As steady progress is made on site – mainly consisting in the re-assembling of the wooden decking, external stair and first-level balcony – we decide to revise and agree on the technical design, construction and on-site fitting of ‘the wheel’. Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects within the overall design strategy, ‘the wheel’ acts as an anchorage point for the first level structure and roof, while making a direct reference to the Roma aesthetic leitmotifs. Cornel grabs his pen and quickly starts sketching over the pack of drawings I spread across his desk. After a few attempts at finding the right balance between span ratios, section types and cost, the silence is broken : ‘It will be painstaking, but not impossible!’.
The wheel-shaped, sixteen-spoked chakra, was adopted as the international Romani symbol at the first Romani conference in 1971 held in London (1), celebrating a link back to the Roma’s Indian ancestry (2). Reminiscent of the wheels of the Vardo, or Wagon, which has served as the home for wandering Romany families, the sixteen-spoked chakra stands for movement and creation, resilience to ever-changing surroundings and spiritual liberation.
With all metal components procured, work begins on bending the wheel frame and shaping the spokes.
(1) Grthmlondon.org.uk,. ‘Romani Nationalism, The Roma Flag And Roma National Anthem | Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month’. n.p., 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
(2) Gypsy Press,. ‘Gypsy History And Folklore – Gypsy Press’. n.p., 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.