Strand Bookstore $3 hardcover, lasercutter, various tools
New York, NY
The act of hiding suggests that someone feels uncomfortable, unsatisfied, and/or unsafe in the space that they are exposed to, and that they are attempting to rewrite the space by overlaying a different reading of the space on the existing one. Even in school - a place that is primarily intended to benefit the social and individual needs of children - hiding can be observed on many levels.
For instance: (1) children hiding behind other children because they don’t want to get called on during class; (2) children locking themselves in the safe confines of spaces such as bathroom cubicles and lockers from their fear of being bullied; and (3) children trying to hide from everything and everyone by pretending to be asleep at their desk during breaks and class.
A self-deployable unit, STOREY empowers children to become authors of the spaces they inhabit by allowing them to curate a common setting – lunchtime – and to re-design the act and space of eating.
The child will open STOREY, disguised as a textbook, to find tools such as a magnifying glass (with a book reading/pathfinding light), a surface scratcher “pen”, earplugs, and a way-finding map among others. A strategically designed section contains place setting for their lunch + condiments to host a prêt-à-porter eating experience.
Upon meal completion, STOREY can be locked up for safety and carried in the user’s arms or in their backpack without appearing conspicuous. Book and keys can be given to a close accomplice for two or more users to share their STOREYs.
The project aimed to encourage collective territorialization (and perhaps privatization) of spaces in schools by giving children the functional and emotional stability to breakaway from the uniform and preset scripts of eating lunch as a public, synchronized, and place-specific experience.