Spatial interventions for Faneromeni 16

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PROJECT REPORT 10.2016 Spatial Inter ventions by Urban Gorillas at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation courtyard to support the planned activities for Faneromeni16


CONTENTS

The spatial interventions realised were close to the original vision: to transform a beautiful and under-used courtyard into a colourful, interactive and multiprogramatic open public space in the centre of the c i t y.

INTRODUCTION

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PROJ E C T OV E RV I EW

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W HAT WO R K E D

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O B S E R VA T I O N A L S T U D Y

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R E C O M M E N DAT I O N S

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Project Report


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INTRODUCTION

A good city is like a good party - people stay longer than really necessary because they are enjoying themselves. - Jan Gehl

This report presents the results of a research study that maps and analyses the impact on numbers of visitors to the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation (BoCCF) grounds following the five actions carried out by Urban Gorillas.

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Site-specific installations tranformed the courtyard of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation into an interactive space for public use

In the first part of the report the realised project and its aims are presented. The second part of the report shows the results of the observational studies carried forward to analyse and examine flows of people and interaction with the work realised by Urban Gorillas. In the last and concluding part of the report, a number of suggestions to maintain the usage of the courtyard are brought forward based on our observations. The data collected and the insights and conclusions derived will be valuable for the BoCCF in measuring the impact of its Summer 2016 Programme, and useful in planning further activities in its continued outreach to the public.

Ab out Urb an G or i l las Urban Gorillas are a diverse team of creative urbanites united by their common vision and enthusiasm for constantly improving life in the city. Our mission is to activate public spaces and transform them, even temporarily, into lively and creative hubs that encourage sustainable living, citizen participation and diverse social interactions. Urb an G or i l las at t he B an k of Cypr us Cultural Foundation

Wo r k i n p r o g r e s s | Photo by Urb an G or i l las

With this approach, Urban Gorillas presented an interactive and thematic series of spatial interventions at the BoCCF through the Summer of 2016 to set the scene for the Foundation’s Faneromeni16 programme of events. The Foundation’s courtyard is a private space that is offered for public use during the opening hours of the Foundation itself. Urban Gorillas were also interested to explore the lines between private and public space.

The nig ht b efore t he launch of Faneromeni16 | Photo by Urb an G or i l las


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Mural art reinterpreting features and elements from the BoCCF's collections

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PROJECT OVERVIEW

Urban Gorillas intervened in the space with a series of actions that would revitalise the BoCCF courtyard, while re-presenting its collections in new and interactive formats to enhance their appeal to a wider audience. These actions brought temporary change to the space with the effect of creating curiosity for passers-by to enter and make greater use of the courtyard as an urban public space. The actions helped to change the public perception of the Foundation’s outdoor spaces and their attractiveness and accessibility as places to meet, rest and play. Through temporary / ephemeral interventions, a permanent change is imprinted on the visitor after experiencing the space in new ways. The actions realised by Urban Gorillas complemented each other, so that people visiting the café or attending an event would experience the installations and artworks, and vice versa.

Mural art created by Mathieu Devavry and Eli Zaarour Photo by Adelina Brunescu ΑΔΛ Photography

Bespoke modular structures were created to provide focal points for seating and shaded spaces with the use

of bold colours and lighting elements at night. Visitors were invited to view and write postcards, read books from the BoCCF Library and experience and interact in new ways with the surroundings. The structures changed the space – by day, and by night – with the effect of creating curiosity for passers-by to enter the courtyard that is in the very centre of the city, and use it as a shared place to meet, rest and play. Graffiti walls brought colour and original artworks to the space, also inspired by the Foundation’s collections. Additionally the building and adjoining streets were highlighted with ephemeral installations of fabrics and stickers that splashed colour in and around the courtyard and the Foundation building, raising curiosity through visual and aesthetic effects. The aim was to enhance the image of the Foundation itself in the public eye, but also the Foundation’s communication and relationship with the urban neighbourhood within which it is situated.


