Synoikia Pittaki

Format Installation

City Athens, Greece

Pittaki Street, Psirri – What would happen if old furniture could be repurposed to give life to an abandoned spot in the city? Synoikia Pittaki consists of a participatory intervention in the city’s landscape that aims at creating a new urban experience. Selected abandoned, degraded and deteriorated places in the city are transformed through collective interventions with the active involvement of citizens. The main emphasis here is on the process of transforming those areas through the keen participation of the residents combined with the collaboration of a creative community of public and private bodies.

Pittaki Street is a pedestrian street located in the Psirri district in the center of Athens. Despite it being next to the main commercial street in the city, the presence of residents, passers-by and visitors is gradually reducing, while closed shops and scarce lighting at night bring about a feeling of unsafety and hostility. At the same time, the surrounding district houses a mix of small stores and traditional craft workshops, with old lighting and furniture. This contradiction inspired the idea of a participatory light installation as a challenge to test urban revitalization on a small scale. Residents and creative minds of the city responded positively to the invitation and contributed dozens of table and floor lamps, shades, ceiling lights and more decorative lighting material in a mix of contemporary, traditional and funky styles, in order to lighten up a disfavored street in the center of Athens.

Location Find the spot

Know your neighbourhood: Is there any neglected, abandoned and/or dark street that could be reimagined? What are the assets and the unique identity of your neighbourhood that you could make use of?

People Power Team Up

Form your team. Find like-minded people and start discussing the idea of the urban intervention. See your idea take shape into concrete actions! In the case of Synoikia Pittaki, the intervention featured lighting fixtures, but you can be creative and find the solution that best fits in your neighbourhood: greenery, coloured objects, and the like. The main purpose is to give new life to and bring forth the identity of the neighbourhood, and get citizens involved in the process.

Things you need Collect collect collect

When you finalize the details of the urban intervention, try and get citizens involved for the collection of materials. In our case, all lights were collected from locals through an open call and then refurbished by our team, with the help of other volunteers.

Official / Legal By the law

Before everything starts, make sure you have the local authorities aboard! Apply for and secure all necessary permissions before starting to build your intervention on location.

Funding Cha-ching!

Most of the expenses can be acquired through in-kind donations and sponsorships. Check in the neighbourhood and approach people and businesses that will be directly affected by the intervention, and ask them for their support.

Communication Be open to the neighbourhood

You may be surprised by the acceptance of your intervention by the local community. Get them involved from the very beginning and throughout all of your actions, and listen carefully to their proposals. The best way to approach the local community is always through door-to-door invitations and building interpersonal relationships.