Mall life: living the dream

This is quite an old story, having come to light in October last year, but I only just heard about it while reading Make magazine. And it is so delightful that I can’t help but share it, even if it isn’t exactly hot off the presses.

Artists Michael Townsend and Adriana Yoto, and six of their friends, noticed an architectural anomaly in the giant shopping mall being built in their town – Providence, Rhode Island, USA. As the project progressed, it became clear that this added up to “750 square feet of underutilized space inside of the mall.”

Inspired by advertising carrying the message: “Wouldn’t it be great to live at Providence Place?” the group constructed and furnished an apartment – in which they hung out for four years before being apprehended by mall security. They installed a wall, ran electricity into the space via an extension cord – but were unable to arrange heating, water and sanitation. Anyone wanting the bathroom had to sneak out to the mall’s facilities.

The apartment was “hyper-designed” with furniture and fittings bought wherever possible at the mall. Too much, of course, to expect the management to get what was going on – Townsend ended up in court and a spokesman gave the local papers a ridiculous quote about “feeling violated”. Now he’s barred from the premises.

But the project lives on, thanks to the wonder of the internet. Here are links to Townsend’s and Yoto’s website on the subject, plus a few news stories:

YouTube: Apartment at the Mall

YouTube: Providence Place Mall – demographics entrances