Old lamps donated by neighbors become an urban installation in Athens

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© Imagine The City

In November 2012, creative studio Beforelight and non-profit organization Imagine The City created an urban installation from 150 lamps donated by Pitakki Street neighbors in Athens.

The project brings a new identity to this street, which had undergone a gradual process of decline during the previous years. Through the intervention, the street becomes a more welcoming, friendly and unique place. In addition, the participation of residents as protagonists of the intervention would facilitate the emergence in them of a sense of belonging to both the street and the community. Finally, the use of existing resources (in this case, the lamps of neighbors) favors the economy of means of the intervention.

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© Imagine The City

“This street was chosen because although it is small in length, it is an entrance to the Psyrri area that is visible from the main commercial street of Ermou. However, in this period of decay and crime, the pedestrian traffic is gradually declining and the street’s mixed use with private residencies and shops is also shrinking, as Cristina Ampatzidou from Beforelight explains. It was an ideal spot for this particular urban intervention, turning the street into a more lively and welcoming place.”

“The group started gathering and repairing lamps with valuable help from volunteers, in a temporary workshop set in an abandoned shop on the particular street. Apart from collecting lamp fixtures, the workspace brought the community together. Curious pedestrians often confused it for a lamp shop; hospitable neighbors brought food while friends from the social media shared the whole process online.”

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© Imagine The City

“Neighbors were more than happy to help since somebody was finally paying attention to their street. Surprisingly they had no problem with the necessary holes and fixtures made on to their buildings’ facades, as they were fascinated with the idea and even insisted on selecting the lamp they preferred to be placed outside their window!”

“When the project was finalised, a colorful light ceiling was created, making the narrow space seem less suffocating by breaking the height of the tall buildings. A street artist decorated some empty walls along the street, imitating a house’s interior, creating all together a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.”

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© Imagine The City

“It was fascinating being in this street. You could almost feel the presence of the lamps’ owners as each lamp told its own unique story. But more strongly you could feel the positive energy and the bond that was formed among them.”

“Apart from the vast positive feedback the Pittaki project got, a dialogue sprung between professionals’ and citizens’ circles, hopefully bringing a positive change in the way the city is perceived and the extent in which citizens should participate. The fastest response to that was the transformation of a nearby street that some artists decided to turn it into a permanent photo exhibition.”

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© Imagine The City

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© Imagine The City

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© Imagine The City

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© Imagine The City

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© Imagine The City

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(via Pop-Up City)

(images via imagine the city)