Charlotte van Alfen
Keywords: Vernacular design, Gentrification, Rotterdam
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.