#StepAhead: Italy Installs Social Distancing Grids On A Public Square For Safe Navigation

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While the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic will linger some time, the world is slowly inching towards normalcy through ingenuity and creativity. Italy, one of the worst-hit countries, is now gradually opening with new installations cropping up in its towns and cities to implement social distancing guidelines. By Manya Saini

It might be a while before tourists and locals can forego the social distancing guidelines necessary to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus, making it imperative for nations to come up with means to ensure these are followed by the public. In line with the philosophy, an Italian town near Florence, Vicchio has transformed a public square — Piazza Giotto — using white grids to mark the safe distancing that travellers and residents must keep from one another.

The installation named, StoDistante has been curated by Caret Studio founded by Matteo Chelazzi, Federico Cheloni and Giulio Margheri in 2014, to work as an active reminder of the pandemic to make sure that people remember the importance of physical distancing and curb the transmission of COVID-19.

The temporary design helps people safely navigate the square using its 1.8-metre grids painted along the cobblestones to act as indicators. Once the pandemic is declared over, the removable paint will restore the historic Piazza to its original state. Since the day of its arrival, the site has seen children delightedly using it as a socially distant playground and adults having direct conversations from one square to the other.

The statement on the company’s website says that the founding idea behind the project was to help people reclaim and reactivate public spaces without fear once the lockdown rules were relaxed by the government. “The regular grid has been developed into a pattern, composed by a gradient of squares of differing dimensions, creating new perspectives and interactions within the existing context,” it states.

The initiative has been customised to comply with the mandate of the Tuscany region that all persons remain at least six-feet apart from one another. All tourist hotspots and other crowded spaces are set to reflect the new realities of the world in the coming months. As per reports, other public areas in Italy, as well as many more European countries, could also potentially use StoDistante in their bustling cities and towns.

Related: #StepAhead: Florence’s Duomo Introduces New Social Distancing Device For Visitors Post-COVID-19

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