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PROJ E C T OV E RV I EW

Objectives The overall objectives of the intervention by Urban Gorillas were to: -enhance the space -make the space more appealing for public use -transform the courtyard into a colourful outdoor area where cultural events and social interactions can take place and -bring the public closer to the Foundation itself and its extensive collections How We Achieved The Objectives The interventions in and around the BoCCF courtyard took artworks from the Foundations’ own collections and offered them in new and interactive formats to the wider public. All artworks from the Foundation’s collections and archives used in the installations were selected in consultation with the staff of the BoCCF. Through this project, art was brought out of the gallery/museum environment and onto the street level for the enjoyment of a wide and diverse public. In line with Urban Gorillas' ethos and approach the installations created new experiential effects on visitors to the space; through the use of architectural and temporary spatial interventions a permanent change is imprinted on the visitor after experiencing the space in new ways. Furthermore the actions enhance the Foundation’s communication and relationship with the urban neighbourhood within which it is situated, while also reaching new audiences. The BoCCF’s courtyard became an identifiable landmark in the city as an event venue and meeting place, a point of reference for the city, and its people through the use of colourful, creative, innovative and playful elements.

One of the main aims of the intervention was to bring art out of the Museum and closer to the wider public.

The result of the interventions led to an exciting and experiential space for public use

Which Actions We Carried Out Meet&Eat_Rest&Play This was a spatial intervention that enhanced the courtyard, expanding it into an attractive meeting area that included seating and shaded spaces where people could eat, rest and play. Urban Gorillas created bespoke structures that are modular, moveable and multifunctional, and each with its own playful interactive elements incorporated – sand-play, postcards, gardening and library, using elements from the Foundation’s own collections. Each structure features a painting from the Foundation’s collections, that is re-presented in the form of large-scale printed fabrics that complete the structure. The postcard installation took a selection from the Foundation’s archives that depict public spaces in Nicosia over the last 100 years, while the books in the open library structure are from the publications of the Foundation. Thus the BoCCF’s collections were brought out of the archives and onto the street level for the enjoyment of the wider public. The structures are lit at night, creating ambience and enhancing the space after dark as well as during the day. The structures can be moved to other locations beyond the BoCCF, and can continue to be used in various ways. Sticker City With Sticker City, Urban Gorillas took elements from the BoCCF’s painting collections out of the building, and placed them quite literally onto the street. Elements from two paintings were playfully reinterpreted and printed onto adhesive sheets and cut and installed along pedestrian streets and walls around the Foundation, as well as within the courtyard space itself. While the artworks get re-presented out in public, the effect of the installations were also of creating public curiosity and interest in the BoCCF and its collections. The stickers also brought temporary enhancement to the space visually and aesthetically, even creating focal points and ‘setting the stage’ within the courtyard for other events such as concerts to be set up around them.

Relax St r uc ture | Photo by Urb an G or i l l las


PROJ E C T OV E RV I EW

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Fabric City To create communication between the structures within the courtyard, the outside facades of the Foundation building and the public and the passer-by, Urban Gorillas printed large-scale fabrics with details selected from the BoCCF’s painting collections. These giant fabrics were installed in the main entrance of the building on Faneromenis, and on the ironwork of the windows facing Socratous Street. They provided huge splashes of colour for visual appeal, as well as movement with the wind, giving aesthetic appeal and attracting the passers-by to look up at the building and see art works re-presented in new formats while enhancing their walk in the neighbourhood. The transformation of the building was effective within moments of installing the fabrics. Off The Wall This intervention saw original art creation happening out in public to further transform the visual appeal of the BoCCF courtyard space, and create a talking point that people would want to visit on a walking tour of the city. Two murals were created following a study of elements from the Foundation's collections. Off The Wall brings art out of the gallery / museum and onto the street level, creating a wider appeal to different audiences. Once in the space to see the wall art, people would stay at the café and enjoy the overall experience of being in the courtyard of the Foundation. Beyond The Courtyard This one-day intervention was executed as an extension of the Urban Gorillas research work at the Foundation’s Courtyard. Three of the structures, (Meet&Eat, Relax and Postcards) were moved to a busy public square in order to observe the flow, movement and interaction of the public in relation to these structures. This observational study was planned so as to explore differences in the usage and function of the structures in a public setting outside the Foundation’s courtyard.

