STRAATTAAL is a project proposal for a small public square named Middellandplein in Rotterdam. Like many small squares in Europe's urban areas it lacks an identity and is a common meeting place for rowdy youths and petty criminals. Therefore the municipality of Rotterdam approached me and several other designers to take a shot at the square individually. All we had to go by was that the city preferred a concept that involved stimulatuing entrepreneurship in the area.
After thorough investigation of the square, scanning of the surrounding neighbourhoods and interviewing many of the local residents, youths and shopowners I decided the last thing Middellandplein needed was more commercial entrepreneurs (every kind of product or service imaginable was being sold in a 100 meter radius of the square). Instead I let myself get inspired by the theme of car tuning (i.e. pimping) that could be seen througout the neigbourhoods surrounding the square. By introducing the theme to the square it could create its own identity.
Eventually STRAATTAAL evolved into an workshop: a creative outlet for the highschool-dropouts and gangsters who hung around the square. By flipping some of parts of the square's stone pavement upside down they were able to create a message for everybody to see. The amounts of bricks and available space were limited so the participants had to collaborate in order to realize their creations. To help them along their way I designed an instruction manual. Sadly the project proposal was never realised (nor those of the other designers), instead the municipality opted to put an additional bench on the square and let it further deteriorate.