How can a mobile café or school look?

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A detachable platform with giant wheels.
A circular kiosk constructed with collapsible column.
A school on wheels using recyclable materials.
A mobile garden unit that also sells terrace garden plants, built using bill board structures

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These and some more are the result of a collaborative effort of architects from all over the globe who responded to an open invitation sent by Prayas Abhinav, a talented artist based in Bangalore.

Abinav, 27, post graduate from CEMA (Center for Experimental Media Arts) and Srishti, lives and works in Bangalore. A man of many interests from writing to art and film making, he has won several awards and fellowships in both India and abroad. Through this exhibition he explores how public and semi-public urban spaces can be utilised for cultural and civic uses in the city.

“The idea germinated in January this year, when I was discussing with a few friends about designing mobile cultural structures”, explained Prayas. By March he had posted a proposal called ‘Spirited Caravans: re-imagining Bangalore’s Outdoors’ on the website of his new initiative CitySpinning (http://cityspinning.org) and also through emails to art communities. The response was enormous and designs came from architects and teams from many countries across the world – Germany, UK, Netherlands, Serbia, US, Australia and India. exibitions

A mobile school (pic courtesy: Prayas Abhinav)

About the initiative

Spirited Caravans is the first project aimed at creating contemporary-styled working structures which can be used by any practitioners, e.g. civic groups, social activists or NGOs, who need a temporary platform to interact with public. This can be as diverse as a platform to perform cultural shows or to showcase educational information to children. The theme of the designs is to make these structures mobile and detachable so that they can be moved to different places easily.

Its  co-founder, Meeta Jain, 37, an equally talented architect, is also the creator of a mobile detachable for exhibiting frames to showcase these designs. The exhibition has some practical structures like the ‘KHEL’ (an interactive mobile school) created by architecture students from Mumbai; some imaginative structures like CYBER BIRDS (a peacock-feathers inspired platform with speakers that can be attached to a human), designed by a German architect and a few very poetic and colourful ones like ‘Kite Running’ designs made by a USA team. The designs can be implemented for different purposes – a community café, a playground, an educational platform etc.

Why mobile and temporary structures? Abhinav explains, “The very temporary nature (of the structure) can leap frog over many legal issues or social inhibitions.” Meeta added, “We take the mobile kiosks to the people and the here-today-gone-tomorrow concept generates a lot of curiosity. This (curiosity) can then be used for constructive purposes.”

The initiative is sponsored by Quintessence Creations, Ahmedabad, who produce educational toys for children. Since the designs are oriented towards children, their reactions and observations will form a rich repository of information for the sponsors.

With so many fantastic designs, how will the selection for final product – ‘THE DOT’ – be made? The team had organised a workshop with many from the activists groups and art communities whose work involves the need for such mobile and temporary structures. They then plan to take it around the city and generate interest.

The exhibition is fascinating and grounded with practical objectives. It closes on 20th July.


About Poornima Dasharathi 46 Articles
Poornima is our correspondent for Heritage & Features. She also runs a heritage and culture themed travel outfit called Unhurried.