MEDS Gent 17

8th edition
230 design students
40 different countries
15 projects
Gent, Belgium
30_07 > 14_08_2017


urban haven

the city as breeding ground of initiative and creativity

We see how more and more citizens around the world engage themselves to shape their surroundings in different but collaborative ways. Also in Gent, local initiatives question the existing structures and experiment with new social models.

They fight for the commons, transparency and a circular economy in reaction to climate change and scarcity of materials, energy and space. The internet is used to share their ideas open source with everyone. Inspired by their enthusiasm and vision on a sustainable environment, MEDS dives into the bottom up culture.

Old harbour dockyards of Gent

A large abandoned site at the eastern border of the citycenter and next to the harbour will transform within the next decades into a new neighbourhood. Awaiting this development, it currently offers enormous opportunities for creative experiments among local initiatives. They can temporally use old hangars to reactivate this industrial area, transforming the site in a breeding ground of creativity and initiative, an urban haven.


Projects are written in close collaboration with local pioneers and international tutors. They will be used and sustained after the workshop by the involved initiatives and the project designs will be shared as open source material online.

The workshop closes with an expo, where the realised projects are presented to the public. In the unique scenery of the site and impressive water surface, an open air walk connecting the projects, tells the story of urban haven in Gent.

WAVING FLAG__ Devise and create a large scale flag inspired by urban haven, develop and let flourish your creativity and practical skills through image making and print production.

~ Katie with 019

PIG PACKAGE__ Constructing a pig shelter in the form of a lightweight folding structure by investigating the characteristics of connections and the opportunities of open source.

~ Jelena & Sofia with Het Spilvarken

CRITICAL MASS__ Upcycle bikes originally to boost the activism in the streets on a critical mass event. Learn about the mechanics of bikes and how to weld.

~ with Critical Mass Gent

ROOF UPON ROOF__ In the midst of Ghent’s roofscape, Roof Food’s beautiful kitchen garden is in need of an upgrade in infrastructure. Learn to devise and craft a light wooden structure comprising a permanent shelter and a community table. During the workshop a set of interesting challenges will be tackled ranging from wooden joinery and structural stability to drapery, material finishes and detailing.

~ Andreas & Andriy with Rooffood

NO FENCE__ To reform the existing isolated fence with a new structure and reflective elements into a vibrant and dynamic gate to give a positive identity in the harbour area. On quiet days to welcome the local community and the visitors, while re-connecting to the surroundings. And once the wind sets the surface in motion, it creates a dynamic and intangible experience to change our perception of the boundary.

~ Artur & Yuen with DOK

PEPPER’S GHOST__ Work within an old welding factory to design and construct a light transferral artefact/device using mirrors, translucent and transparent surfaces and an existing moving crane. Learn about the cinematic holography technique called ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ and specialised software to manipulate projected light and video.

~ Andreas & Antonis with 019

THE BUTTERFLY__ Refurbish and reactivate the Butterfly boat in a dual approach for an inspiring stay on water. Firstly by fighting obsolescence through reuse and recycling. Secondly through minimalistic design techniques to get the most out of the small space.

~ Carlotta & Jennifer with In de Ruimte

MASH UP__ An experience of creativity combined with handworking: everyone can explore the potential of the scrap. From one imput – the basic element – there will be one up to infinite outputs, depending on the personal sensibility and creativity of each participant.

~ Giovanna, Claudia & Cristina with ONBETAALBAAR

TOTOUT 9__ ’People like to sit where there are places for them to sit’- Whilliam H. Whyte used to say. A flexible structure to gather, have a drink, watch sport-fields, talk and play is designed to transform to the way it suits the situation best.

~ Olga & Amal with TOTUM

COMMON DREAMS__ Creating a floating sculpture, which will be a common ground to reflect about climate change and to unveil questions about ‘Home’. A survival experience, while pedalling and dreaming about a future living scenario.

~ Maria Lucia

THEORY/CURATION EXPO__ The reflection on the theme ‘urban haven’ by discussing the literature, lectures, documentaries and debate to be able to curate the final expo of the different projects as one comprehensible story.

THE HIVE NEWSPAPER__ The Hive will be proposed as a daily product, which differs from other workshops. Main goal of the project is to connect people with each other and with MEDS.

~ Sevgin, Altıner & İdil

URBAN DATA BIRDS __ In efforts to make a safe haven for biodiversity amongst birds as well, the urban haven needs smart homes for their winged inhabitants. With Urban Data Birds, we want to build a visual refugee for birdlife that can be monitored. How can we use this data to raise awareness for biodiversity in the city?

~ Matthias with Trendwolves & partners

WORK IN PROGRESS __ How will the workspace of tomorrow look like? We start from the people working in the supplied space and the problems they are facing as well as the general feel of the surrounding. The output can be everything, from a physical product to a digital application.

~ Tony & Moritz

LICHTGEWICHT__  An installation through co creation between the artists and the participants, where in art and craftsmanship is searched for the symbiosis between the soft textiles and hard materials such as wood and metal.

~ with Manoeuvre

MEDS Motel

We will be living under an open hangar in the setting of the old harbour, in walking distance to the worksites.

We got the chance to work with the start-up ‘Kartent‘. A kartent is a cardboard tent that is reusable, waterproof and 100% recyclable.

A bar and common space will be located at the accommodation where you can buy drinks and snacks during lunch or before going into town.

Breakfast and dinner are included and will be served at the accommodation.
Dinner will be provided by Avalon, a restaurant in Gent which serves organic and vegetarian food. It will be fresh, it will be local, it will be sustainable, it will be amazing.


Every day activities are organised for everyone who is interested, ranging from lectures and movies to jam sessions and yoga. According to tradition there will be a national evening where all nationalities bring their national food delicacies, drinks and music.  At the Belgian evening we will fully immerse ourselves into the Belgian culture. After these two events, we will have a day off to relax or go on an excursion.


The team

MEDS Gent is a non-institutional and non-profit organisation.
Run for and by students, we worked all year to make this workshop happen!