HE/DE – The guide to the furnished city
HE/DE is a multimedia guide whose purpose is to encourage Spanish creativity in the challenging times that arose after the deep economic and social crisis that hit the country, challenging its users to create and spread culture out of something already existing: abandoned furniture in the streets. Tasks included: coming up with the creative concept and bringing the idea to life by branding, naming, creating a visual identity and a logo, designing a prototype of the app and website, creating packaging, covers, stickers and other promotional material.
HE/DE is the winner of the 2013 edition of the @Diversity – European Idea Competition, a competition searching for innovative ideas for the cultural and creative sectors in Europe. @Diversity is an EU funded project, launched by the European Parliament and organised by the Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture. @Diversity website: www.at-diversity.eu
Abandoned furniture in the street is a very common thing in Spain. Spaniards are used to abandoning their furniture anywhere near public disposal containers, even in the city center. Furthermore, consumerism of the early 2000’s caused a large amount of furniture to be thrown away while they were still in very good condition. This is very bad for the environment, but fortunately Spanish people love to collect and refurbish abandoned furniture. In times of wealth, the only people to do that were non-resident students, artists, gypsies, and a few fans of “bricolage”, otherwise known as DIY repairs. Now that times are harder than ever, those people affected by the bursting Spanish property bubble, the economic crisis, and rising unemployment have embraced this practice. They are the main reason why promoting the habit of collecting and refurbishing abandoned furniture is so important.
HE/DE relies on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which the community can share, co-create, and discuss user-generated content. HE/DE features a mobile application for iPhone and Android, and a responsive website suitable to work on every device and every screen size. The idea behind the project is to create a network that aims to encourage creative people to share, collect, and refurbish furniture abandoned every day on Spanish city streets as a fresh and innovative form of sustainable livelihood, and not only as a way of subsistence of the poor.
Users can access information regarding abandoned furniture in the street, which is loaded on-site directly by users, using the HECHOS and DESECHOS sections.
What does desecho mean? DESECHOS are all the pieces of furniture that have been abandoned near public disposal containers in the streets, even in the city center. A large amount of these pieces of furniture are still in good condition, and with a coat of paint they could become very unique and creative designer items. Each DESECHO page includes a short description, photographs, and the selected object’s GeoTag. This information helps users find the location-specific information of the item they are interested in.
What does hecho mean? HECHOS are all the workshops, shops, cultural centers, etc., involved in creative recovery of furniture collected from the streets of Spanish cities. Each HECHO page includes a short description, a photograph, and a GeoTag of the concerned place. This information will help users to find the location-specific information of the cultural place they are interested in.
RECOLECTOR URBANOS (urban collectors) are able to explore the HECHO and DESECHO pages through geolocated maps and lists. The whole territory is also explorable through the smartphone’s Augmented Reality.
The content of HE/DE can be shared on the leading Social Networks.
HE/DE’s website also features a TRANSFORMACIÓN CREATIVA section. In this specific area, users may insert a tutorial of every desecho they collected from the streets of Spanish cities thanks to the guide, explain how they creatively and successfully restored these pieces of furniture and sell them to other users.
The TRANSFORMACIÓN CREATIVA section:
Functional diagram of the system:
HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada is currently looking for socially conscious team members who are willing to contribute to the project, and sponsors/investors who believe in social innovation and enterprise as a tool for positive change. The world is social now, and the good habits HE/DE promotes can easily spread and become social, among with the natural imposition of a new cultural model of reference. The success (even if in many ways undeclared) the practice of collecting furniture from the streets already has in Spain is giving hope to the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead.
University project. Master’s thesis in Communication Design. Polytechnic University of Milan.
Conceptualized and designed by: Luta Valentina Morciano