With the book Re-public, the Rotterdam-based design bureau ZUS - the 2007 winner of the Rotterdam-Maaskant Award for Young Architects - issues a resounding statement about the future of contemporary urban space and the role that every designer working in town and city ought to assume. 

ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) was founded by Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman in 2001. As landscape architects, Van Boxel and Koreman carry out research and design projects in the contemporary city. Their home base, the city of Rotterdam, forms an ideal terrain for observation and action. An investigative approach that is explicitly boundary-breaking is a lynchpin in the work of ZUS. Their projects range from the micro level to the macro: from clothing and design via architecture and urban design to large-scale interventions in the landscape. 'The scale is the medium,' states ZUS, 'while the sounding out and redefinition of boundaries is the challenge.' The boundaries are those of the discipline itself as well as the physical and political boundaries of the urban landscape, in which themes such as multiculturalism, integration, public order and the public domain play a key role.

The duo has successfully deployed their fascination with the public space in several projects, witness the commission for the landscaping of a country estate in Groot Bijgaarden near Brussels and the design for the central park for the World Expo in Shanghai - a project currently being realized. With their 'unsolicited recommendations for the city', ZUS also campaigns to put a number of political themes back on the agenda, strives to make the forces that are at work in the urban field visible and debatable and endeavours to redefine the role of the designer within this field of tension.

Re-public collects the observations of ZUS on the contemporary city in a forceful, proactive statement and couples them with many concrete and tangible projects. In that sense the book is an eye-opener for anyone who is active in the contemporary city and a source of inspiration for all designers who are prepared to broaden their horizons.

  • Date: 2007
  • Dimensions: 17 x 23 cm, 160 pages, hardcover
  • Authors: Elma van Boxel & Kristian Koreman
  • Graphic Design: Aagje Martens
  • Publisher: NAi010 Publishers