MiND Explores FuoriSalone 2019

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“Life is more important than architecture”, said Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012), providing inspiration for the theme of FuoriSalone 2019 in Milan. Bringing together a series of experimental and interactive installations of architecture and design, the exhibition-event of INTERNI MagazineHuman Spaces – put human beings and their vital needs back at the center.

Taking part in the event, MiND had the opportunity to discover new inspiring design dimensions. Here are a few of our highlights that extended the concept of Human Spaces to the environment and sustainability.

‘Help the Planet, Help the Humans’ installation by Maria Cristina Finucci for One Ocean Foundation. Video from Interni Magazine.

In the center of the Cortile d’Onore was Maria Cristina Finucci’s installation Help the Planet, Help the Humans’, featuring four giant letters that spell out ‘HELP’, using almost two tons of plastic bottle caps. The installation was transformed in the evening, illuminated from beneath, causing the words to look as if the earth is burning. During the press conference, Finucci stated that this installation represents a wound in the earth and was a cry for humanity to stop the environmental disaster of marine pollution, which is currently underway.

"Over the years, my project has been transformed and is no longer limited to the pressing environmental issue but puts the individual and life on the planet at the center.” (Finucci)

‘The Circular Garden’ by Carlo Ratti Associati.

Following the “sustainable” theme, a large ring in the Cortile d’Onore of the university, acted as a teaser for The Circular Garden’ installation, located at the Orto Botanico di Brera, by Carlo Ratti Associati with ENI. The ring was made of mycelium, the same organic material derived from mushrooms used to make the four ‘rooms’ at the botanic gardens – consisting of 4-meter tall arc-shaped structures.

The project highlighted the possibilities of architecture that grows and develops organically, with the same intelligence of living beings. At the end of the installation, the arches will be dismantled and returned to the soil as compost to start a new cycle of growth.

‘Sleeping Piles’ installation by Estudio Campana.

Another impressive installation was ‘Sleeping Piles’ by Estudio Campana. The project, supported by Apex Brasil, referenced the colonnade of the Cortile della Farmacia, with seven towers in the center, five meters high and covered with grass. Reflecting and reversing the architectural curves of the arches and pillars of the courtyard, the installation highlighted the coexistence of nature and architecture.

The installation proposes a reconnection between the natural world and the inner life of people. The Campana brothers explained: “Sleeping Piles invites visitors to relax at the foot of the towers, leaving the chaos of the city and contemporary life behind them”.

‘Regeneration’ installation by Raffaello Galioto. Video from Nardi.

‘Regeneration’ installation by Raffaello Galioto.

Similarly, ‘Regeneration’ by Raffaello Galioto was a space to unwind during the hectic design week. Composed entirely of regenerated plastic, the structure was made by recycling products that have reached the end of their life cycle, produced by the outdoor furnishing company Nardi.

The open-air space featured a large seated area to relax with hand-cranked chargers for devices inside the twisted structure, complemented by greenery. Resulting in a light and airy space where one can regenerate body and spirit.

‘La Foresta dei Violini’ by studio Piuarch and based on an idea by Nemo Monti.

The forest of Paneveggio in Val di Fiemme is famous for its Norwegian spruce trees that were used for centuries to make stringed instruments. However, in November 2018, a series of severe storms felled many of the trees, meaning around 12 million were destroyed.

Created by studio Piuarch and based on an idea by Nemo Monti, ‘La Foresta dei Violini’ (The Forest of Violins) is a tribute to the lost forest. Featuring an off-scale trestle, made with the lumber from the trees, the installation was a strong symbolic presence in the courtyard. With two Norwegian spruce trunks that were uprooted during the storms, it represents the work of man to repair the damages.

‘Conifera’ installation by COS and architect Arthur Mamou-Mani.

Also focusing on a circular, sustainable approach was ‘Conifera’, an installation by COS and architect Arthur Mamou-Mani at the Palazzo Isimbardi. The structure was made entirely from renewable, compostable materials, 3-D printed into interlocking shapes. Highlighting material innovation and mirroring the path from the Palazzo into the gardens, the structure represented a journey from the man-made to the natural world.

“I wanted the piece to echo the circular nature of the compostable material and create a journey from architecture to nature to showcase how renewable materials can create the building blocks of the future.” (Mamou-Mani)

‘Waste No More’ exhibition at Galleria Rossana Orlandi by Eileen Fisher.

Combining sustainability and fashion to create art, the ‘Waste No More’ exhibition at Galleria Rossana Orlandi featured a series of wall hangings made from recycled pieces of clothing that were no longer wearable. Eileen Fisher highlighted society’s overconsumption with a mound of old clothes at the entrance of the exhibition then demonstrated how she reused the clothes for a new purpose, rather than throwing them away.

‘From Shipyard to Courtyard’ by Lissoni Associati and Sanlorenzo.

Last but not least, taking up an entire courtyard, the Cortile del 700 featured an impressive architectural installation from Lissoni Associati and Sanlorenzo, one of the world’s leading producers of yachts. ‘From Shipyard to Courtyard’ resembled the wooden structures made by master shipwrights, reinterpreting the hull of a yacht in an abstract way. The installation was made of wood and painted red to match the color of the protective coatings applied to the keels of boats. It highlights a connection between the past, present and future of Sanlorenzo.

“As if the sea had dried up, the profile of a yacht has been left peacefully reclining in the Cortile del 700, like a creature whose skeleton alone is known to us, telling a story of original purity.” (Piero Lissoni)

As a result of collaborations between internationally renowned designers and leading companies, these installations outline the pressing topics for the future – one that is in tune with nature and protects the environment. MiND will hold on to the inspiration from FuoriSalone throughout this year and is already looking forward to seeing next year’s interpretations.

By: Isabelle James & Lisa Zanon

Gilda Bojardi, from Interni Magazine, during HUMAN SPACES press conference in Milan.