Project: Traces of Commerce: 12 Operations at Stoa Emporon | Year: 2014 | Collaborators: City of Athens, Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), Social Security Fund for the Free-Lance Professional (OAEE) | Location: Athens | Project Leaders & Curators: Haris Biskos, Martha Giannakopoulou | Production & Communication: Clelia Thermou | Graphics & Web Development: Konstantinos Stamatopoulos | Direction of Photography: Stathis Mamalakis | Project Management: AT Management | Commission: Initiative | web: http://www.tracesofcommerce.com
Traces of Commerce was organized as an initiative to reactivate a dead zone of Athens, “Stoa Emporon” (Arcade of Merchants) and its small shops, a part of the city which has been lifeless, empty of commercial activities, for more than 20 years. The fundamental goals of this project were, on the one hand to give life back to a neuralgic space of the city with important urban specificities and spatial structure and on the other to create a framework of synergy among creative interdisciplinary collaborations, forms of local governance (Municipality of Athens, Athens Development and Destination Management Agency) and public organizations (Social Security Fund for the Merchants). Critical parameter of this project, based on which we defined the concept of urban regeneration, was the active participation of citizens, in the scale of the neighborhood, into the productive activities of the program. For a period of one month, we created an environment of collaborative activities, with the participation of local community, technicians, experts and stakeholders inside the physical space of the arcade. The small shops of the arcade operated in the beginning as laboratories for exploring materials and merchandizing activities, then as spaces inside which the actual implementation of design proposals took place throughout participatory workshops open to the public and finally as exhibition spaces projecting the final outcomes of the program to a public eye.