Nuit Blanche: Porta-Party by SUPER/TYPICAL
Porta-Party is a re-invention of the public washroom developed for Nuit Blanche 2017 by students from UWSA. Check out photos and learn more about the installation below.
BRIDGE spoke with Eric Oh and Justin Ng, SUPER/TYPICAL founders, about the development of their installation for this year’s Nuit Blanche.
Justin Ng: Porta-Party is about reinventing an often dismissed part of architecture, re-examining the conditions of the public bathroom.
Eric Oh: It’ll be a landscape of Porta-Potties, pallets, colourful furniture, and plants, located right next to Nathan Phillips Square – the Porta-Potties are functional, and so we’ll also be replacing Nuit Blanche’s usual sewage infrastructure. We’re hoping to bring the public toilet into the spotlight and examine a usually under-utilized, under-appreciated piece of architecture.
EO: The biggest challenge has actually been in funding. It’s a side of installations that isn’t really present in school work, and I’d say our time has been divided like 7:3 in terms of logistics/money vs actual designing.
JN: Our project is modular and the method of construction is simple but it is a 2,500sqft installation and that comes with a hefty cost. Although we have a great team that has been organizing many forms of fund-raising to help fill the deficit, we still have some way before we reach our target.
The bulkiness of the project also makes shipping everything between Cambridge and Toronto tricky.
EO: Actually, we were originally planned to do two “Porta-Parties”, one at Nathan Phillips Square and one at UofT, so we’re pretty thankful at this point that that didn’t happen.
On Trying This Yourself
JN: This is our first time doing a Nuit Blanche installation and it was almost a year ago that we came up with the concept. It is a good idea to start working on it earlier and apply to both Open Call and Independent submissions. The organizers seem quite open-minded and ready for any exciting new ideas.
EO: I’d say the most important advice is to create a team of people that you trust, and that everything takes longer than you anticipate. Things like grant timelines, sponsorships, fabrication, fundraising all take a lot of time and effort. A lot of people assume you can just plan things out and it’ll happen the way you anticipate, but the bulk of your time in projects like this is spent troubleshooting or finding Plan Bs. The earlier you mess up, the more time you’ll have to fix things. That’s why the team is so important – I’m always reassured knowing that I have resourceful, driven friends working with me that I can rely on.