Hansaplatz "Probesitzen"

July 2022 / ongoing
Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung St. Pauli

On the weekend of July 29-31, we organised a protest sit-in ["Probesitzen"] together with the Round Citizens' Table Hansaplatz. Hansaplatz is a square close to the main station, characterised by conflicts and deprived of all its seating options. For years, the Round Table has been fighting for public seating on the square. Safety should come from getting to know each other and not from camera surveillance and police presence.

Our project took place within the framework of the Public Design Support St. Pauli and raised site-specific questions: How much individual needs can be taken into account in public space? And can design contribute to a good coexistence, to a space for all on Hansaplatz?
These guiding questions were the starting point for a workshop with three participants of the Hansaplatz Citizens' round table, which resulted in the building of:
Tree bench U, which represents the desire for neighborly encounters.
High Seat M, a public balcony that reflects the need for personal safety.
Rolling table F, expressing the wish to relocate the workplace to the outside.

These three objects stand exemplarily for different, sometimes very personal needs in the use of Hansaplatz and served as infrastructure for a shared sitting experience during the weekend of the "Probesitzen".
The construction of the respective objects is structured by three levels: A basic framework made of an existing or borrowed object, a wooden panel painted in the individual’s favourite color and a playful white textile element.

Through previously distributed invitation cards, residents, initiatives and friends were informed about the weekend and the handover of the objects. Tree bench U, High Seat M and Rolling Table F were then put up together over the weekend and placed in different areas to be appropriated, rejected, used or looked at by individuals or groups. They each facilitated an exchange and getting to know each other on Hansaplatz and revived the discussion about the urgency of outdoor seating on Hansaplatz in the neighbourhood. In addition to conversations about the objects, people rode unicycles on and around them, played chess, changed children's diapers, worked on computers, drank coffee, or simply lazed around.
The "Probesitzen at Hansaplatz" was a joyful confirmation that spending time at Hansaplatz without the need to consume is wanted and will take place if the infrastructure for it is available. We are currently working on the continuation of the project.

Irini Schwab, Maren Hinze, Tatjana Schwab, Tina Henkel, Anna Ulmer
photo credits © Kayoung Kim, Maren Hinze

Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung // HFBK Hamburg