The Chicala Observatory

  • The Chicala Observatory is an archive about the history and urban culture of Chicala’s neighbourhood, its relationship with the city of Luanda and informal settlements in Angola, Africa and the World.
  • The Chicala Observatory is a database formulated through participatory research methods, involving residents, local authorities
    and professionals from various fields.
    The research project is based at the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Agostinho Neto University (Angola), and it is coordinated by Isabel Martins and Paulo Moreira. The team is formed by Analicia Gonçalves da Silva, Érica Morgado, Daniel de Freitas, Joana Venâncio and a group of residents from Chicala, among which the photographer Paulino Damião (“Kota 50”) and family, the artisans Mestre Nelito and João Manuel, and numerous kambas and researchers from the neighborhood
    and the World.

    For the project we developed the identity, website, posters, invitations and the editorial design of the book which contained all project information. The nature of the project is academic and research with not a lot of funds for a book production (and other parts) with robust materials and great finishing details. Even with these limitations we wanted to make a memorable project with the local community.

  • Special handmade covers, with embroidered colored motifs 
    of strong and bright tones. 

    We proposed that the craftsmen of Chicala handbroided on a black and white picture, with thread of stitching, using the colors that illustrate your day -to-day - a clear analogy between the gray that outsiders see the life of the neighborhood and the colorful way the locals feel their life there. 
  • Result
    The result is very touching and strong for everyone involved. The cover is a genuine gesture of emotional connection, it is an intimate representation of each craftsman about the place where he lives and how he can improve it literally with their own hands.
  • Vitra Museum and Guggenheim Bilbao

    The Chicala Observatory is part of "Making Africa-A Continent of Contemporary Design" an exhibition that brings together more than 120 artists and designers who explore the areas of intersection between various disciplines, from architecture to photography, looking for concrete answers to issues the twenty-first century Design faces. It was possible to see this exhibition at the Vitra Museum (April-October 2015) and is currently on show at the Guggenheim Bilbao (November 2015)

  • Special thanks to:
    Paulo Moreira - Curator and author of The Chicala Observatory
    Nuno Moreira - Photographer (book)
    Polly Waid - Craft and Illustration

    Follow the studio daily life in instagram @thisipacifica