UNIDENTIFIED INSECT

UNIDENTIFIED INSECT

Open Doors:

Installation for Immigrant Assimilation

LAW JIA HAO ⤬ TWISHA MEHTA

THE BRIEF

Conceiving a design that would recreate the experience of being a foreigner in France

THE OUTCOME

y.ello

A redesigned public mailbox. A symbol to create dialogue, between immigrants and natives while keeping the State as a key actor in the background.

EXHIBITED AT

ASSARVA, Ville d'Avray

(Association pour l'Accueil de Réfugiés à Ville d'Avray), an NGO based in Ville d'Avray focused on helping refugees in France.

We decided to focus on creating dialogue in order to celebrate diversity and the beauty that can be found in our differences from one another. We spent a few hours walking around Ville d'Avray, looking for inspiration for the design. We were struck by the ubiquity of the French post box and how it contributes to defining the identity of French cities, especially for foreigners. Just like how strangers become friends with a simple 'hello', we decided to use the box as a way to inspire unexpected communications and the sharing of possibilities.

Storyboard of Interactions with y.ello

We imagined the post box inviting passersby to drop a postcard, addressed to "a new friend". Another resident walking by would open the box to find it and decide to write back. Through this, an exchange of dialogue, views, culture and even recipes will begin. Slowly but surely, a greater understanding and empathy between strangers can be developed.

To subtly transform the post box and differentiate it from an otherwise official La Poste one, we developed three personas based on real-life immigrant stories shared by iamamigrant.org. These stories were then used to anthropomorphise the post box, and transforms an institutional use object into a new reference element in urban space, making it capable of unexpected communications and sharing possibilities.

 

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©TWISHA MEHTA 2020

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