Durban, South Africa, 2008-03
Functional tire installation in public space with the aim to activate this forgotten inner city loacaton and attract people to stay, communicate and relax.
Mantas and me managed to locate 5000 brandnew tyres with a production mistake and so impossible to use on cars.
This meant new design possibilities because the tyres are all exactly the same. Though very heavy because of the unworn treads and the oversize for offraod use, we developed designs based on one same kind of tyre.
Our chosen location was the RED SQUARE in the inner city of Durban, a non-used and forgotten peace of public space. Our intention was to activate this space with functional objects and create a space for everybody passing by.
We installed more than 30 of our LAZY chairs and 5 FOUR MEAL DRIVE picknick tables. The public was not ready for this but after a few days the lounge was in full use. Street sellers finally found a place where they could sit and sell, people took a break after shopping, others had meetings on the tables, and the fruit sellers counted their fruit on the tables. We cleaned the space once and people gave us a very strange look. And after 2 hours it turned into the same trashy place as before, so we had to live with all the sympathetic left-overs around us.
One of the most tyring aspects during the buildup was the amount of people who very seriously wanted to buy tyres from us. Explanations of the manufacturing mistake of the tyres and the cuts in the sidewalls for making them unusable for cars did not help much..
The sad sudden death of this installation only a few weeks later was a letter from a big car company to the city government. There was an idea to build a mosaic on the square. Reason enough to sweep away the new spirit of comfortable new tyres. I had tears in my eyes when upset people asked me to please leave the lounge because the appreciated the change and objects very much. But ok, we came to give impulses and activate spaces..so if Mercedes does not build the mosaic we will make a lounge from crashed Mercedes limousines.
project by Jan Körbes and Mantas Lesauskas