Paredes de Coura Municipality had the need renovate a pedestrian route that connected the bus terminal to the city center as it was unknown or perceived as dangerous by its citizens and visitors. The proposed solution by Alva was to use light as a wayfinding tool in the urban context in order to promote its use and increase the feeling of safety in the area.
Connecting Paredes de Coura to other places in Portugal, the concept passed by using an element that is recognized and cherished by society - all over Portugal, it's possible to see streets full of buildings that the facades are covered in azulejos - it was introduced 13th century in the region by the Moors and it has survived and evolved through centuries
In close collaboration with Susana Vassalo Architects, the path was re-designed and Azulejos were used as a tool to capture the eye’s attention and highlight the path. Inspired by a tool commonly used in the region “Cunha” - a wedge - a custom-made fixture was designed. Its random placement along the wall and the smooth light transition make the path appear shorter while creating an ever-changing effect that captures the eye's attention from a distance.
Paredes de Coura Municipality
Paredes de Coura, Portugal
Public Space, Installation, Research
Architect: Susana Vassalo
Landscape Architect: Manuel Sousa
Graphic Identity: Luís Nobre
Light Programmer: Control Freaks
Electric Engineer: EnergiCoura
In Alva’s view “Azulejos” are street illuminators that do not consume any energy - they are light instruments that reflect and multiply light in the public space in a smart way and made out of sustainable materials.
During the day the reflective qualities of the material naturally highlight the path and during the night tile itself its a source of light, capturing the eye's awe while providing the necessary light levels.