Geneva, November 2023

How can we see value and potential in resources that are destined to be thrown away? How can they be valorized and put back into circulation? This year, the Circularity course took place in a disused industrial area in the north of Geneva. Occupied until recently, the buildings were due to be demolished. A restaurant, a fitness center, a garage, and a warehouse served as a case study for the students during six days.

In groups of two, students were assigned to different categories: floors, walls, ceilings, lighting, carpentry, HVAC, and fixed furniture. They first carried out a diagnosis of the resources present on-site to identify the building’s components, understand their composition and dimensions, and analyze how they were installed. A collection of inventory sheets emerged. Following the identification of these resources, they were able to experiment with a careful dismantling of the components. This also enabled them to confirm or deny their potential and the possibility of dismantling. A “ressourcerie,” shared by the whole class and representative of the different categories, was set up directly on-site. Portraying the resources out of their initial context made it easier to appropriate them and conceive a future use.

The dismantled components were then used to develop various proposals with the aim of upcycling and putting them back into circulation. Therefore, each group targeted potential actors and addressed them with two formal proposals. On one hand, a proposition with the same initial use, such as restoring parquet floors, staircases, or lighting fixtures; on the other, a proposition that illustrated the diversity of potential uses, such as the creation of exhibition podiums using false ceiling panels, the construction of a deckchair from sauna wood, or the development of a table’s collection with various legs and plates.

A final exhibition was set up directly on-site to present the work carried out to a number of actors in Geneva’s construction and re-use field. At the same time, documentation work was carried out throughout the course to illustrate the various stages and highlight the value of the work process.


Workshop Leaders: Manon Portera, Valentine Maeder (apropå atelier)


Navya Balakrishnan, Sawako Bolch, Emma Canton, Larisa Coman , Cloé Eischen, Mariia Fomina, Leila Kasmein, Frida Law, Jaemo Lee, Giada Pettenati, David Röder, Sofia Tapia Buchelli, Célia Tourette, Ana Karina Zepeda Aranda

Images © HEAD — Genève