After a couple of days, we found our routine. First hang up the canvas, which we did faster every day. One person goes into Keizerswaard to fill up the jerrycan, while the others take out the tables, pallets and construction drawings for that day. After a cup of filter-coffee we carry the pre-cut wood panels and start the assembly. Our working days last week consisted of 30° degrees Celsius, a leaking jerrycan, splinters, heavy bags of sand and complex construction dilemmas. While we tried to, carefully, drill in as many screws as we could, visitors came by to ask what we were doing. Older ladies, living across the street, saw us building from their balcony. Curious children with their parents or friends, people doing groceries in Keizerswaard passing us on their way.
Our DIY construction site drew in a lot of attention, more than we had foreseen. These small conversations with inhabitants of IJsselmonde have been very valuable to us so far. Maybe it is not even the design itself that put a smile on our visitors' faces (although they all very much like our design, especially the exhibition), but the idea that finally, IJsselmonde is seen, finally something is done for this neighborhood, really cheers them up. This enthusiasm corresponds to the findings of our fieldwork from a few months earlier, in conversations with youngsters and children about their neighborhood. They came up with a surprisingly big amount of creative ideas on how they would design the pavilion to contribute to IJsselmonde. They want a positive place, where they could express themselves and be seen.
This neighborhood is full of ideas and people who are willing to help realize these ideas, but until now they haven’t felt like there were opportunities to do so. This confirms for us again, why this project is a very important step for all neighborhoods on their way to becoming more resilient. Making the distance between designer and user smaller and giving opportunities to cooperate in the design and realization.
After a few days, we know some of the locals that visit the market square every day and they know us. They not only advise and encourage us, but they also look out for us and our project. Informing passersby about our activities, warning people that try to move some of the freshly painted panels. Even though none of us have lived in IJsselmonde, it feels like the beginning of a community in which we look out for one another. On Thursdays, the cheese monger and fisherman greet us and advise us on the best way to pre-drill. And the employees of the municipality know who we are since we make use of the public bathrooms and fill all our water bottles.
The first week was intense; hard work and incredibly warm, but we couldn’t have been more excited, we finished not one, but two frames on Saturday. We couldn’t have done this without the help of three girls and Elvin from PIT010, who helped us the whole afternoon. Within 10 minutes after the assembly of the Seat, our design was tested by two young girls who could not wait to climb into the frame. We all went home, sweaty and tired, but with satisfied smiles on our faces. We are working on something great and meaningful!
Jasmijn and Femke