Beyond Spectacular, Made Vernacular

Charlotte van Alfen

Keywords: Vernacular design, Gentrification, Rotterdam

Internship: 75B
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Vernacular can be defined as any visual, spoken or other kind of language that belongs to a specific group of people inhabiting a specific place. It is often viewed as ’lesser than’ institutionalised systems of language. However, the use of vernacular language is vital to the experience of a group in which a culture is lived and experienced. Visual vernacular in particular is a rich source of inspiration, and creates a strong sense of community. 

In Beyond Spectacular, Made Vernacular, Charlotte van Alfen explores the vibrant character of Rotterdam, the city she grew up in. The project reflects on the city from her specific design perspective as a young white woman, who is part of the local creative class. The project is a series of posters that draw upon conversations with local residents, and the visual vernacular of their neighbourhoods. The posters are a testament to the shared resistance against gentrification, at a time characterised by a growing support of the conservative political party Liveable Rotterdam (Leefbaar Rotterdam), and its exclusionary policies

Denk aan de meest kwetsbare persoon & stem daarvoor
Think of the most vulnerable person & vote in their benefit
Nu zou ik er niet dood gevonden willen worden
Now I would not want to be found dead there
Veel verschillende mensen om me heen, daar voel ik me comfortabel bij
Surrounded by many different people, I feel comfortable
Niet iedereen kan in deze stad wonen
Not everyone can live in this city
Tégén het rechtse gezeik
Against the right-wing bullshit
Oud, wit, chagrijnig, superbinair en klassiek
Old, white, naggy, super-binary and classic
Ik kwam terug in mijn eigen stadje, met mijn eigen mensen, toen bloeide ik weer
I came returned to my own little town, with my own people, then I blossomed again
Een groot dorp
One big village
Was deze woning maar van jou
If only this house were yours
De architectuur is oud en nieuw, heel lelijk nieuw
The architecture is old and new, very ugly new
Het zijn de middelvinger jongens die lak hebben aan de samenleving
They are the middle finger boys who don't care about society
Alle verschillende mensen verbreden je wereldbeeld
All the different people broaden your world view