Off The wall

Fabric City

Play

Sticker City

Site-specific installations Photos by Urban Gorillas


PROJ E C T OV E RV I EW

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Creative Director

Mark Lieshen

Urban Gorillas' site-specific installations including Sticker City set the stage for the launch event of Faneromeni16 Photo by Panayiotis Mina

Rest&Play: Postcard Interactive Structure and Plant Structure

Beyond BoCCF Courtyard

Meet&Eat and Library Structure Site-specific installations Photos by Urban Gorillas


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WHAT WORKED

W HAT WO R K E D

The main mural facing the courtyard caught and engaged the attention of many passers-by who stop and look at it from Socratous Street, even through the iron fence.

Meet&Eat_Rest&Play

Seven thematic structures were conceived and constructed in order to transform the Foundation’s courtyard. The structures offered seating spaces to the public, fulfilling the requirement requested by the Foundation. Additional modular cubes were also created, extending the seating capacity of the café area with up to 40 extra seating spaces. On all event days, the structures were very popular and widely used by the public. In particular, the Library and Relax structures were the favourites for adults, and the Play structure extremely popular with children. All the structures are mobile, therefore offering the end-user and the Foundation's operators multiple possibilities for their use, according to different needs. Furthermore, Urban Gorillas has suggested a series of spatial configurations of ‘packing’ the structures for the winter season, after the Faneromeni16 programme of events is concluded. With Meet&Eat_Rest&Play Urban Gorillas have succeeded in ‘dressing’ the empty courtyard with colour and form, while offering various possibilities for function and usage.

O f f T h e Wa l l | P h o t o b y P a n a y i o t i s M i n a

Off The Wall

Our observations showed that the Off The Wall proved to be a major attraction, in particular the main mural facing the courtyard. It catches and engages the attention of many passers-by who stop and look at it from Socratous Street, even through the iron fence. Many people enter the site through the main gate, and walk directly over to the mural, or stop in front of it and photograph it, or photograph themselves in front of it. Based on these observations, we believe that Off The Wall will continue to be a point of reference in the city, and something that any walking tour of the city should include. Off The Wall has been a highly successful intervention in the space in terms of (a) improving the aesthetics of the space with colour and original artwork that represents the Foundation and attracts people to the outdoor space and (b) placing the Foundation’s courtyard more visibly on the Nicosia map in terms of having a sight worth seeing for locals and visitors alike that reaches far beyond the Faneromeni16 programme. Off The Wall brings art closer to anyone who visits or even passes the BoCCF courtyard, creatively expressing in this public domain the diversity of the collections held by the Foundation.

→Suggestions

→Suggestions

-Loan the structures out to other organisations for use around the city. The structures can be placed in other sites in the city - or even other cities - by way of promoting the Foundation through participation in other street / cultural events. -Maintain the structures in the courtyard beyond the Faneromeni16 programme. This will assist in sustaining the public’s curiosity, use and memories of the place as being more than an event venue.

-QR Code it to give smartphone users the opportunity to learn more about the work, the artists, the Foundation and its collections -Hashtag it so its popularity can be observed over social media in Cyprus and internationally.

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W HAT WO R K E D

Fabric City

Fabric City proved to bring impactful visual appeal through colour and movement to the outside of the BoCCF building. As with Sticker City, through a relatively simple installation, a lasting effect was created that unified the outside of the building with the actions taking place in the inner courtyard. In this instance, once again art was taken out of the museum and re-presented for all through the innovative use of the facades of the building. Facades are an element of public space and they offer a communication opportunity with the public. Through an ephemeral intervention the building and the adjoining street were changed, along with people’s experience of these spaces in their routine activities, or visits to the area. →Suggestions -Consider periodically changing the fabrics, for example in the lead-up to a new exhibition opening or other events, in particular in the entrance area of the Foundation -Consider larger scale installations with fabrics in other areas of the building and courtyard

Sticker City

We observed Sticker City to be another highly effective intervention in raising public awareness of the BoCCF, as well as curiosity to find and enter the courtyard, even when no events were taking place. With the first installation, our observations showed that people would notice the stickers, and discuss them with their friends, wondering what they were and following them from Ledra Street and Faneromenis onto Socratous, and to the entrance of the Courtyard to view the space, and to enter and explore it further. Children were the most freely engaged with the stickers; they would independently invent games, alone or in pairs / groups, for example hopping and skipping from one circle to the next and zig-zagging along the path created by the stickers. The installation sparked discussions and questions, which we assess as a positive interaction between people and their city. They would ask what the stickers are, what are they for and what do they mean.

