The Continuous Reinvention
What connects Ljubljana, New York and Berlin? A modular, adaptive design system placed there. It is a Kiosk K67, designed by Saša Mächtig.
From 1968 to 1999 have been manufactured around 7,500 units of the K67 all around Yugoslavia. Some of them were also exported to Poland, Japan, New Zealand, Kenya, Iraq, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The system permitted unlimited configurations and variations, therefore is perfect for different types of adaptation and programs. You might find the Kiosk K67 in the collection of the Museum of Architecture and Design MAO in Ljubljana.
Kiosk K67 was also adapted for different uses, from border patrol stations, ski lift ticket booths, flower shops, to retail and fast-food stands. And after more than 50 years it is still present and becoming popular in many cities.
The first K67, which became a part of the design collection of MoMA in 1970, was at the beginning set on the 53rd Street sidewalk. It got finally its place in the museum during the MoMA exhibition Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 as an object of mass design.
Maja Vardjan, our of the curators of the exhibition Systems, Structures, Strategies in the Museum of Architecture and Design MAO, describes why the K67 is so persistent in many cities. She evaluates it as a piece that with “its position between architecture and industrial design, embeddedness in the framework of a modern city and society, the rituals of daily life, and, last but not least, its persistent capacity to reinvent itself.”
The ability to reinvent itself makes the kiosk fresh in many settings and configurations. Martin Ruge created a kioski in Berlin. He brought one of the K67 although the transportation was difficult and the connection with freshwater, sewage and electricity to the Mykita building took more effort than expected. But he thinks it was worth it. And freshwater, sewage and electricity shall become matter of the new design issues for K67 to solve in the future.
The metamorphosis as a constant change of shape, idea, social and political reality shaped K67 to the point that is again in use. As Maja Vardjan said, a kiosk is phenomena, always alive and never the same.