The Vischi Method
Who makes the city? Why does it look the way it does? The Puccini Method and other manuals for the design of public space are the reason why Dutch cities look so smooth, clean and perfect. Manuals dictate everything from which kind of furniture can be use to how each brick must be placed in the street. These manuals tell us, indirectly, how to behave. As such they are the reason why some people may feel they lack freedom, possibilities for self-expression and control over their public spaces. Can we regain agency over our public space?
“Nowadays, it seems to be everywhere – the urban environment that feels smooth, polished and perfect. All buildings seem either new or renovated, and are generally in an excellent condition. It public spaces are well-designed, well-maintained, clean and safe, if you conform to the rules […] it can be a highly normative, controlling and arguably oppressive environment, in which gradually all opportunities for productive friction, sudden transitions or subversive transgressions have been eliminated. Here, it’s almost impossible to leave one’s own traces, or intervene according to one’s own ideas and desires. […] However, some modest forms of opposition could emerge from the notion of ‘porosity’, or the idea that it might be possible to create, organize or design cracks in the smooth surface of the city.”
René Boer – ‘Smooth City is the New Urban’, in: Archis Magazine, Volume 52, 2017
‘As an industrial designer I am fascinated by making as a tool for independence and changing our surroundings. I am greatly inspired by what I find around me in my everyday life, especially in public space. Coming from a big, messy city where different materials and stories are layered upon each other and moving to one where everythin is planned out and executed flawlessly was captivating and shocking at the same time. I found myself looking out for the details that escaped this perfection. Why are there certain things that don’t follow the rules? What happens after an object is produced and put out into the real world? What’s the difference between what leaves the drawing table and reality?
These are some of the questions that I’ve asked myself not only during this research but also during my previous education and career as a designer. I believe that design benefits from incorporating different points of views and expressions, and that it shoul be available to everyone who wants to improve their life.’
Text: Nico Vischi