Bauhaus of the Seas
The Bauhaus defined the role of design in the 20th century by combining art with industry and construction. In the 21st century, the European Union proposes a new Bauhaus that will give rise to a movement towards the implementation of the Green Deal, based on sustainability and social inclusion. In response to this challenge, Portugal proposes a continental mobilization around the first and most decisive global natural space: the sea.
Why the Seas and the Oceans?
- They regulate the climate by capturing heat and carbon (1/3 of the global carbon emissions);
- Their coasts host a large part of the EU population (41% live in coastal regions), constituting the main natural space and frontier of urban systems;
- They are an essential source of food (providing 16% of globally consumed protein);
- They generate jobs and wealth throughout the various sectors of the blue economy (attracting 52% of tourist activities in Europe);
- They welcome global solutions for carbon capture (marine grasslands, plankton, cetaceans), and offer great potential in renewable energies, sustainable transport, food and biomaterials, and biotechnologies;
- They face strong threats regarding pollution (plastics) and ecosystem degradation in face of climate change (erosion, sea-level rise);
- They represent a significant historical, cultural, and heritage legacy in Europe;
- They provide a space for future intervention where we can avoid unforeseen mistakes committed in past instances.
The Bauhaus of the seas, as “marhaus” (literally “the sea as our home”) or “baumar” (“the sea as a space for creation and impact entrepreneurship”), aims to promote renewed ethical and aesthetic regenerative development from a widely diverse range of dimensions of our continued relationship with the sea.
Conceived as a journey with Portugal as a starting point, the Bauhaus of the Seas will generate a design movement that will extend to all coastal and maritime regions in Europe.
Recognizing the environment by mapping and communicating flows of mineral, biological and human (transport, communities, and migrations) resources, parameterizing, optimizing, and digitizing data for informed and sustainable management and informed decision making;
Reconciling with the sea by recognizing the oceans as a territory of trans-geographic continuity, opening its various dimensions to the strategic needs of the European Bauhaus project;
Reconnecting communities with their habitats and forms of material, ecological, aesthetic and cultural heritage, supporting the generation and co-creation of innovative ideas, oriented towards global citizenship, experiences and entrepreneurship with an impact on the blue economy;
Renewing practices by involving citizens the management of local resources in coastal regions and the sea, promoting nature-based solutions for climate change, as well as innovative artistic, experiential, and technological interventions, replicable at both European and global levels.
In short, the The Bauhaus of the Seas intends to recognize and legitimize the diverse range of know-how already present in coastal and marine communities and ecosystems, promoting, through design and creativity, its innovation, renewal, updating and articulation with a new generation of public policies aimed at cooperation and transnational problem-solving.
The Bauhaus of the Seas therefore proposes an ecocentric narrative both cosmopolitan and rooted, plural and testimonial, with evident environmental and economic consequences, scalable at European and global levels.
Building a “culture of the Bauhaus of the seas” will involve fostering a school of interdisciplinary experimentation and entrepreneurship, bound to shape a generation of designers, architects, engineers, artists, managers, and scientists around sustainable design solutions for coastal regions and the sea. Support for networked projects should promote the articulation of entities from academic, scientific and cultural systems, incubators, and technological centers, and guide the involvement of the communities in which they operate, with the ultimate goal of creating and recalibrating the capacity to replicate sustainable or regenerative solutions.
