Graduating project, COFA - 2003

The Lichen is a sheltering system designed to support and encourage the development of a nomadic culture within the urban environment. The system consists of two components, the permanent and the portable. The permanent is a simple platform built into specific awnings throughout the CBD, and the portable is a canvas structure which, in different formations, can be adapted to a number of uses, including a swag, tarp or coat.

This project embeds the values of freedom, responsibility, simplicity and empowerment into our immediate environment. It supports the experience of belonging to place without ownership of place, where the implications and rewards of decision making and immediately felt. The design provides a gift to the user of autonomy and independence; usership is largely interpretive, lending itself to the varying requirements of individuals. Implementation of this design allows use of public space without surcharge and registers this option as viable.

This project is a response to an underlying agitation felt towards current exploitative methods of production and consumption. It looks at just one of the possibilities that design can generate in regards to the new set of environmental and ethical constraints the discipline is slowly coming to terms with. This project does not pamper to the current consumer comfort zone, it aims to explore and materialise new options.

This work seeks to sustain the ability for people to be more self-sufficient, experience a greater degree of freedom and find satisfaction in their own empowerment. This design has used Lichen as a concept in the hope of fostering new growth in relationships to and understanding of city space.

The Lichen


Portable: Waterproof and UV resistant canvas, Velcro, metal ‘D’ rings, leather
Permanent: Recycled tyre matting, steel, cable, springs, ladder and counter-weight


Photographer; Alex Kershaw