Workshop: Semaine Inaugurale
September 20-24, 2021
Workshop Leader: Manon Portera
HEAD – Genève, Geneva

After Sunset, Before Sunrise
takes Geneva as a case study and explores its transformation at the ephemeral moment of sunset. It investigates how changes in the intangible elements of the city—such as lighting, sound, people, and their activities—affect the tangible elements like buildings, streets, and other physical artifacts, as well as our perception of them. The observation, identification, archiving, and staging of the different components of the place—including its human and non-human interactions, history, temporality, and material qualities—address the night as a space-time of new opportunities.

Site 1: Bois de la Bâtie - Zoo
The city of Geneva has installed various lighting devices to minimize the impact on the flora and fauna of the Bois de la Bâtie when night falls. However, the noise pollution generated by the park's various human activities is quite prevalent and tends to encroach upon the very nature the city seeks to preserve at night. Through a sequence of sound devices, the students allowed visitors to experience the inherent noise pollution of the park in relation to the sounds of the zoo.

Site 2: Plainpalais - Skatepark
As night falls, the skatepark begins to empty itself, allowing exploration of its shapes and contours. These elements can be utilized in unconventional and surprising ways. Curves, counter-curves, ramps, platforms, and other skate installations can accommodate our bodies in various positions, whether comfortable or not. The students initiated the project by creating a catalog of photos and illustrations showcasing unusual postures. On the last night of the workshop, the week’s experiments took the form of a performance. In contrast to the movements of skaters, the students adopted static and unconventional postures, showcasing multiple possibilities for occupying the skatepark.

Site 3: Vieille Ville - Passages
At night, the dimly lit Vieille Ville fills with sounds, voices, and footsteps echoing between historical walls. This project aims to highlight an intrinsic aspect of this part of Geneva: its passages, interior courtyards, and narrow alleys, which are often inaccessible. To illuminate these historical spaces, the students created a projection screen within one of the Old Town's passages. The projection featured a series of videos highlighting the sensory experience of the narrow alleys at sunset.

Site 4: Lavandières - Promenade
Designed in the 1990s, the Promenade des Lavandières aimed to improve the quality of public spaces and create a new relationship with the surrounding water by offering a continuous path alongside the Rhône River. The promenade's name honors the women who, until the 20th century, did the city's laundry on wash-houseboats. The installation aimed to establish a connection between passersby and the history of the promenade. By projecting old photographs alongside current ones with the exact same perspective, visitors became aware of Lavandières' past.

Site 5: Gare Routière
Geneva's bus station is a non-place at the heart of the city, dictated by the bus schedule. People come here to wait for their buses for short periods, but no other activity is monitored. The only building located at the center of the bus station is constantly closed. The students took this observation as a starting point for their performance. Using film, lighting projections, and sound as their mediums, they reactivated the bus station's building for one night, questioning the purpose of this abandoned building at the heart of Geneva.

Site 6: Quai Wilson - Sports Complex
The Quai Wilson's sports complex undergoes a radical change when the sun sets. While it is a highly animated place during the day, very few people continue to use the different sports facilities at night. Taking this observation as a starting point, the students decided to document this evident contrast. Using the existing lighting of the site, the students exhibited large photographs alongside one another, showcasing the contrasting daytime and nighttime activities of the sports complex.

Site 7: Bains des Pâquis - Plage
The Bains des Pâquis is an oasis in the middle of the city of Geneva, one of the most famous spots in the city due to the multiple activities the architecture fosters, as well as its close connection to the water. On this final site, the students hosted a film screening emphasizing specific architectural elements in relationship with the water and the ways in which these elements reacted to the changing light at dusk.

HEAD – Genève,
Department of Interior Architecture
Head of Department :
Javier Fernández Contreras
Scientific Deputy: Valentina de Luigi
Workshop Leader:
Manon Portera
Assistants: Phi Nguyen, Paule Perron, Cécile-Diama Samb, Bertrand Van Dorp
Students: Affolter Mélanie, Bitto Melissa, Braun Dylan, Clertan Luna, Allier Elena, Batista De Freitas Cédric, Bonjour Cécile, Vandenabeele Axel, Bonnet Maïlys, Bricheux Capucine, Camillo Virginie (site 1); Compoint Minna, Dupraz Ian, Duri Esteban, Bunyen Macharat, Cornaz Juliette, De Almeida Borralho Débora, De Limoges Thaïs, Buffat Romane, Felix Tina, Hong Jinuk, Hwang Gyeonghwan, Kocis Chiara (site 2); Faure Clara, Fookes Tania, Gargano Tiziano, Gruaz Lea, Derriey Pauline, Dondey Amarine, Escher Ilena, Laville Mélina, Levak Tomislav, Mackenzie Abigaël, Maingret Camille (site 3); Gupta Rajen, Hericher Jeanne, Humair Toyine, Joost Maxime, Frey Tibo, Glassey Margaux, Golaz Stéphanie, Grobet Célie, Meyer Melina, Pomorski Maud, Porter Olivia, Puthod Elioth (site 4); Joyau Axelle, Kim Chaewon, Lavorel Léa, Llosas Elena, Lajci Aurora, Neuenschwander Vera, Miskufova Alexandra, Rodriguez Coronado Francisco, Rouhling Chloé, Schnider Jody, Schupp Inès (site 5); Nagarajan Meghna Thanushree, Narducci Mathias, Rigal Paul, Rochat Elodie, Pannatier Ludivine, Pereira Sacramento Stéphanie, Py Emma, Racine Valentin, Streit Oxana, Teixeira Leana, Van Garderen Alain (site 6); Tauxe Fanny, Tissot-Daguette Lou Vanille, Torres Ferreira Elisa, Valazza Elena, Schuler Amanda, Troilo Jérémy, Venetz Saëlle, Vinokurov Kirill, Weibel Thérèse, Weiss Aline (site 7).
Video: © HEAD–Genève, Jimmy Roura