Considering the wants, needs and rights of smokers, non-smokers, and employers.
Started on 05/03/2005
Spend some time at an Orange Call centre in Newcastle (UK), take inspiration from the working environment and its employees. Royal College of Art pressure project brief
Exterior smoking areas are common in commercial and industrial workplaces. Often unofficial, often lacking in facilities, these areas can be bleak spaces where people hunch over to feed their drug habit, or sunny, vibrant nodes of social interaction. More often than not though, these rest areas lack investment from the company, are dilapidated, and perpetuate as impersonal, ‘non-places’.
Proposed communal ashtray-bins would be deployed in smoking areas. People would gather around them to smoke and talk. If they wish, Smokers could draw flowers on their empty cigarette packets and add their name, a message or perhaps even an epitaph. They could then put their flower designs into a receptacle provided by the company.
The cigarette butts could be compressed and cast in resin. The flower designs from the cigarette packets could be cut from the butt/resin composite and the messages added. These fag flowers could then be planted in the barren pots that occupy the smoking area.
Transient employees, who remain at their job for only a few months, could leave a memento of their time shared during a ‘fag break’. In this way the garden becomes both a metaphysical graveyard and a testimony to the collective musings of the employees.