Trailer Tension and synthesis: project

Not eligible for AIA CES Credits

The lesson traces the lines of an experimental design itinerary starting from the inland areas of Liguria: Realdo, an old village a few kilometers from the French border, perched at about 1,000 m above sea level overlooking Valle Argentina. A municipality founded around the 15th - 16th century which, for centuries, defined the border between the Duchy of Savoy and the Republic of Genoa.

A territory steeped in customs and traditions, daily practices and gestures, where the space of living has always contaminated roads, paths, movements and views. A place which bears the signs of the passage of time and marked by abandonment, where a small resilient community still breathes among its streets. A place for investigation, research, awareness, inspiration and creation.

This is where the narration of a synthetic project begins, starting from the deep knowledge of the territory and its memory, a project based on the tension between past and future, tradition and innovation, where the role of the designer is that of a wise interpreter. So, starting from the context, the lesson explores the method, research and proposals of the Mauro Olivieri Designer firm, free designer and critical and visionary “craftsman of design”.

Criticism and vision as a legacy of the relationship with Seville, Toulouse and Gérard Gayou, great connoisseur of design, architecture and communication and spiritual guide of artists and talents through his Association Saint Henri and the Art Festival, place and opportunity for dialogue, contamination and freedom: “Feeding artists to feed art”. 

The affinity with the French master brings Mauro Olivieri to an important reflection on his own approach to the project. Project as a continuous tension between themes and issues, spaces and materials, forms and functions, translating and interpreting them in a dynamic and evolutionary cultural process. The space of design has no apparent boundaries and opens up to distant fields and disciplines, capable of challenging dogmas and axioms: not only architecture and construction, but design, food and craftsmanship.

There are numerous projects resulting from observation, from the territory to its contexts intended as perceptive landscapes: colors, scents, tastes, noises and sensations. From Gragnano pasta to a lamp, a refuge, a house: a transversal project capable of crossing different scales, “from the spoon to the city”, as Ernesto Nathan Rogers said in '52, from the territory to its culture.

This is how Mauro Olivieri’s works and projects take shape. Casa Olistica in Sanremo, an ever-evolving domestic space, where compositional, material and spatial experimentation defines a dynamic approach to the project in constant growth and change. Rifugio, an intimate and evocative space in only 25sqm, a sensitive location capable of reinterpreting the simplicity of the nature it is immersed in. The Campotti di Gragnano, a study on the shapes and dimensions of a new pasta form, a ring made of water and wheat whose proportions enhance the tastes and flavors of the Italian culinary culture, winner of the Honorable Mention at the Compasso d'Oro. Grigio Ardesia, a work based on the knowledge, understanding and cutting of the stone typical of Valle Argentina or the numerous proposals for Vistosi, collections of lamps in blown glass, chromed steel or fabrics. Also, the study and research on bamboo and its physical and structural features, its potential as a material and resource for a sustainable and careful architectural project.

The material of the project, delicate and multiform, is nature with its resources: shadow and light, glass and wood, stone and grains, oils and flowers. A material to be interpreted, modeled and shaped for the needs of people, solid and ephemeral, while respecting the environment

A project made of tension and synthesis, genius and crisis, investigation and vision, experimentation, technology and innovation, where fragments of time reside between places and people, practices and ways of living, tracing the lines for a future in symbiosis with the earth, mother earth.

Learning objectives

  • Analyze in depth the issues related to the relationship between architecture, landscape and construction through the theme of living in its different scales, from the house to the object, studying the complexity of construction, technology and production in relation to the context and the territory 
  • Highlight the resources and potential of inland areas that are undergoing processes of abandonment, reinterpreting the architecture of the rural and mountain landscape in a contemporary key, proposing strategies for recovery or new constructions that focus on the project as an element of reconnection, as well as the work focused on the settlement issue of the new intervention within the landscape
  • Explain the topics typical of the profession, the role of the designer in listening and translating requests, needs, resources and energies, as well as the close relationship with the client in the various phases of the project
  • Illustrate the projects by Mauro Olivieri Designer, studying their compositional language and their place in the context, evaluating the technological and constructive aspects, as well as the formal-compositional experimentation in the research between place, materiality and time


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