architect_ BUREAU with Leopold Banchini Architects
location_  Zurich, Switzerland
project year_ 2015
photography_ James Batten; BUREAU with Leopold Banchini Architects

client_  Common Ground
curated by_ Silvia Converso, Michele D’Ariano Simionato & Caterina Steiner

from the architects_

“The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. Where there is no property, or at least none that exceeds the value of two or three days’ labour, civil government is not so necessary.

Civil government supposes a certain subordination. But as the necessity of civil government gradually grows up with the acquisition of valuable property, so the principal causes which naturally introduce subordination gradually grow up with the growth of that valuable property. (…)”

Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations, Book 5, Chapter 1, Part 2

Europe is moving. Fast. What we thought would be a community of identities has turned into a quite competitive space dominated by financial hierarchies. The “community” follows aggressive financial trends that opposes to the idea of a cultural neighbourhood where moral and ethical values are shared. The attack of countries by complex financial apparatus as the hedge funds and the likes has provoked a general disorder and a global feeling of distrust in the civic society. Greece’s debt might be saved by crowdfunding initiatives, by large numbers of anonymous international citizens trying to overrule what governments do not seem to deal with anymore: people. Public space is, in this context, regaining its original status of forum, to help the growing non-conformist crowds to reunite and express their disagreement to a controlled fate. Public space needs to stay public, open and support debate and creative proposals of any kind, whether they are social, political or cultural.

The Fountain of Youth, symbol of birth and beauty cannot be filled with crystal water anymore. It is now filled with the dirt of Europe’s recent history, where wealthy countries dictate the fate of not so wealthy ones. So here’s a present, a cultural gift from one of these countries that are not doing that well to one of the rich companions of the community. In the form of a noble fountain, a classical figure of occidental culture, Lisbon sends a solid salute to rich Zurich. A contribution to its public spaces where people can meet, be revolted to whatever, play, drink, sleep, love. Anything should be possible within a public space. As a slight provocation, celebrating another almost 100 years old fountain, Fountain 2017 send some marble to Zurich from Lisbon, so we can all can piss on it.