Something similar is now happening in Madrid. The Ayuntamiento (city council) is trying to inject new life into public spaces by improving conditions for vendors. There is a need for small pavilions, or kiosks, from which to sell daily needs such as newspapers and refreshments or to make and sell handicrafts.
The kiosk design is not new. In fact it is an archetypal shape that can be found everywhere, from our Monopoly board game to every small town we know. It starts with our childish drawings and continues through our life as the dream image of an old house to spend the rest of our days. It's the house stripped to its essentials, an icon that can be re-created endlessly, retaining the ability to become something different and original every time.
The kiosk is not intended as an isolated object in the urban landscape, but as a social condenser, part of a compact village within the big city: a small, integrated but autonomous world of buying and selling. Fully unfolded, the volume reveals a rich interior with a big, backlit advertising panel that can be raised vertically above the roof to indicate the little building's purpose. The interior of each kiosk has a 'personalized' colour scheme, in contrast to the standard outer skin of Cor-Ten steel stamped with a flower pattern.
In December 2006, the Madrid Ayuntamiento installed 100 such units, by Ben Busche and Isabel Barbas of Brut Deluxe, in three different street markets. In the coming years they will be seen on many different occasions all over the city, perhaps with a different skin – steel, wood, glass, etc. – but still with the iconic shape.