The welcome of seafarers at Venice harbour

Venezia, 2002

MODE: experimental

CONTRIBUTION: research, interviews, project proposals, architectural design, editorial design

SUPPORTED BY: Venice Port Authority, Province of Venice

“We are already globalized, our ship is owned by a Greek company whose owner lives in Malta and we are registered under the flag of Panama. We are insured by a British company based in London. We have a multi-racial crew of Filipinos, Chinese, and Indonesians with Turkish officers. We go to Vancouver to pick up a cargo of Canadian wheat to bring to the Philippines.”

– Filipino seafarer

“Seafarers are the hardworking men and women who work aboard cargo and cruise ships, playing a critical role in the growth of global commerce. 90% of global trade is transported by sea and seafarers are the human faces behind the food we eat, the oil we use in our cars and the cement in the sidewalks we tread. Seafarers work long hours, often under lonely, perilous conditions. Signing on for year-long contracts at sea in order to support loved ones at home, mariners must deal with isolation, stress, dangerous conditions and increasing incidents of piracy in certain parts of the world. Most crew now come from countries where unemployment is very high and the jobs they find with cargo and cruise lines provide the means to support their families and build futures for them. In addition to being so far from home, seafarers are nearly invisible to the societies they serve, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.”

– Venice Port Authority

This publication, developed for my thesis in Architecture, served as a basis to design and realise the Seamen’s club at the Venice harbour. Starting from an in-depth analysis about the world of seafarers it developed a proposal, the result of which was a series of both ephemeral and permanent interventions, conceived to welcome and recognise the 200.000 seafarers who arrive every year.
The work, inspired by the participation at the Ms3 project, was embedded in the Welcome in Venice project by StellaMaris’ friends association for seafarers.