In collaboration with
Lucia Babina
Co-founder, IT

Market Academy Naschmarkt

The future of street markets is uncertain. Owing to competition from supermarket chains, street markets attract fewer people and towns and villages lose social significance. That also applies to the iconic Naschmarkt, even though it is Vienna’s largest fruit and vegetable market as well as a tourist attraction. Henriette Waal and Lucia Babina initiated the Market Academy Naschmarkt with the aim of helping market traders, local residents, cooks and artists consider the market’s future.

The Market Academy develops, rediscovers and shares market knowledge, ideas and products, allowing stallholders to profit from a market in transition.

Within this framework, five ‘actions’ were developed:

  • The MAN Reception is the academy ‘reception’ in one of the stalls at the Naschmarkt where you can drink a coffee and share ideas with visitors and stallholders.
  • The MAN Dumpling Faculty is a mobile kitchen where cooks collaborate on new dishes made from market waste. Underprivileged people come here to eat and value both the gesture and the dishes.
  • The MAN Talks is the programming of stalls after the market closes. The aim is to double the rent and enhance social cohesion. Prominent Western artists and architects share their vision, market traders discuss how they see the market’s future, and new plans are hatched.
  • The MAN Pamphlet challenges politicians, activists, designers and public bodies to make a statement about the importance of the market and involves them in developing future perspectives.
  • MAN Drechsler Time is a mobile coffee bar specially for market traders, inspired by the former owner of Café Drechsler, who served coffee for the stallholders every morning. Besides coffee, human contact and conversation are what the Drechsler Time is all about. A social moment for the stallholders themselves, on a market where tasting, feeling, contact and social interaction are the most important assets.

The Academy was launched during the Wiener Festwochen cultural festival, held from 29 May to 5 June 2010, and all five actions were put into practice. In a follow-up with students from the Public Space department at Design Academy Eindhoven, an animation was developed that mapped the market over a 24-hour period, from farmers and cleaners to beggars, couples and tourists (looking, but not buying) and the illegal trade that took place before the market officially opened. This highlighted the immaterial side of the market, instead of the monumental architecture once designed by Otto Wagner.