In this time of physical distancing, which looks to be with us in one form or another in the years to come, our communities have been thrust into redefining how we safely come together. Communities are built and nurtured on city sidewalks, in parks and streets, and cities need public spaces for residents to breathe fresh air and experience some form of connection. The realm of public space is very different now. WaSH was designed as simple solution to address the new reality, that handwashing plays an essential role in making and strengthening communities. Likewise, FoLD, an artful, easy to assemble protective barrier between outdoor activities / diners and streets, plays a part in safely fostering community connection.
Designer Laurie Booth shares her recent experience assembling and installing FoLD.
Two weeks ago, a team from Payette gathered in Lynn to assemble FoLD, the latest product out of the FabLab. Designed by Payette and in partnership with Beyond Walls and Lynn Technical High School, the FoLD unit serves as a deployable enclosure system for restaurants that makes outdoor seating safe and accessible. The folded metal barriers redefine the streetscape, allowing for a new, flexible use of space that will impact communities long after the pandemic.
The beauty of the project lies in its simplicity. We were able to understand the order of operations in just a few minutes. In groups of two and three, we bent the stainless steel sheets along the laser-cut lines, aligned the predrilled holes and fastened with screws. The minimal amount of tools required allowed for fast and efficient assembly. In just three hours the team of ten assembled thirty FoLD units.
My co-worker Shreeyah Shakya said: “This was my first time working with sheet metal and it was great to get a tactile understanding of the properties and possibilities offered by this laser cut material. I was amazed at how fast the production and assembly were and would definitely be interested in working with it again. FoLD is simple enough to be replicated and reiterated and I’m excited to see where that may lead!”
And Christina Graydon remarked that “Beyond Walls was a great experience. Not only did we have the opportunity to meet others across the office that we normally do not have the privilege to interact with, but also it was so fulfilling to know in a small way we have the ability to contribute to our greater New England community!”
Beyond the joy found from assisting a community, the project provided the opportunity to learn new skills and connect with coworkers: “This was a great group assembly project that allowed a random group of us to reconvene and meet some of the new staff in the office, while also providing a welcome change of pace to the week.” Max Silverstein
The project demonstrates the power of engaging in the process of fabrication: “This was truly a great experience as it provided a unique and different atmosphere to meet and connect with coworkers. It also provided a unique learning experience as I’ve never folded sheets of metal like origami into a 3D form. The other benefit I gained from this experience, is that it made me more excited to not only take part in more of these opportunities, but encouraged me to seek and explore more fabrication opportunities for the projects I’m involved on.” Emilio Cardarelli
Today, twenty FoLD units were installed along Main and Pearl Street in Nashua, NH as part of a pilot project with the municipality. The remaining ten will be placed at Tacos Lupita in Lynn. Stay tuned for more on this community building fabrication project!