Bogotá is a city that has been gravely affected by the pandemic, not only has the city had one of the longest forced quarantines since the beginning of the pandemic, but it is a city where the vast majority of the population cannot work from home.
This has led to an internal socio-economic crisis where several sectors have been gravely damnified. As an example, 40% of the cities restaurants have been forced to shut down leaving thousands unemployed.
As such, On the 4th of September, the local government launched the program "Bogota a cielo abierto" the reopening of 100 streets for outdoor dining and reactivate their services.
At this point, the Colombian Society of Architects summoned a group of talented designers to intervene in the local market plaza called La Perseverancia.
We were asked to design an outdoor dining solution where the client essentially had no funds for the project. Quickly we realized that designing in a context that was in the middle of a socio-economic crisis asked us to think outside of traditional building materials.
We concluded that the design had to be built with materials that were already part of our day-to-day routines, which could be recycled or reused into architecture to save costs. This led us to investigate construction infrastructure as inhabitable architecture. We decided that scaffolding was the most appropriate construction system due to its modularity, accessibility, and “outdoor feel”.
We were not convinced that Bogotá citizens would think of dining in a scaffolding as a memorable experience due to the material´s “industrial” and “cold” qualities. As such we were looking for materials that could soften up the interior of the proposal. This led us to investigate soft textiles.
Additionally, Our design solution was to think of physical distancing not only as a horizontal solution but rather as a vertical one. This crates additional tables to increase the plaza´s occupancy. We are happy to say that the sales of the restaurants inside the plaza increased 300% during the first month.
This is an unusual moment in recent history where public and private entities are desperately searching for fresh solutions to reactivate the economy. Leading to an increased value in designers.
Considering that, Bogotá is a traditional context where design is not as valued as it is in other places of the world. The 2020 pandemic has proved to our city the positive value that architects and designers bring to society.