⚠️ Protections
“Ways to avoid unpleasant crashes between civilians and pubblic infrastructures”


Nomadic structures insinuate themselves into the urban landscape, altering its appearance and the paths of its inhabitants.

The coldness of the metal that composes them is camouflaged by soft coloured elements, certainly useful for avoiding unpleasant crashes with passers-by, but unaware of their visual impact in the synthetic enviroment that hosts them.

These are uniquely shaped elements that can be altered by simple cutting and can be adapted to different types of support due to their flexibility.

Their arrangement is often done quickly and crudely, the result of functional necessity rather than aesthetic research.

I wonder what other applications these elements might have and what their visual impact might be if they would be arranged according to a visual logic.

Shape and material of composition allow different types of elements to be covered.
They are mainly used around metal pipes or other solid materials.

During the observation process, it’s noticeable that their shape does not include holes or other supports useful for adhering the element to the supporting structure.

Therefore, different types of closures are often improvised, mostly extremely temporary, which affect the visual impact of the structure.

analysis of thedifferent types of “closures”used:

1. adhesive tape 
(variable colour depending on availability);

2. cable ties 
(extremely effective but not very enviromentaly friendly);

3. barrier tape
(clearly used in th absence of other supports, very fragile and often with an abstract layout);

4. interlocking 
(the element is only adhered to the support structure).

In most cases bright and recognisable colours are used which stand out from the urban context.

The predominant colour is yellow, of which there are many different shades.
Each scaffold is normally composed of elements of the same colour.

It is extremely rare, however possible, to have different colours in the same structure.

The drawing illustrates the shades encountered so far during the observation process.

The repetition of these coloured elements and their size inevitably influences the perception of the urban context, while remaining a purely functional element.

︎Exercise 01
As identified in the observation process, “protections” generally modify the urban landscape through their always bright colours that allow them to be easily identified by pedestrians as well as acting as a soft shield, preventing them from unpleasant collisions with the scaffolding they wear.

Wandering around the city, I started to "steal" some "protections" to better understand their properties and to imagine new possible applications deriving from the limits of the material they are made of.

The collection of a wide range of colours took a long time.

I have noticed that the most commonly used colour is yellow, while it has been more difficult to recover red and in particular green.

Always wandering around with a small pocket cutter allowed me to be always ready to recover new colours in case I located new ones.

An initial storage of materials allowed me to observe how the urban space I inhabit is incredibly colourful and, in its own way, extremely soft.

︎Exercise 02
This investigation led me to collect approximately 25 metres and 5 different colours of polyethylene foam.

Nevertheless, it's still not clear to me whether the fact that different colours can be found there comes from a specific reason, the truth is that each scaffold corresponds to one colour only:

a language that I have always found extremely static and monotonous considering the range of colours available.

For some time, within the urban space, I searched for a specific scaffold whose size would have allowed me to play with it and with the materials I collected.

What I was looking for was a scaffold that was relatively small and located on a secondary street.
Aware that since I would have found it I’d have had to act fast due to its limited time value, I was lucky enough to find what I was looking for a couple of blocks from where I live.

The proposed intervention had no precise rules, it simply wanted to interact in a playful way with an element placed within the urban space.
Again, I gave a lot of importance to the temporal permanence of the scaffold and the relative ephemeral value of the exercise.

I wonder what the workers' reaction was the next morning, and if, to those who were used to walk down that street on a daily basis, this unexpected encounter simply drew them a smile.

self_else 2022