Additionally, and in line with the other installations and works completed by the Urban Gorillas team, the stickers had the desired effect of bringing (a) colour to the space; (b) aesthetic enhancement to the space, e.g. with the circles; (c) art from within the BoCCF’s collections literally out onto the street and closer to the public (d) raising public curiosity and awareness of the Foundation itself and public use of its courtyard. In addition to drawing people to the space, Sticker City offered bursts of colour throughout the grounds as well, which also proved highly impactful on event days. For example, during the opening concert by the AfroBandaBanana the large circle stickers were the aesthetic focal point and floor of the ‘stage’ where the band set up and performed, and the lead singer stood barefoot on the largest central dot. The stickers proved highly durable; even under the summer sun and the foot traffic, they endured and their impact continued. The collaborative effort with the BoCCF staff and the cleaning that was done before the installation proved invaluable, as it allowed the correct installation of the stickers, which in turn meant they were able to last. We found the artwork for the second Sticker City installation equally attractive and even more playful in itself, one of the main reasons for the selection made. It was unfortunate that the installation could not be allowed to stay longer so as to be enjoyed by more people, and even promoting the artist’s work to a wider public. Moreover given the success of the first installation, the renewed visual appeal brought about by a fresh installation did not reach its maximum potential in this second instance.

Mobile structures were designed to be flexible to use and easy to move. The structures have been further used by other groups for site-specific performances in the city centre of Nicosia.

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Secret Performance | Photo by Panayiotis Mina

→Suggestions -Consider doing more sticker installations in the future, for example in the lead-up to a new exhibition opening or other events -Exploit the BoCCF’s location with such actions by using the pedestrian neighbourhood to communicate with the public and physically direct people to notice and enter the space.

Play Structure Relax Structure Photos by Urb an G or i l las


Photo by Panayiotis Mina

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Photo by

OBSERVATIONAL

STUDY

Over our site-studies at different times and on different days of the week, including event days and non-event days, we made the following observations:

Most people entering the site do so from the Socratous entrance, and far less do so from the white gate next to the ATM on Lykourgou. Foot traffic around the building, especially on Socratous and Lykourgou Streets is low when compared with Ledra Street and the neighbouring Faneromeni area. Families with young children are more likely to stay and use the space – children are safe and free to play, offering an activity area for children and a rest space for parents Teenagers use the courtyard space the most, primarily as a free hang-out spot. Children are the least inhibited in exploring the space, freely running around the site and interacting with the structures.

Uncertainty – What is this? Can I enter? We observed many people making hesitant moves: being curious to enter, but standing near the entrance and leaving again, or entering up to the circle, making a round to see the structures from close up and leaving. There is a clear perception of the place as being private, or an event venue, or by invitation only. We heard many instances of conversations indicating that the identity of the place is in fact one of a festival: What is this? Ah, it’s Faneromeni16. The Cypriot public is over-cautious and hesitant and it seems people need to be informed or invited in order to enter more comfortably; the international community and tourists seemed more comfortable to enter and explore. Once we observed this we started talking to people and had informal discussions with visitors and passers-by whereby comments indicated that they see it as an event venue, and not a place where you can just enter and hang out. Passers-by would enter and ask, What’s on tonight, is there any performance / event tonight? Many people enter for the mural specifically, spending time to look at it and photograph it and then go on to explore the rest of the site; others who enter with a general interest tend to stop first at the mural and then go to explore the rest of the courtyard


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O B S E R VA T I O N A L S T U D Y

The Postcard installation was a point of curiosity and interaction; the cards were filled with messages and the structure itself with the ‘steps’ going up was inviting to children and adults to enter and explore. Other groups appropriated the space as a free working space; for example an Erasmus group hosted a photography workshop at the site and used the Library structure for this. The Relax structure was popular for resting, texting, internet browsing, and people watching. Costa Coffee alone is not enough to draw a regular crowd to this ‘hidden’ space. The structures were frequently used by people taking a break, and having a rest and a coffee. Many people stayed in the space and used the structures while socialising well beyond the end time of programmed events like screenings and concerts.

