Client: Little Haiti Cultural Center
Location: Miami, FL, United States
Completion date: 2019
The Urban Conga
City of Miami
Little Haiti Cultural Complex
For this project, we worked with the Little Haiti community to create a platform for residents and visitors to learn and share the history, stories, and music of Haitian culture outside the doors of the cultural complex. The piece is made up of three aluminum drums formed from the traditional Rada Battery Haitian drums. The drums were painted by a local Haitian artist Serge Toussaint with traditional paintings of historically significant monuments. The drums are connected by an undulating bench system that allows a multitude of social seating possibilities.
The goal for this project was to provide a playful moment along the busy street and sidewalk that would get people to stop even for a moment and connect with one another through the act of play. The social bench system would provide a place for people to sit, listen, and converse on the past, present, and future of the neighborhood and its Haitian roots. This is a neighborhood that is being drastically changed and with this project we wanted to create a piece that would celebrate the existing community and culture that exist in this neighborhood. To do this we worked with the Little Haiti community and cultural complex through participatory design workshops to create a playable platform that would not only spark conversation but feel as if it was a piece of the cultural complex reaching out into the public realm.
We designed this piece through a series of participatory design workshops with the local Little Haiti community and cultural center representatives. To develop the aluminum drums we worked closely with a local Haitian drum maker to get the right sounds and match the traditional drums as best as possible. We also worked with the City of Miami and Cultural Complex to make sure the project was implemented permanently within the right of way.