In the eight days since Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old, was killed by a police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, what began as an impromptu vigil evolved into a sustained protest; it is now beginning to look like a movement.
The local QuikTrip, a gas station and convenience store that was looted and burned on the second night of the protests, has now been repurposed as the epicenter for gatherings and the exchange of information. The front of the lot bears an improvised graffiti sign identifying the area as the “QT People’s Park.”
With the exception of a few stretches, such as Thursday afternoon, when it was veiled in clouds of tear gas, protesters have been a constant presence in the lot. On Sunday afternoon the area was populated by members of local churches, black fraternity and sorority groups, Amnesty International, the Outcast Motorcycle Club, and twenty or so white supporters from the surrounding area.
On the north side of the station, a group of volunteers with a mobile grill served free hot dogs and water, and a man stood on a crate, handing out bright yellow T-shirts with the logo of the National Action Network, the group led by Al Sharpton.
The conversation here has shifted from the immediate reaction to Michael Brown’s death and toward the underlying social dynamics. Two men I spoke with pointed to the disparity in education funding for Ferguson and more affluent municipalities nearby.
Another talked about being pulled over by an officer who claimed to smell marijuana in the car as a pretense for searching him.
“I’m in the United States Navy,” he told me. “We have to take drug tests in the military so I had proof that there were no drugs in my system. But other people can’t do that.”
Six black men I spoke to, nearly consecutively, pointed to Missouri’s felon-disfranchisement laws as part of the equation.
“If you’re a student in one of the black schools here and you get into a fight you’ll probably get arrested and charged with assault. We have kids here who are barred from voting before they’re even old enough to register,” one said.
Ferguson’s elected officials did not look much different than they had years earlier, when it was a largely white community.
Going on right now in Ferguson: Police are raiding a church that has been stocked with medical supplies, food, and tear gas recovery kits for community members engaging in protests. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Stand up, speak out.
What the flying fuck. This is getting out of hand.
Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manky is a design tandem whose works meet at the crossroads of industrial production and craftsmanship. In all their projects they seek to maintain a balance between innovation and grace. Their latest project is a fine example of this rule. The designers rearranged the interior of an old Saint-Lazare priory to host a hotel and a restaurant. Over the centuries the building had served monks and nuns, been used as a hospice and at one point even a prison. In 1980s it was first transformed into a hotel. The project reinterprets the story of Saint-Lazare for the future. Corresponding with the space which avoids unnecessary stylistic effects, the designers introduced their own pared-down and elegant style. This resulted as a sensual and refined interior of a mystical, ancient monastery.
„We quietly slipped into the Saint-Lazare priory, immersing ourselves in its history and its uniqueness. We tried to capture its essence, from its monastic simplicity to its prison austerity via the wisdom and philosophy of those who built and lived here. Then we had to fine-tune our approach, to give life to a contemporary vision that would respect and preserve the spirit of the building. We didn’t want the visitor to forget where they were. On the contrary, we wanted to assure an intimate experience of the site, allowing the visitor to appropriate fragments of the past in comfort. Achieving this also meant rising to the challenge of the constraints imposed by the building’s classification as an historic monument, notably that we were not permitted to touch the ceilings and the walls. The best approach was to find a way to turn these constraints into opportunities.”