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Participating schools

Design advisory team

Curator & scenography



Liège, Belgium 2012

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‘Welcome to Saint Gilles!’/

80 ideas on how to revitalize

the Saint Gilles neighborhood.

‘Welcome to Saint Gilles’ was an exhibition that structured and presented 80 design student proposals that focussed on how to improve the everyday life within the Saint Gilles district in Liège, Belgium.

(scroll down for more info)

About IntrastructuresAbout_-_what_we_are..html

REcentre (Sustainability at School 2011-2012)

ID Campus

Priscilla Machils (REcentre)

Virginia Tassinari

ABK Maastricht (NL),

& Hogeschool ZUYD Maastricht (NL),

Design Academy Eindhoven (NL),

ENSAV/La Cambre Bruxelles (BE),

ESA Saint-Luc Liège (BE),

ESA Saint-Luc Tournai (BE),

Gut Rosenberg (DE)

MAD faculty Genk (BE) ,

Nik Baerten (Pantopicon),

François Jégou (Strategic Design Scenarios),

Thomas Lommée (Intrastructures)

Virginia Tassinari (MAD Faculty, Genk).

Thomas Lommée / Intrastructures

Muriel Claeys

Kristof Vrancken

With the collaboration of the inhabitants, the shop owners, the students and the organizations of the Saint-Gilles neighbourhood in Liège.

Throughout the academic year of 2011-2012, more than 100 students from eight different design schools and academies came to Saint-Gilles (Liège, Belgium) to explore the neighbourhood and talk to its inhabitants. From these encounters more than 80 projects emerged; proposals and interventions, which aim to improve everyday life within the district. Bringing together all this work, this exhibition was an attempt to visualize the thinking that went on and materialize the ideas put forward. 

Rather than focusing on the uniqueness of certain specific design proposals, our aim was to highlight the common threads that interconnect them. By clustering different projects and presenting them as groups, new organizational patterns and design principles are revealed. Different project clusters show the emergence of collaborative construction models, more socially oriented businesses, crowd-sourced events and alternative neighbouring services. Most of these ideas are derived from a renewed interest in a tighter social fabric and use new communication tools to support and facilitate them.

As a whole this exhibition was giving us a glimpse into the future: a first impression of the kind of objects, services and spaces that our networked society is bringing forth. It is a society in which a decentralized dialogue is at the core of most new developments. 

A society in which more connected citizens are using the collective power of the web to push forward those objects, places and services they really want. And a society where designers are no longer operating as creative masterminds, but rather function as attentive observers and facilitators of the public debate, designing new tools for dialogue and translating its outcomes into new design proposals. 

With this state of mind, this exhibition was not about showcasing absolute answers, nor did it wanted to impose perfect solutions. Rather, it aspired to offer other perspectives, alternative strategies for progress. Most importantly, it was a gift to the inhabitants of Saint-Gilles, an invitation to look differently at their everyday environment, to uncover the hidden opportunities that lay all around them and to facilitate the possibilities for them to be realized. 

In isolation some ideas might appear to be rather small and futile, not able to solve the larger issues that challenge the neighbourhood. But as a whole they have the potential to generate a new dynamic: to contribute to a broader sense of optimism and belonging, and to build a more lively neighbourhood in which it is simply nice to be.