Friday, 29 April 2016

Salone Del Mobile 2016, Part B- Residences et al., Chapter 3: STANZE: ROOMS. Novel Living Concepts…The Exhibition.

Image above: detail of URSUS, by Duilio Forte at STANZE: ROOMS. Novel Living Concepts, XXI Triennale International Exhibition 2016, from 2/4/2016 to 12/9/2016, in Milan, Italy.  

 “…DUILIO FORTE sees architecture primarily as a highly skilled and imaginative practice. His house, which grew over the years like a termite mound of original and wacky objects and solutions, all built with his own hands, is the synthesis of his creative fantasy. His project absolutely had to be associated with the books that have re-evaluated the craftsmanship aspect of homo faber, even from a highly technological perspective, such as 3D printing which enables all kinds of products to be designed and manufactured at a distance: Richard Sennet, The Craftsman (2008) – and also Stefano Micelli, Futuro Artigiano (2011); and Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (2012).”…

It seems that it is not just a trend or a temporary measure. Strong evidence shows that Interior Architecture is destined to be the dominant discipline of the future in design- incorporating new technologies and new living standards. The exhibition Stanze. Altre  filosofie dell’abitare  (in English: Rooms. Novel living concepts ) is one of the leading manifestations, in which the Salone Del Mobile 2016 is liaising with XXI Triennale International  Exhibition 2016- and also a definite turning point, in regards to what will follow the upcoming years. We will deal with what IS LEFT for us to develop- and  with a building sector reluctant to (more) extravagance. There will be REFORM- in every sector of our society and the primal one is the space we live.  Eleven prominent Italian architects present a series of habitat concepts, entitled to host the human existence and its many needs and current complexities. A fascinating narrative orchestrated with virtuosity and wisdom by curator Beppe Finessi- and designed with rhythm and stealth by architect Gianni Filindeu  (exhibition design) and communication designer Leonardo Sonnoli (graphic design).  

Visitors enter and walk through a series of rooms, each designed by a different Architect-Author. Umberto Riva, Alessandro Mendini, Lazzarini e Pickering, Manolo De Giorgi, Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli, Andrea  Anastasio, Fabio Novembre, Duilio Forte, Elisabetta Terragni, Carlo Ratti and Francesco Librizzi, illustrate their living concepts and philosophies under those titles respectively: Proposition for a Bolt Hole- My Prisons- La Vie en rose- Round and Round- The Absence of Presence- Resonances- INTRO- Ursus- Putting Things into Perspective- Pin Room- D1. Discovering the Domestic Space . Each of the authors formulate their own room Quest-ions and philosopher Francesco M. Cataluccio  has selected literary and philosophical reference texts for each project.

The so-many topics for discussion and the various issues raised out of these proposals, consist a list of the quintessential themes in contemporary living: Is the person or his/her residence the center of study? Meta-humanism is appealing? Should everything be taken for granted in interior architecture today? What does Inhabiting a Space means these days? A home is planned as our personal scenography of object hoarding? Or it is a new type of bunker or bank Safe? Is a house a remote destination from urbanity- a sanctuary? A set of furniture in use or One Unit/Module that can be shaped and reproduced  for (any) use? What is the domestic “Internet of things”? How  dangerous it is for an architect to be involved in Interior design? Is interior design a delicate and complex procedure, when it comes to the resident?

Extracts from the STANZE experience:
…“For a long time, forever in fact, I have felt as though I were living shut inside a prison. Serving a life sentence for the crime of “ornamentation”. I find myself in an introverted room,  a blockaded perimeter, an insurmountable mental space. Small yet also enormous, completely confined, in any event. My ideas, my style, my atmosphere, my mirage: everything is in there. It is the isolation cell inside a romantic and privileged Alcatraz. Imprisoned by nightmares, by torture, by hallucinations, by the abyss of decoration.  It’s like the methodical self-building of walls and surfaces destined to deny me my freedom.  I often think about ABET laminate. It was the first material I fell in love with. Cold, flat, high-tech, geometrical, amorphous yet erotic, up for anything, prepared to lose and make me lose our purity. 

