Flexibility - Design in a Fast Changing Society, is an exhibition addressing the various topics of flexibility in the design of products and systems. Invited to design one of nine specially commissioned installations, we designed SPECTRE*, inspired by ubiquitous sandbags. Located in a former prison in Torino, our installation occupies one of the cells. The sandbag is a pervasive object used in situations of emergency and temporary set-up. By giving the sandbag a new “skin” of felt and a new context, we transform the way it is perceived. The colorful sandbags are composed to suggest a domestic landscape. As such they become functional as a comfortable and flexible furniture and divider system. No particular mode of use is prescribed, the set-up can be easily modified for a change of situation. A sandbag barricade in a home may appear like a surrealistic operation or it may inspire the childhood memory of creating a make-believe hideout. Nevertheless, it is a constant reminder of potential emergency situations: a spectre.
The installation talks about a condition that is no longer seen as an exceptional circumstance, but as a new reality. One in which improvisation and impermanence are the prevailing aesthetic. It reflects a state of alertness that may feel unsettling, at the same time it expresses a liberation of not being rooted and an almost childlike playfulness.