CLOUDS is a participatory design project that seeks to co-create and share the necessary infrastructure in order to mobilize new ideas and actions in the public space. It supports local communities, independent initiatives, cultural organizations, third places or civic agencies by expanding their tools and consequently their scope and sphere of influence.
Civil society individuals and groups collaborated, under the guidance of LUDD, in order to develop an open architecture modular system, for the creation of pop-up structures that can host social and cultural activities in the urban landscape. The polymorphic nature of CLOUDS allows the formation of multiple spatial arrangements that function as a meeting place or info-point as well as a springboard for events, such as exhibitions, screenings, workshops, performances, festivals, etc. CLOUDS creates a space of collective fermentation and acts as an intervention that redefines the concept of public space. It enhances the citizens' capacity for self-organization and fosters a sense of belonging to the city.
Through the participatory methodology, we explored ways in which open design can directly influence creative activity and address the real needs and desires of local communities. By simulating processes emerging from the open source movement, the various possible solutions were developed simultaneously and freely creating multiple versions of the same object, as well as additional components. CLOUDS was not designed as a technical or specialized equipment that will be applied to the public space, but as an experimental - open object that emerges from bottom-up processes and permanently retains its prototype status. In that way the social and material components for the system's deployment are mutually enhancing each other.
The CLOUDS system consists of structural modules that are developed upon a grid pattern. The modules can be assembled with simple techniques and conventional hand tools. The arrangements created lead to multiple functional forms such as kiosks, exhibition or information stands, working or learning tables, libraries, seating areas, boards, scenery and play-scapes. Additional components or surfaces in different sizes and materials can be attached to the basic structure, changing the functional and aesthetic properties of the installation according to the needs of each action.
As an open object, CLOUDS is amenable to modifications or extensions of its use, embracing its multiplication and not to its definition. Everyone can create, adapt, customize or “appropriate” CLOUDS in tailor-made ways, in order to satisfy individual and community needs. Starter files, technical information and instructions for reproducing and adapting the system are distributed under an Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons License.
Files are available here!
The project has been embraced by various creative groups coming from diversified fields, such as the urban commons, social innovation, anthropology, architecture, performing arts, etc. that either participated in the development process from the beginning or got involved along the way. The Clouds system has traveled to various parts of Greece supporting a multitude of actions - from educational, artistic and other programs to video clips and performances.
In case you are interested in using CLOUDS in some of your actions or to learn more about the possibilities that our infrastructure and team can offer you do not hesitate to contact us.
The initiative started in September 2019, as a pilot project of the START - Create Cultural Change program, a program of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, implemented in collaboration with the Goethe Institut Thessaloniki and the German Association of Sociocultural Centers, supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Bodosaki Foundation.