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a graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for a more inclusive cityscape

arauna studio reclaims the city for pedestrians

 

Enlivening and reclaiming the streets of Barcelona, Arauna Studio has devised a new graphic image that enhances the city’s aesthetic appeal while serving as a recognizable code for assimilating new uses of urban space for pedestrians. As part of the Barcelona City Council’s initiative to adapt to new mobility needs and redefine ways in which the city is inhabited, ‘Tactical Urbanism’ generates a distinct, contemporary visual narrative rooted in the city’s vernacular language.

 

By seamlessly integrating a new graphic system, the project humanizes asphalt, transforming it from a cold and hostile material into a warm and inviting canvas. Inspired by Barcelona’s traditional paving stones, or panots, the design team has developed a flexible visual code that adapts to the diverse needs and contexts of each urban space. With an open-source toolbox and a custom typography, ‘Tactical Urbanism’ empowers citizens and city officials alike to reclaim and reimagine their streets, fostering sustainable mobility, community engagement, and a shared vision of a more inclusive cityscape.

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
all images by Arnau Rovira

 

 

‘tactical urbanism’ enlivens the streets of barcelona

 

Many areas in Barcelona grapple with air and acoustic pollution levels that exceed the World Health Organization’s standards, primarily due to the traffic of fossil-fuel powered vehicles. The fast-paced urban life also makes it challenging for citizens to gather socially, circulate freely, and find spaces for relaxation within the urban areas. Part of the council’s initiative for adaptation in the present context of the climate emergency, Barcelona-based Arauna Studio offers a solution by swiftly and inexpensively transforming street functions to reclaim urban space for the benefit of citizens. ‘Tactical Urbanism’ thus generates more pedestrian-friendly spaces for walking, playing, and relaxing, fostering a sense of community and well-being.

 

To facilitate the identification of tactical urbanism actions in Barcelona, Arauna Studio devised a graphic system using time and cost-effective paint application techniques to create the signage elements. Thoughtfully designed to ‘humanize asphalt’, the design brings warmth to areas covered by an inherently hostile material and reformulates the diverse range of situations, needs, and contexts that can occur within these areas.

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
Arauna Studio’s graphic intervention reclaims the city for pedestrians

 

 

a contemporary system derived from vernacular language

 

The system derives from the vernacular language of panots — Barcelona’s traditional paving stones that have shaped the city’s sidewalks since 1906 — though generating a visual narrative with a personality of its own in the modern context. By adapting these various original models, the design team has created a flexible graphic system that can easily be stencil painted, enabling infinite forms that respond to the diversity of urban spaces.

 

Recognizing the uniqueness of each street, neighborhood, and corner, ‘Tactical Urbanism’ avoids a one-size-fits-all treatment of the intervened areas. Instead, visually diverse solutions are projected by transforming the rigid grid of paving stones into an organic structure. The graphic system adapts through variations in color, scale, grades of figuration or abstraction in accordance with the referred panot. This open-source toolbox approach presents a range of resources that can be interpreted by both citizens and the teams responsible for implementing the action.

 

Further, Arauna Studio proposes a return to a common practice in Barcelona — etching street names on the pavement to guide pedestrians, instead of solely relying on street nameplates designed for motorists. The design team utilizes modules obtained from the panots to devise a custom typography, offering multiple variations for each character. This is used to indicate public space usage, street names, schools, and more, while also communicating the ongoing actions through digital media and signage. As such, it becomes a powerful tool for both reinforcing identity and communication, cohabiting with and reinforcing any tactical intervention.

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
‘Tactical Urbanism’ generates a contemporary visual narrative rooted in the city’s vernacular language

tactical-urbanism-arauna-studio-designboom-1

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
the flexible graphic code adapts to the diverse needs and contexts of each urban space

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
Arauna Studio draws on Barcelona’s traditional paving stones, or ‘panots’

tactical-urbanism-arauna-studio-designboom-3

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape
the painted elements serve as signage for pedestrians

arauna studio's graphic intervention transforms streets of barcelona for more inclusive cityscape

 

 

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project info:

 

name: Tactical Urbanism

location: Barcelona, Spain
designer: Arauna Studio 

design team: Dani Rubio Arauna, Pol Pintó, Sergi Llambrich, Pep Quílez

 

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

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