My conventions, my desires have smoothed it, painted it, stroked it, illuminated it, polished it and softened it. Laminate seduced me so completely that it must have been the source of the decorative obsession with infinite signs, styles and colors that wrapped me ever more firmly inside the cocoon of my sins, my terrible thirst for ornamentation. If I try to locate the true, distant beginning of my design life sentence, of my prisons, I find it in the emptiness of the drawings produced by hand or on the computer, above the superficiality of the surfaces, not in the depth of space and form.”…. 

Alessandro Mendini, My Prisons (see photo bellow)

"The CARLO RATTI ASSOCIATI practice has designed a space that shows off technology at its most practical: a platform of soft pins that can rise up and reconfigure the space in a potentially infinite number of combinations- the Pin Room. Each of its components (pixels turned matter) allows us to literally manipulate the physical universe and transform it, each time into the “best of all possible tangible worlds.” (see photo bellow)

”This is a proposal for a place in which to isolate oneself.  My thoughts immediately flew to the Cabanon designed by Le Corbusier in a pine forest on the Cote d’Azur where he spent the summer months during the latter part of his life. The project consists of a small completely self sufficient room (13m2), in which the spaces and utilities have been pared down to a minimum. An exploration of Existenz  Minimum, in which the relationship between the person and the internal space is the most important and delicate consideration of all. A room of monastic rigour, in which the light, the materials and the design of the furnishings assume the most important role.”… 
Umberto Riva – Proposition for a Bolt Hole (see photos bellow) (3)

 "The famous novel by Czech writer Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) informs FABIO NOVEMBRE’s project, INTRO. Existence and the short and long-term choices we all make are totally irrelevant, according to Kundera: this is where their unbearableness resides. The only thing man should be able to say about existence, in order to give it meaning, is that it is a Necessity. Not by chance the novel opens with a reflection on the “Eternal Recurrence”, which represents the desire to impress Necessities on our lives. Novembre’s room is a kind of head, which of necessity and ironically carries architecture over into the shapes of the body and the room into to the head, with its perfectly habitable cavities." (see photo bellow)

 …”When organising internal spaces our time is spent debating alternative dichotomies between revealing and concealing, or rather between presence and absence, and between “gymnasium” and “stage set”. Homes are not merely machines ΰ habiter, but stages on which our daily lives are played out. This duality conceals the “raw nerve” of C21st design. Machines ΰ habiter actually make for perfect distribution, carefully evaluated climate conditions and generous fixed furnishing systems. “Stages for daily life” serve to show off objects and materials that demonstrate how far we have come financially and culturally: from large screen televisions to original paintings, from large amounts of books to elegant drawing rooms still covered with plastic, from hydromassage tubs to brass-effect finishings, from hyper-technological kitchens to mega sofas.
People throughout the ages have attributed specific “powers of representation” to different and particular objects. This therefore means that when tackling a design for a “novel living concept”, the value of “absences” needs to be explored. It is no longer simply a matter of modifying the “presences” in terms of taste and culture, but of building a room to be lived as an “absence” (an empty space for coming and going and for contemplating works of art). The “presence” will return, transformed into experiences for “lone” activation within well defined areas, earmarked for different human activities: reading a book, getting undressed or eating.
This is a project that does not simply aesthetically valorise the concept of emptiness, but is driven by different “contemporary family” structures. Families made up of individuals all of whom have reached adulthood but who, out of necessity, continue to live together, or unrelated people required to share a space, for instance. Within these nuclei, each person needs to create their own intimacy, their own story, their own “one man tent”.
Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli The Absence of Presence (Collaborators: Stefano Ragazzo and Giorgio Bonaguro) (see photo bellow)

For detailed presentations, videos and access information to this pivotal, beyond- homemaking, international event -gathering important visions, opinions and comments on the Future Residence subject- please follow the links of the exhibition’s contributors: 



Explore unknown energies, undiscovered possibilities. Walk through the ROOMS… and happy design thinking!


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