CULTURE

Colorful innovation for urban landscapes

The design idea comes from a group of students at Aristotle University?s School of Architecture: a state-of-the-art Thessaloniki-Athens passenger train boasting a cinema wagon, whose passengers reach their destination following the screening of two films.

?D Design: Objects We Desire,? an exhibition currently on display at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, showcases a broad range of design concepts for everyday use along with proposals for street furniture with the power to transform the gray urban landscape.

On display are ideas for colorful bus stations, outdoor seating, telephone booths and street lights, among others, all offering a fresh image of city life. Beside them are objects for interiors — chairs, audiovisual systems and mobile furniture — as well as objects for personal use, including accessories and garments, all attesting to the students? broad design spectrum.

The designs were developed through the work carried out in the faculty?s laboratories for industrial design and street furniture over the past six years. While design courses in the department began in the 1960s and were led by Professor Dimitris Fatouros, since the 1980s the department has produced a series of highly original ideas.

?In any other country these ideas would have attracted industry interest,? noted architecture Professor Aris Prodromidis. ?Industrial design dates back to 1895, and although in nearly all European countries, even countries like Poland, Hungary and Turkey, it is mass produced, the Greek industry is still not strong enough to carry it through.?

One would expect that the students? designs would be sought after by mayors wanting to improve their city?s urban landscapes. For Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, the exhibition is a challenge. Speaking to Kathimerini, Boutaris expressed his intention to organize an urban design competition. The awards, he noted, will be attributed to designers as well as manufacturers. This will act as an incentive and will provide a way to combine design with production.

Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, 154 Egnatia, tel 2310.281.567, 2310.240.002. To March 3.