June 27, 2008. Until October 5, the Grand Hornu Images gallery in Grand Hornu, Belgium will exhibit the Park Life designs of Spaniard Martí Guixé, all based around fire, in a show called Open-End. Guixé explains how the fiery Park Life objects "reconsider everyday life as a luxury leisure sport." grand-hornu-images.be, guixe.com Photography Inga Knölke/Imagekontainer
Can you elaborate on how everyday life can be a leisure sport, and tell me what gave you the idea to look at life in this unconventional way in the first place?
Yes, as we are not anymore involved in all-day work activities, such as cleaning, cooking, etc. so these activities have become a sport, and people play, doing this in their free time. This is Park life, a kind of future scenario, where I am designing items for this everyday luxury leisure sport. I started this series in 2003 with my kitchen buildings and at the last Salone furniture fair in Milan, I presented a campfire building. Now in the Grand Hornu Open-End exhibit, you can see three more.
Domesticator Props take fire as the central axis of the house, and home and fire as elements of the appropriation, occupation and ‘domestication’ of non-urbanized contexts.
Public Fireplace is a playground, a stadium in a public space where you can play with fire.
The Burn-Me Pieces are woodpiles that function as technical kits for making fire and a product originating from the isolation of the fire for security reasons, from its persecution for environmental reasons and from the transformation of fire from a basic need into a recreation, from an instrument into a lifestyle product.
You grew up seeing Catalonia and Barcelona turned into fire fairylands, where for just a little while on midsummer’s eve, people were allowed to play with fire, something we are usually forbidden to do. Do you like playing with fire, yourself?
No, it has nothing to do with that, it is just a coincidence that the opening took place close to the festival of Saint Joan, which we celebrate with fire, as do most of the Mediterranean countries. I never played with fire, or have special stories or experiences with that.
The focus on fire is because keeping the fire going is one of the all-day [workday] activities that are no longer necessary, and therefore you can play with it as a sport.
Describe the Burn Me pieces. How have you turned fire into sporting equipment and a lifestyle accessory?
Usually a campfire is made in a very amateur way, and it is not a “product.” But the Burn Me piece is a product, designed to be the best fire pile, with six different wood typologies, that provide odor, smoke, effects or calories, and you buy it like a ready-to-assemble kit, so that you can burn it to enjoy around 60 minutes of entertainment.