Located in the city of Liepaja in western Latvia, Karosta – which translates as War Port or Navy Harbor – used to be a secret military town for the Russian Empire and later on for the Soviets. After regaining independence in 1991, the population dropped and the city consequently fell into a state of partial decay.
Today however, Karosta’s area remains quite contradictory: characterful Czar-era palace-like buildings sit right next to Soviet-era blockhouses, which makes up the strange yet remarkable identity of the former USSR naval base and continues to draw in tourism as well as a dynamic art community.
In order to revitalize the city, Homemade Dessert, in cooperation with Liepaja City Council and a number of local artists, organized a series of competitions. They invited designers to rethink Karosta’s urban furniture (bus stops, benches, playgrounds …) as part of the third international architecture vision competition on Karosta, Latvia: War town Microtecture.
Stockholm-based architecture studio Norell/Rodhe won the second prize with their entry “Peekaboo”. They designed a series of clever “spatial conundrums” using the existing housing blocks to conceive new smaller community spaces and to form a framework for cultural interaction. Each piece is displayed across the city and sets up a spatial relation between furniture and sight, as well as furniture-to-furniture.