W h a t T h e D a t a Te l l s Us Uncer tainty – What is this? Can I enter? – We o b s e r v e d m a n y people making hesitant moves – being c u r i o u s t o e n t e r, b u t standing near the entrance and leaving again, or entering up to the circle, making a round to see the structures from close up and leaving. There is a clear perception of the place as being private, or an event venue, or by invitat i o n o n l y.

Main observations 1. Average Movement on Socratous Street -From 2-4 pm Socratous Street has on average 60 people passing by -From 4-6 pm Socrates Street has on average 80 people passing by -From 6-8pm Socrates Street has on average 100 people passing by -Around 65% of the people passing Socratous Street arrive from Ledras -On average 1.5 persons per hour will use the courtyard as a shortcut between Socratous and Lykourgou Streets. The population distribution of passers-by in Socratous Street are as follows: 5% = tourists 20% = teenagers 25% = families with children 50 % = other (couples, singles, people who live or work in the area, all ages)


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O B S E R VA T I O N A L S T U D Y

What The Data Tells Us

Main observations

This research study gave us insight to some important numbers, ways of usage of the street, and an examination of people's behaviours. These will be important considerations for further actions to be taken for interventions in the BoCCF’s courtyard. Six sitebased observations took place in the month of September 2016 and one in April 2016 prior to the installations.

2. Observing the space with installations: On average: - 10 people enter the space per hour - 20 people per hour stand outside the gate to look inside the courtyard - 40 people per hour look inside the courtyard as they are passing by During our observations before the installation, an average of 1.5 people would enter the courtyard per hour, that was used as a shortcut, and nobody would stop to look inside the courtyard or stay and use the space in any other way.

3. Entering and using the space: Teenagers and children are the primary users of the space. They are the ones who stay a bit longer than just observing, and make use of the space. On average from the people entering the space, 15% are teenagers. From these about 10% are young people who actually enjoy the place with their friends, often at the top of the amphitheatre. Children and families frequently enter the space and this group makes up for about 50% of the total people entering the space on non-event days. We consistently observed children using the space freely to run around, and they especially liked the Relax, Play and Postcard structures. Informal discussions with parents led us to the conclusion that they are really attracted to this place as it offers the children a big, interactive and safe play area, while also allowing the parents an opportunity for a rest. Another significant group that made up 25 % of the total number of people entering the space is the tourist crowd. They enter the space more freely, and stay comfortably longer for observations and to take photos. This is about the same number as the local people entering the space to observe. In contrast with the local population, tourists do not hesitate to enter, while local people are hesitantly observing at the entrance. It seems they are concerned about entering what they perceive to be a private space that requires permission or invitation. One third of the people entering the space take photos. The most popular elements for photos are: the mural art and the Postcard structure. Examination of Interaction with Structures Placed in Faneromeni Square This observation study has been crucial for Urban Gorillas as we wanted to understand more about the behavioural patterns of passers-by in this popular public space. We also wanted to examine how three of the structures - Table, Relax and Postcards - were used by the public when placed in an open square, in comparison to how they were used when they were in the BoCCF courtyard.

