Principal Statements / History
Urban Shade, a joint project of Design Museum Holon and Beracha Foundation, seeks to incorporate design in the urban space through discussion of the possible roles shade and shading systems can play in a city. While this question appears to be self-evident, it has in fact only been indirectly addressed by contemporary design; design competitions have rarely focused on this subject, and works produced by designers on the subject remain isolated excursions that do not evolve into formulated conceptual ideas.
In the public sphere, which is the focus of Urban Shade, treatment of the subject is even less convincing. Planned under the aegis of international modernism developed in European countries, public spaces in other climatic contexts prove to be extremely constrained and ineffectual. These problematic spaces comprise a large part of the context of our daily life in cities. Under these conditions, discussing shade can be understood as more than a design challenge; it becomes a social, political, and economic concern, involving questions of globalization, social inequalities, materiality, and the role of the designer. Urban Shade engages with these and other questions, using Israel as a case study and testing ground for new design hypotheses.
1. Shade is an urban question, as it highlights the inherent tension between universal modernist planning and site-specific climatic conditions.2. Shade is a social question, as it draws boundaries between the have and have-nots, between privatized air-conditioned spaces, and public spaces that become almost uninhabitable during the long summer months.
In May 2012, Beracha Foundation and Design Museum Holon initiated a year-long research project on the topic of shading in public space, which was followed by recognition that this theme, which seems so important in Israel's climatic conditions, has never been seriously addressed on a large scale. Research has explored historical, social, and design aspects of public shading in general and in the Israel's built environment in particular.
The research project concluded in May 2013, with the appointment of an international advisory board for the project. The board convened for a three-day symposium at Design Museum Holon to discuss the best possible way of transforming the research into a proactive project aimed at generating a real change in public spaces through shading.
The Urban Shade competition is the result of these fruitful discussions, which not only framed the importance and relevance of the topic, but also ways to actualize it as a project, as well as its goals.
*** Every effort has been made to locate the copyright owners of the images included in this project. Omissions brought to our attention will be corrected accordingly.