Mapped Empathies is an experimental research project which seeks to explore possibilities of adding new poetic layers into urban furniture through interactive digital technologies. While regular public urban furniture seeks to solve practical problems (bus stops, trash cans, shadows, benches, bike stations), we believe in the potential of a new era of street furniture with added technologies to improve our sense of collective, belonging and memory, empowering communities to build a better society that stimulates empathy. We must build emotive bridges, not walls. We must shape cities and citizens through love and affection.
At Estudio Guto Requena, we’re obsessed with merging new digital technologies with emotions. We want to create immersive Urban Furniture that invites people to disconnect from their daily lives for a while and connect with each other, with the stranger sitting next to them, and thus reconnect with your own self.
Mapped Empathies was designed to be open source, copyleft. To be reproduced anywhere, and then to be improved by the creative community and social entrepreneurs, stimulating digital fabrication, fablabs and a more collaborative production process.
Mapped Empathies was created following Universal Design principles, being as intuitive as possible and allowing the same democratic experience for all visitors, regardless of age, ability, physical disabilities or situation. Kids, elders, big or small, blind or deaf, on a wheelchair. We will all be connected through the exact same experience.
Architecture has a fundamental role in stimulating sensations. Mapped Empathies was designed with the aid of parametric design (computer generated forms) and was inspired by temples and meditation spots. The result of the prototype is an organic wood structure digitally fabricated by a CNC machine. Its shape resonates that of a cathedral that comfortably houses a small group of people that are unknown to each other. Citizens’ heartbeats were recorded in real time at the touch of a finger via sensors installed on the benches. This vital data was sent to speakers and lights that transformed the architecture into a large sculpture of emotions. A place for human connection. Every individual heartbeat can be heard, and then the generative music software gradually mixes and transforms the heart beats into a symphony driven by the vibrant pulse of life. Lights follow the same sensitive rhythm, creating effects that assist in the immersion process.
Mapped Empathies is a performative urban furniture piece. The experience works when visitors connect in an interactive and dreamlike form that blurs the boundaries between the street, technology and our feelings. At a time when so many seek to put up walls that separate us, we believe in the potential of design merged with information and communication technologies to build emotional bridges that remind us that we are always connected.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.