The three structures were placed in Faneromeni Square, in the open space between the church, the school, the Three Lanterns coffee shop and the Arablar Mosque / Stavros tou Misirikou. The structures were placed there on Saturday, 8 October and remained on-site between 8.30am through to 4 pm. During this time, we observed hundreds of people passing by, taking photos of the structures, or just observing, but no adult would actually use them. Once again, children were the ones who would run around and interact with the structures, but yet only for a short time as they were advised from their parents that they shouldn’t touch ‘that thing’, apparently out of caution not to use something that requires special permission or belonged to someone else. This was particularly interesting so we started to have informal discussions with passers-by to understand this behaviour. We have understood that people were feeling that if they interact with the structures they would interfere, or that they would do something that they were not allowed/supposed to be doing. People were hurriedly taking photos of each other sitting on the structures and running off as though they were doing something that was prohibited. Our conclusion is that people in Cyprus are a little reserved and do not yet fully understand the ideology behind a public offering. However when the action or installation is explained, then the response is positive and we observed people becoming more at ease, and going on to explore and interact more comfortably with the structures. Given that people would stay on after the events and relax and enjoy the space by using the structures was a strong indicator of the successful impact of Urban Gorillas' interventions. Installations in public spaces should be accompanied by messages explaining the concept and the freedom of people to explore at will. Thus making sure the public understands the installation is a central learning that we derived from these observations. Actions like these realised at the BoCCF courtyard will continue to engage the public, until the right to claim public space becomes part of everyday life.


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R E C O M M E N DAT I O N S

FOR THE NEAR FUTURE

RECOMENDATIONS • Keep the large gates open at all times to communicate the openness and accessibility of the space to the public. • Place information at the entrance communicating that the space is open and free to use, and not only as an event venue. • Have projections on the wall or indeed on the ground / in the street / at the entrance attracting the attention of passers-by and informing them about the space being open and free for public use to generate curiosity and inform and engage the public. • Place and ‘pack’ the structures in one of the spatial configurations suggested by Urban Gorillas and have them lit at night. With this spatial configuration, the structures will be all packed together in one piece, creating therefore a powerful ‘grand’ installation in the courtyard. In the day they can still be used for sitting, while at night they will animate the courtyard and Socratous street with their striking ambience.

• Place stickers or other installations at the intersection of Socratous with Ledras and Faneromenis, as well as the wider Faneromeni area to spark curiosity and interaction of the public with the Foundation, and draw passers-by to the site. • Keep the structures set-up and lit in the next season at night, especially as it gets darker earlier, to create an ambience and attraction for the passer-by. • The space is acoustically empty; we recommend having different kinds of (background) music playing during non-event days and times. • Remove the ‘Faneromeni 16’ sign, and develop the identity of the space as the yard of the BoCCF that is open to all, that can have multi-uses, and not only as a programme-specific event venue; persist in the promotion of the space as one that is freely available to the public, if the intention is to maintain this use and identity of the place. • Persist in these efforts and activities as a means to cultivate the culture of participation, and by way of bringing culture closer to the wider public.


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O ut of t he C our tyard | Obs er vat iona l study at Faneromeni S quare | Photos by Urb an G or i l las

Cre dits of Ar tworks Use d from the Foundation's C ol le c tions: WOR K S PR I N T E D ON FA B R I C F OR T H E ST RU C T U R E S A N D ON T H E E L E VAT I O N S O F T H E B U I L D I N G B Y : S t e l i o s Vo t s i s , M a r i a To u r o u , K a t y S t e p h a n i d o u , Dora Oronti, Lia Lapithi, Andreas Chrysochos, A n d r e a s N i c o l a o u , Te l e m a c h o s K a n t h o s W O R K S P R I N T E D O N S T I C K E R S T O C R E A T E A P A T H W AY T H R O U G H T H E C O U R T YA R D B Y: Christos Petrides, Umit Inatchi P R I N T E D P O S T C A R D S F O R S I T E - S P E C I F I C I N S TA L L AT I O N G i r a g o s Z a r t a r i a n , R a p h a e l Tu c k & S o n s , H . C . P a n t e l i d e s , M a n g o i a n B r o s , G l a s z n e r S t u d i o , J . P. F o s c o l o , E d w a r d s S t u d i o , J . A . D i x o n , Av e d i s s i a n B r o s

Special thanks to Elena Efthyvoulou and Christina Christodoulou at the BoCCF for an excellent collaboration, to all the staff of the Foundation for their support and assistance, to our technicians and external collaborators for their high professional standards, humour and good will, and finally to the public for interacting with our work, making it meaning ful and all in all a great success.


The Urban Gorillas Team October 2016 www.urbangorillas.org

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