favela cafe by tadashi kawamata occupies art basel favela cafe by tadashi kawamata occupies art basel
jun 30, 2013

favela cafe by tadashi kawamata occupies art basel

favela cafe by tadashi kawamata occupies art basel
image © designboom



at arguably the largest art event in the world, japanese artist tadashi kawamata has occupied the art basel messeplatz with a favela, a neighborhood typology widespread in dense areas of brazil and recognizable for its crude and remarkably resourceful construction. the plaza is bordered by several designer buildings, including those of pritzker prize winners herzog &de meuron, and is the prime public gathering area for the foremost event of global art consumption; thereby making the appropriation of impoverished community architecture an event that toes the line between raising awareness and unabashed irony. the added layer of the basel favela as a cafe for art fair visitors reframes the installation as an exercise in the limits of mindful occupation– especially given the recent police intervention of an illegal party staged at the favela.




video of the installation and early use of the favela cafe 

video courtesy lukas gähwiler



basel goers sit at the cafe 
image © art basel 



each ‘hut’ was thought of as a room 
image © art basel 



view into the makeshift space 
image © art basel 



image © art basel 



image © art basel 



art basel visitors lounge in the favela cafe 
image © art basel 



image © art basel 



the cafe occupies most of messeplatz 
image © art basel



image © art basel 



image © art basel 



view of the modules 
image © art basel 


  • This is ridiculous… Offensive and ridiculous
    I believe that in such a rich world of marvelous influences, the improvisation of the less fortunate should be admired in a different way. Not exploiting creativity, but finding paths to work together as an interdependent society we can be.
    Honestly…. Art Basel + Favelas = Outrageous

    Tsch says:
  • In fact, “favela” is the name of a shrub that grows in northeastern Brazil.
    Soldiers, based on Rio de Janeiro, which were to the northeast for a battle, called Canudos, the name of the thorp, in 1897, were poor and nearly all were former slaves, freed by the Lei Áurea (Golden Law) of 1888. To them were promised houses, when returned. The promise was not fulfilled and they took possession of maritime container woods existing at the port of Rio de Janeiro. They nailed the wood structural pieces on the hill of Providence , in the city center of Rio de Janeiro.
    The view of the Providência hill, filled with those stakes resembled the hill of Canudos, filled with dry “favela” trees, because of the season of the year.
    Hence arose the name of this type of settlements created in Brazil, by the less assisted classes by the government.

    Sérgio Werneck de Figueiredo says:
  • just playing a “little bit” of poverty in this context, funny isn’t it?
    why not making a funny action touristic trip into the real favelas? greetings from Disneyland.
    the real power of this installation is the emptyness and the indigence of the creator to reality.

    eR Molinero says:
  • I cannot imagine an offensive intention in the artist’s work, but perhaps a naive point of view on what life in a favela is. It is hard to believe that living there may have a chic side or that residents enjoy mojitos while reading on an iPad or such things when it is raining or wind blowing inside their homes. Perhaps since the Campanas, the favela look and feel became something cool. But beyond any aesthetical consideration, it would be nice that rich societies should deepen its vision about poor environments and do not trivialize sad and morally unacceptable situations.

    Carlos says:
  • and here you can see the real consequences of this decadent hipsterism:


    “Police operation against illegal party before Art Basel
    On the Basel exhibition center, there has been a violent confrontation on Friday evening between the Basel police and participants in a non-authorized party. Sda
    The police had been engaged to a criminal complaint to the Fair Switzerland, who leased the space for the art fair Art Basel.

    When the police wanted to make about 22 a clock unlicensed music system, several persons bottles, chairs and paint bombs were thrown at the police officers, police said on Saturday. You have to use it, crumb rubber and irritant need .

    The violent confrontation lasted only a few minutes. The majority of the participants of the unapproved action went off afterwards. There have been no arrests, a police spokesman said on request. About any material damage was previously unknown.

    At the exhibition space is continuous until Sunday during the Art Basel art project from boards cottage with the title “favela café.” In addition, according to the police had begun on Friday afternoon several people to conduct their own spontaneous action.

    The Fair Switzerland have let the people of this unapproved “favela” first grant and sought dialogue. Multiple calls the show to turn off the music and stop the action are, however, participants failed. Meanwhile, the group had grown to about a hundred people.

    Finally it provided fair complaint as the police spokesman said. After a warning, the police had no success, decided this, make sure the music system to stop the music. It then came to the violent incidents.”

    Article Copyright by “Tageswoche”, Switzerland

    Pablo Mo says:
  • Recrear las favelas del Tercer mundo en Basel es una un ejercicio de dominio cultural de Occidente, taxonómico, decadente,inmoral, exotizante y ofensivo.

    René says:

    CICCIO says:
  • “There have been no arrests, a police spokesman said on request. ”
    lies. after the closing doors, lots of participants was arrested.

    wedz says:
  • Irony is too ambiguous a word for the brazen appropriation of the effects of poverty for the amusement of the super rich. The Marie Antoinette syndrome is alive and well. One only wishes that the consequences were similar.

    crw says:
  • hipster made non-authorized party in Switzerland..
    be serious..

    jk says:
  • As crw says ,

    ” The Marie Antoinette syndrome is alive and well .”

    Bad taste ” amusing ” slum week end for all the insular well healed tossers.

    Hanna says:

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