The Alessi MUTANTS program is a 4-week intensive postgraduate course in emergent digital directions within object and architectural design. The course aims at investigating and exploring the systems, processes, and techniques of Alessi design in the context of studio, research, and practice. The purpose is to develop scaleable geometries that will assist in the development of objects and architectural forms.
The students will explore design mutations with a single project, probing materials and production techniques of Alessi design. The workshop and the accompanying seminars will focus on the challenges of developing and expanding the domain of Alessi object design in the context of emerging technologies in the design and production of objects and architecture.
The final review of student projects will be located at the Alessi Headquarters in Omegna, Italy taking advantage of the location. Students will also have an unprecedented opportunity to tour the Alessi dream factory and the Alessi Museum.
Guests: Alberto Alessi, Gloria Barcellini / Danilo Alliata
ALESSI Mutants or (Wine & Cheese Pavilions)
Tea & Coffee Towers
“The Tea & Coffee Towers 20 years later thus picks up from the earlier project twenty years later with the same motive of an experimental exploration of the world of contemporary international architecture, in the quest for new talent capable of renewing the domestic landscape. This time the young architects are twice as many 22 and their designs, rich in original cultural, aesthetic, anthropological and technological stimuli again fill me with new curiosity and great hope for design in the 21st century”
Alberto Alessi 2003
The summer studio will reinvent the relationship between architecture and industrial object, focusing on a series of small-scale objects and the morphing into a large-scale associated pavilion study. As a precedent study the studio will use the Alessi Tea & Coffee Towers architecture as the conceptual origin for forms, reliefs, hybrid design objects and create a small environment that has a remove from the initial typology, utilitarian derivation and meaning of the works. Though these projects begin as architectural investigation of Alessi typology, the work will inform an international discourse on processes, technologies of manufacture, and on form itself. The projects will aim to develop spatial representations that redefine the notion of physical space by warping, pulling and pushing the boundaries of the small object until we are left with architectonic interpretations that create new and unfamiliar interior landscapes and exterior forms. In one instance, a series of table objects are transformed into a life sized relief from which flows, as if in motion, an elegant, desk that transforms into modulated pavilion form. The original 1983 Alessi Tea Coffee Piazza piece by Hans Hollein amongst others is a surreal juxtaposition of a giant aircraft carrier and a rural landscape, a deliberately provocative gesture transformed into a four-piece tea and coffee set. Hollein's transformations of commonplace objects and the landscape in a number of photomontages had certain parallels with Pop art, he shared the larger concerns of polemical architects, such as Archigram and utopian, statements of the Italian groups Archizoom and Superstudio toward the end of the 1960s, a decade that culminated in cultural upheavals throughout much of the world. Aldo Rossi’s Teatro del Mundo originating from his Venice Biennale scheme is mutated from its origins into a cluster of elements inspired by the shape of the architectural form. This reflects a potential for a vision of a new twenty-first century form; part of a revolutionary body of works based on organic systems of organization. Each piece aims at exploring a new environment using a formal language of fluidity that seamlessly transform object and architecture into a comprehensive environment. The pieces aim to provide a basis for research into patterns and forms in ways previously deemed impossible, with the designs demonstrating the potential to transform from single object into a series of interconnected elements and pavilion form, extending Alessi’s 20-year parallel explorations in Tea & Coffee projects into new design and micro architecture. The summer intensive offers architects and designers a place to work out and put forward experimental methods, forms and styles amidst the technological revolution that is reshaping contemporary design and architecture. It is a hybrid, quoting design and architecture as a scale-less field of operation and spatial production. Though some objects are imbued with functionality and ergonomic considerations, it is about manipulating space and formal integration. The designed environment describes movement in a static material using state-of-the-art methods of design and fabrication. The Alessi Mutants project presents a far-reaching opportunity in developing knowledge and the myriad of architectural processes of Alessi project design. Its aim is to transform our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.