Once again, INTERNI took over the courtyards of Università degli Studi di Milano and populated them with experimental installations. Titled “Legacy,” the show was meant to seek design messages that could be seen as valuable memories in the future, in terms of design thinking, technologies, materials, and expressions. I don’t know if I was too impressed last year, I actually found this year’s show quite disappointing. If these were what we would pass on to the future, the future doesn’t look so bright.
|INTERNI Legacy, Jacopo Foggini’s Flyschin the middle|
|From left to right: SOM, Odile Decq, Mendini|
Just upon entrance, I saw Zhang Ke’s Village Mountains. I knew he was in the show, but for quite some time I thought this piece was from Denmark, or Korean. (I have to confess, if I had followed Standardarchitecture’s work, I would have recognized this as the Vertical Village at Chengdu Biennale last year, not BIG or Mass Studies.) On the other side was Michele de Lucchi’s Belvedere, which by definition provided a fair view from the elevated platform.
|Zhang Ke’s Village Mountains|
|Belvedere by Michele de Lucchi|
|Arrow in Carrara white marble by Ora Ïto|
On the other side of the main courtyard, Alessandro and Francesco Mendini put up nine plywood totems of... printed patterns! Next to those was a big tilted white triangle. It was “a tribute to Richard Meier,” in honor of his use of white concrete. The problem was, this badly made white triangle was not even concrete! (Knock, knock...)
|On the other side, Mendini, fake Meier, and Monica Armani|
|Peeping into Monica Armani’s wooden monolith XL Wood|
|“A tribute to Richard Meier”|
At the corner was Architect’s Eye by Russian duo SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov. This 2.5m diameter stainless steel ball has an LED system that created a rather creepy image of a huge human eyeball, changing in color and sometimes overlapping with photos of Russian avant-garde monuments. I waited and finally caught it in red – the color that I thought would best match the title.
|Architect’s Eye by SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov|
|Icon Celebration by Matteo Ragni|
|Flow by Przemyslaw “Mac” Stopa|
I can’t imagine I’m saying this. The best in the main courtyard was from Odile Decq and SOM. They were both interesting play with geometry. Odile Decq’s 3D x1 was a cube measuring 4.5m on all sides, made with 31 vertical sheets of 6mm thick porcelain stoneware. A cone pierced through diagonally, implying the perspectival view towards the sky. SOM built a pavilion in Carrara marble with horizontal layers in gently shifting surfaces, referring to the stratification caused by the act of quarrying stone.
|SOM and Odile Decq|
|Odile Decq’s 3D x1|
|SOM’s One – Into the Void|
In Hall Aula Magna, six Russian artists presented their work under the title of “Verge” curated by Elena Selina. In a smaller courtyard, Scholten&Baijings disassembled a MINI and gave each part a redefined pattern or color.
|“Verge” exhibition featuring Electroboutique’s Knode and 3G International|
|Color One by Scholten&Baijings for MINI|
Passing through Patricia Urquiola’s colorful Big Bags to the upper floor, I saw Jürgen Mayer H.’s Strip carpet. Compared to other JMH design, this carpet seemed quite “under control.” The pattern broke the rhythm of the colonnade, delineating the walking path and somehow expanding the space – I have to say, not so bad.
|Patricia Urquiola’s Big Bags jammed at a stair entrance|
|Jürgen Mayer H.’s Strip carpet|
The most interesting was probably the Photosynthesis installation in the small courtyard. Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata teamed up with Panasonic to create an artificial miniature ecosystem. A tree of solar panel leaves collected solar energy and powered the LED flowers and fruits scattered on the lawn and in the corridors. I found the metaphor extremely appropriate, both in the sense of forms and mechanism. I still regret that I didn’t have time to go back and see it at night.
|Photosynthesis by Akihisa Hirata for Panasonic|