Under40 - Between Territory and craftsmanship - ISPLORA

Trailer Between Territory and Craftsmanship

Not eligible for AIA Credits

The fields of art and fashion are now mingled with the field of architecture, with a significant loss of specificity of the latter. [...] Faced with this situation, uncertain and fluctuating, a radical awareness seems increasingly necessary, a real act of re-foundation that has to start from the answer to an essential question, concerning the role of architecture

- Franco Purini

The lesson provides the opportunity to analyze the existing design landscape, in relation to some of the most significant Under40 firms in Italy, in a network of knowledge and challenges that makes it possible to highlight themes and projects that are representative of talented realities in the world of architecture, with a vision that is not only contemporary but capable of looking at the current social, design and cultural situation. An exploration that highlights the need to question preconceptions, to rethink approaches. Defining a new way of creating architecture, but above all conceiving design as a continuous evolution in a world that in recent decades has developed new connections, without limits and barriers, with a continuous exchange: continuous dynamism that is reflected in a society with new needs.

A tribute to the new pioneers of architecture, which aims at investigating without putting the voices of young professionals in competition, but rather defining the occasion for dialogue and exchange between compositional, graphic, technological, and design knowledge. A narration that shows architects as a synergistic category, experimenting with new interpretations of living as a great professional laboratory where the need to discover persists. 

The voices of two Under40 firms – In-Nova Studio and 120 grammi Laboratorio di Architettura – illustrate works, achievements and competitions, graphic projects and stories sharing technical knowledge, for multidisciplinary approaches in search of new challenges. A fresh and curious look that investigates architecture in its countless possibilities.

On the one hand the firm In-Nova Studio in Naples, with architects Marcello Ferrara, Martina Russo and Riccardo Teo; on the other hand 120 Grammi Laboratorio di Architettura, with the voices of Carlo Pavan and Nicola Pavan.

In-Nova Studio proposes a definition of the firm and its methodological approach based on three concepts – taken from the famous book by Rem Koolhaas S, M, L, XL – interpreted in the modality of S = Simplicity, M = Mediation, L = Language, for a narration that introduces design from a domestic and intimate scale to the urban scale of regeneration and competition. Within the first term – Simplicity – an excursus on executed works such as Casa DPM and Solfat House in Pozzuoli, both analyzed in their interior design and the creation of handcrafted details; the second term – Mediation – is associated to the residential project of Residenze Cavour in Parete, whose volumetric and compositional solutions are commented in relation to the surrounding collective and public space; the third chapter – connected to Language – presents projects developed in competitions, for school areas and school or multifunctional centers – such as the Scuola Pizzigoni in Milan and the Directional Center in Palermo – in a wide-ranging reflection on the design of contemporary school spaces dedicated to new didactics, and multidisciplinary institutional spaces, in direct contact and relationship with the territory they are set in.

120 grammi Laboratorio di Architettura, on the other hand, is portrayed through the name of the firm and its symbol, an elephant, analyzing its intervention approaches following the words of William Morris, who wrote about the concept of architecture: “It is wide-ranging, because it encompasses the consideration of the entire physical environment that surrounds human life: we cannot escape it while we are part of civilization, because architecture is the set of modifications and alterations introduced into the earth’s surface in order to satisfy human needs, excepting only the pure desert.”

From the weight of paper – 120 grams – to the territorial analysis in its broadest aspects – reminiscent of an elephant’s furrowed skin – Carlo and Nicola Pavan narrate their craftsmanship approach as a research method on content and matter, related to a workshop-oriented way of thinking, an abstract place to experiment new ways of working. Through the project of setting up Industriae, a lesson capable of showing the relationship with the territory and the context of Porto Marghera where 120 grammi finds space, becoming a suitable background for a continuous curatorial and archival research linked to the study and analysis of data that recount the depth of the design of urban space and policies for the territory. A steampunk approach where ancient technologies and devices are mixed, as in the Follow-Up! exhibition, which became an opportunity to endow a temporary project with a timeless meaning capable of acquiring the same importance as, for example, a family chapel that is instead called to last for eternity.

A lesson that deals with multiple topics of sharing, in which young architects can interact and discuss concretely on the themes of design and their profession through ideas and research, encouraging relationships with other professionals, promoting initiatives, projects and concepts aimed at expanding the field of knowledge in various areas of intervention, from construction sites to the design of exhibition spaces, from innovative solutions for contemporary domestic living to the craftsmanship of execution. A lesson that encourages the common ethical conscience of creating architecture, with strong compositional values while respecting the territory and sustainability, for the execution of projects aimed at promoting the quality of museum, domestic, urban and environmental spaces in different Italian regions, enhancing the image of young architects, in their relationship with the institutions, continuous challenges and the community.

Learning objectives

  • To share and explain a young and dynamic knowledge, in a narration of architecture where the profession becomes a continuous source of research and stimulus, to enhance a doctrine that expresses itself and grows thanks to the influences it comes into contact with: places, cultures, territories with their own configurations and peculiarities, new materials or materials to be rediscovered, forms to graft onto.
  • The lesson addresses the issue of the relationship with the territorial, historical and cultural context where the firms are located and work, showing different territorial backgrounds and various approaches to the profession.
  • The lesson shows the new professional approaches to the reality of competition, the relationship with the client and investigates the effects and dynamics through the analysis of different case studies, from a domestic to a territorial scale, exploring ways of representing and studying existing realities.
  • The lesson focuses on the desire to question and conceive design as a continuous evolution, in search of ever different solutions in relation to the existing built environment and the demands made by the society of which composition is a part, as an incentive for a new collective ethic of architecture of the new generations.


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