I remember the first Geography lessons made it seem like borders were something very concrete, very difficult to cross, and each time we would leave the country - in the 90’s , the waiting line at Customs would feel like preparing for an exam.
I also remember how a beautiful road trip across the Mediterranean Coast, later on in life made me realize how subtle and flexible passing from one country to another can be, how changes from Spain to France and then to Italy came in small steps, like a soft gradient that was very easy to get used to. I told myself it was due to the Sea, absorbed, moulded and connected all these slightly different cultures. I suspect many others from my generation have had this mix of experiences related to crossing borders, while growing up.
We should no longer be living in a world where crossing borders feels like passing a test, we should nevertheless learn, in the social and political conditions of today how each step we take in one direction might affect the context of those living in our proximity. We should learn tolerance, openness and taking responsibility for our actions.
With our proposal, we aim to educate in this direction, by forcing the visitors of the British Council Stand at Bookfest 2019 interact with the space and realize how each action they take generates changes. Literally.
A 9 meter long wooden ‘spine’ keeps a set of twelve modules together. This piece of furniture encapsulates all functions: book & object exposure, assistance, while providing an interactive, but clearly defined space for the Drawing Words Exhibition. Ten of the modules are 2,8 m high shelves, that glide across the space, carefully directed by a rail system on the top and wheels on the bottom. This kind of division makes it easier to organise the material on display at the BC stand. Each module can accommodate a category of books, for example.
The first two meters of height provide shelf space for the books and objects, while the top part of each module is destined to be exposure space for one of the Drawing Words Artists. (The exact graphics will be determined later on, Both Illustrations and text can be thoroughly included on both sides of each module).
Two of the modules are lower, creating space for the Sales Point and Information desk area.
The central part of furniture, the one that keeps it all together, is also provided with shelf space, but is only open on the inside part of the BC stand, while the exterior part is plain, waiting to be discovered on the other side. Each gliding system can be fastened in one position, if necessary.
In order to reach the books or objects they want to check out, the visitors must push and pull each module according to their needs. This is where we come across the Action / Reaction system. The move you make on one side will affect the space on the other side.
A constant negotiation will take place, a constant change of landscape, on both sides. You will have to make the person on the other side your friend, or at least your collaborator.
The main piece of our proposal is positioned on one side in order to offer the necessary space for different activities, such as book presentations or children workshops. These two zones are defined by three big circular pieces of furniture: the one for book readings and presentations can also function as a stage, while the other two are designed to bring the children together and interact.
The stools are also an active element in this space. The visitors can move them according to their needs. The 40 seats can accommodate both small group activities such as workshops, as well as presentations or book readings, when placed concentrically.
Meanwhile, the two walls will act as giant screens where all kinds of presentations, documentaries or book covers can be projected.
The space is an ever-changing scenery, as the shelves glide back and forth: sometimes airy and open, sometimes divided, and sometimes enclosed.