art station where different activities can take place during different day-time periods. Each of them will be representing one of the four actions of washing clothes – take and sort out; soak and soap; wash and brush; wring and dry – where there will be art installations created with the specific re-used objects that symbolize the hand wash action main theme. These art installations will always have different qualities, sometimes related with the space features – they can be sun shading elements or lightning elements– or can be displays supports for art exhibits.
Since there is a clear intention of dignifying the hand wash process, each Lavadouro will have a designed instruction manual focused on the sustainable quality of hand washing and explaining the proper procedure.