Contemporary Design

Baltic Neighbours, Stanisław MacLeod

Stanisław MacLeod
Baltic Neighbours proposes to explore the opportunities that arise in a new set of circumstances related to the isolation period following the outbreak of COVID-19. Using an entire building as a medium for the Baltic Sea to communicate through, a series of interventions took place to question the importance of the sea in our lives. The work that follows attempts to tune into themes of isolation, identity and well-being to create empathy and recognition of a non-human actor using a personified character of the Baltic Sea, who plays the role of a new neighbour in the apartment block in question.
Baltic Sea poster, Pictured: Ingy Hamdy
Baltic Sea poster, Pictured: Ingy Hamdy
25ft banner

My name is Baltic Sea and although I am not a person, I am now your neighbour. I have always been your neighbour, actually - but today I decided to move closer to you, to see if you would like to be friends. Lately, we have both been having some problems, which is why I thought we could talk about it, so we don’t feel like we have to deal with them alone. After all, there is only one of me, and lots of you.

Through a series of interactions with its new neighbours over the course of a weekend, the Sea begins to indicate its presence.

Poster 2
Poster being displayed by one of the residents

We already have so much in common as neighbours, so let’s make it clear! I would like to challenge you to a game. Times right now are a bit rough, just like me when the wind blows - which is why I think it is important for us to stick up for each other.

Love notes included treasures from the sea

I’m having the best housewarming weekend already! Remember, when you give something to the sea, the sea also gives back to you.

The next interventions reinforce the message that we have a two-way relationship with the Baltic and if we can ensure its wellbeing, it will also ensure ours. A flagpole outside the building was repurposed to display a string of seaweeds and a large banner displayed a slogan. Neither lasted for more than 12 hours. A love letter from the Sea was sent to each of the residents who put a poster up.


Maybe people aren’t ready to accept I’m really their neighbour yet, but that’s alright – I’ll be here, nonetheless.


The core of the research into the subject area was about how design can facilitate a more engaging way of distributing emerging scientific information. By looking critically at the current supply chain of information, a range of methods such as storytelling and narration [7][9] as well as larger-scale interventions [8] were explored and analysed. To inform the content of the interventions, information from a number of other organisations were consulted, including the John Nurmisen Foundation and the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.


[1], Baltic Solidarity Group.

[2] BALTEX, The Baltic Sea Experiment.

[3] BSAG, Baltic Sea Action Group.

[4] European Environment Agency, The Baltic Sea.

[5] HELCOM, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.

[6] John Nurmisen Foundation, Information on the Baltic Sea.

  • Published:
  • Updated: