La città è mobile!

collaboration with matteo pacella, ldf 2018

 polyester resin and mdf, 2018


La città è mobile! is a collection of furniture which interprets, at an intermediate scale, the archetypal forms of classical architecture and the wooden building blocks children play with.

The tradition of referencing architecture onto furniture goes back to Renaissance times, and here the reference to classical architecture is explicit: the thirteen pieces that form a comprehensive range of seats, steps, tables, consoles and bookshelves are the translation at the scale of furniture of the classical typologies of the arcade, the temple, the aquaduct... The proportions are based on the Golden Ratio, and the spacing between the columns follow the intercolumniation rules as described by Vitruvius. But the blue and synthetic resin which coats the pieces comes at odds with the historical reference and places the collection "fuori tempo": out of time.

Beyond the structural value of classical architecture, it is it’s symbolic value that comes into play. In the sameway that Aldo Rossi did in his architecture, we have used the archetypal forms of classical architecture to measure which effect they still produce on us: do we find their familiar and rational presence comforting, almost maternal, or to the other end, do they haunt our dreams like in De Chirico’s paintings? What is certain is that we can not stay indifferent to them, because over thousands of years, they have deeply permeated our collective psyche, defined our cultural identity, shaped our perception of beauty.
These archetypal forms have been stylised here to their minimal expression, like in Italian fascist architecture but also, on an other scale, like objects to which we relate much more instantanely: the wooden building blocks.

The wooden building blocks are the ultimate stylization of the architectural archetypes into pure volumes, mathematical objects which assemble with one another; they reveal the semiotic translation by which the cylinder becomes a column, the triangle a roof and the arch, a bridge. Here, the columns, the step, the bridge and the ottoman assemble just like building blocks. Their combinational value illustrates that classical architecture is also a game: from isolated fragments, it is a whole city that can be reconstituted.

Magnified toys or miniature architecture, La città è mobile! disrupts our perception of the scale of furniture and invites us, through the anachronistic permanence of ancient forms, to enter a mythological space where time seems suspended, and where the ephemeral reality of daily-life is put in tension with the classical idea of eternity.