August 5, 2011

Designer and Industry Collaborate to Propose Improved Traffic Safety

Inviting visitors to make, critique and curate new designs for fluorescent traffic control bollards, Australian artist and designer Jane Gavan’s new exhibition, Factory as Studio opens at UTS’s DAB LAB on Wednesday 3 August.

Gavan’s interest in traffic control bollards began after personally experiencing an all too close encounter with one in Belgium.

“I was commuting from Germany for a residency at the Radiant fluorescent colourant factory in Belgium, and towards the end of a long journey, I hit an out of place roadworks bollard and completely wiped out my car’s side mirror.”

“I wondered why the bollards were so dull, unlike those in Australia that use fluorescents. Later at the Radiant factory, the research and development team explained that stringent European protocols require that traffic bollards only be white and red.”

“There’s a real case for changing to fluorescent colours because people see fluorescents 30% sooner and 30% longer at the end of the day as the light fades, so they’re much safer,” says Gavan.

Understanding that the European protocols are very difficult to change, Gavan took a close look and discovered a by-clause stating that bollards of alternative colours may be used for special occasions.

Gavan then met with cultural officers and the mayor of the Belgium city of Hasselt, who agreed that they would allow her to create new fluorescent bollards with the Belgium Radiant Colour Factory for use during the city’s cultural festivals and events in order to raise awareness to the issue and make a case for change.

“When I came back to Sydney, I decided I wanted to involve the local design and art community to get more input into the project,” says Gavan.

The exhibition Factory as Studio invites visitors to engage in the design process in several ways: as makers by developing models and drawings of bollards, as curators by collecting and re-presenting groups of models in mini exhibitions, and as critics by offering critical feedback.

Factory as Studio is part of Gavan’s ongoing research into the long tradition of innovative practices in factory communities and looks at how designers can create opportunities for collaboration within these industrial environments.

Factory as Studio by Jane Gavan is on show from Wednesday 3 - Friday 26 August 2011 at DAB LAB Research Gallery, University of Technology, Sydney, Building 6, Level 4 Courtyard, 702-730 Harris Street, Ultimo.
Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm.

An artist talk will be held on Thursday 11 August at 2pm.

Factory as Studio is part of Sydney Design 2011.

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