Operationalization should address the sea as a source and destination for design, brought to life through the following guidelines:
Designing and disseminating sustainability models, applicable to local and global scales, that establish continuity between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, including human and more-than-human agents (e.g., animals and protected areas, but also beaches, dunes, and waves);
Acknowledging and disseminating cross-border paradigms of thought and action, emancipated from a strictly geopolitical mapping, thus contributing to intercultural and radically cosmopolitan visions between contemporary and ancestral, European and trans-European communities and cultures;
Promoting innovative forms of reconstruction and representation in architecture and planning, from coastal protection structures to environmentally responsible infrastructures for sustainable management of renewable energies and offshore platforms for aquaculture, including new bio- and geo-materials;
Promoting and enabling experimentation and food innovation through ecological production and consumption, alternative and/or local practices, implemented through cultural dissemination activities;
Collecting, structuring, and disseminating testimonies, narratives, knowledge, and objects intimately rooted in past and present experience with the sea – involving historians, anthropologists, sociologists, designers, artists, digital and audiovisual media specialists, collections, and museums in this process of building critical mass;
Establishing transdisciplinary teams in order to anticipate and resolve the impact of rising seas and oceans in cities and coastal territories, as well as responses to increasing extreme weather phenomena;
Developing transdisciplinary missions towards the reversal of the historical trend of using carbon-intensive terrestrial materials (e.g., cement), combining the promotion of natural materials (e.g., wood or hemp used in rigging and candles) and aquatic tools in terrestrial environments (e.g., algae, jellyfish, marine collagen);
Replacing natural sedimentary cycles, implementing new transfer systems and innovative interventions that promote the development of habitats and the regeneration of marine ecosystems, in order to prevent flooding, erosion, and intrusion of saltwater;
Encouraging trans-European exchanges and circulation of coastal-inland knowledge through artistic and ethnographic residencies, using museum networks while promoting their respective deactivated and/or outdoor spaces;
Fostering interdisciplinary learning, pedagogy, and entrepreneurship actions with:
- — the academic and scientific community;
- — entrepreneurial and technological communities;
- — the various segments of the population, for increased responsibility in the preservation and enhancement of coastal and maritime ecosystems;
- — agents of urban cartography, towards a reunion of coastal cities with their natural space.
A school at the sea, first global natural space. On a ship travelling the seas with a community of new creatives and the “courtesy flags” of all countries, between the main coastal cities of the EU and its most remote island territories, the places of Classical Age and the New World. A ship registered on the same coast where the navigation technologies of the square sails of the northern seas and triangular sails of the south were crossed, preceding the foundation of the global community. In addition to the journey’s pedagogical dimension, a school that explores the viewpoint inversion. A new perspective towards the land from the sea.
By focusing on coastal territories and the scale of the sea, the Bauhaus of the Seas proposes a synthesis between nature (human and more-than-human), technologies, and the strategic needs of the European project: understanding how we can relate in a sensitive, conscious, and balanced manner with the greatest common good on the planet, vital for the regulation of the climate and the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as a sustainable management of future food, mineral and energy resources.
The Bauhaus of the Seas embraces the challenge of applying design to complex socio-technical-ecological and more-than-anthropocentric problems, of significant impact upon the UN’s sustainable development goals and the EU strategic priorities. The Bauhaus of the Seas intends to foster the design of complex interactions between human and more-than-human agents. Their expression throughout large temporal and spatial scales is only possible through digital network technologies amplified by artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and digitally-enabled autonomy.
The design of these interactions would involve the emergence of new aesthetics and, most decisively, a critical awareness of its historical, contemporary, and future consequences: focusing design beyond humans as a way to ensure a future for humanity. Assuming this ecocentric awareness as the basis of its vision proposal, the Bauhaus of the Seas proposes to refocus the teaching and practice of design in a vision of the future, and in an ecology of knowledge, that transcends nostalgia, Eurocentric and anthropocentric perspectives, as well a logic of development based on inexorable economic growth and extraction, privatization of common goods and knowledge.
The new Bauhaus emerges from the technological maturity achieved by the digital revolution, and combines the physical, digital, and biological domains-thus impacting upon the fourth industrial revolution. The Bauhaus of the Seas responds by refocusing design as a discipline that aggregates active conceptualization, and curates complex socio-technical-ecological systems evolving around the problems and challenges of the sea – with conscious and distinct values, policies, and ethics.
Manifesto created to start the discussion process from the New European Bauhaus Working Group.
Nuno Jardim Nunes
Researcher of ITI/LARSyS, and professor IST — U. Lisboa
Researcher of ID+, and Professor at the FBAUP, U. Porto
Concept and graphic design
Miguel Figueira, José Albergaria