Kintsugi

Project

Kintsugi is a Japanese practice that consists in using gold or liquid silver or lacquer with gold powder to repair ceramic objects, using the precious material to weld together the fragments. The practice is born from the idea that from imperfections and wounds an even greater form of aesthetic and interior perfection can be born.

The project aims to mend two fragments of the cities of Mestre and Marghera, with the aim of overcoming the barriers that currently separate them. The hinge that holds together nature and artifice is symbolically outlined as that precious material that unites what no longer has a unity. The reconnection starts from a “thorn” on which services, shared spaces, a public park and a rainwater drainage system are grafted. Starting from this first suture, a series of virtuous processes will be triggered, capable of reconnecting and redeveloping the entire margin of the garden city, with the aim of making it an integral part of Marghera’s design

Interview

What prompted the projects?

Based on the study and analysis of the territory, developed mainly from the existing and potential polarities along the edge of the Garden City, a problem of connections between the inside and the outside of the city was found. The configuration of the “limes” of the Garden City is articulated as a real boundary between the surrounding realities, often made up of road arteries that obstruct and discourage “slow” users, such as pedestrians and bicycles. The project is therefore born from the need to connect those urban fabrics that are located between these important infrastructures, with the aim of redeveloping Marghera and its weakest points, in order to include them in a framework that involves both Mestre and Venice.

What was your process in terms of understanding and acknowledging of a condition and designing a response?

The process to reach the redevelopment solution of one of the most populated districts of the Garden City was achieved starting from numerous inspections in the project area and from interviews carried out to the citizens who live in the neighbourhood, in order to achieve a better understanding of the needs and the problems of this area. All this allowed us to have a greater awareness of the actual needs to which the project should have responded. Hence the need to “solve” and reconnect the fractures and gaps between them and the urban context.

How important was the drawing as tool through which to test and articulate your ideas?

The continuous redesign of the strategy has allowed us to reach a unified design solution, built layer by layer, starting from the current state. The drawing has often revealed errors or discrepancies that we had not previously perceived, forcing us sometimes to start all over again. However, it is only thanks to this continuous questioning of the project that we have arrived at a coherent solution that fulfils all the criteria and problems of this area.

What drew you to explore Kintsugi as a metaphor for your project between Marghera and Mestre?

We used the concept of Kintsugi to study, explain and demonstrate the potential of these two cities, currently considered by everyone as a threshold, an ordinary service and suburb of the Venice lagoon. Despite their proximity, Mestre and Marghera are separated by an important railway infrastructure, a sorting point both at a commercial and tourist level in the whole region. However, this system is also figured out as a real barrier between the two cities, making them not very permeable to each other. Hence, the concept of Kintsugi, assumed as the act of stitching these two fabrics into a single fluid system.

What defined the various mediums through which you choose to explore the project?

Considering the principles on which the Garden City was designed and built, the project aims to conserve as much as possible the tree species of the area. Subsequently, the need to connect the two urban areas of Mestre and Marghera is fulfilled through an artificial “thorn” that acts as an equipped hinge and grows as it develops with a system of public services to the new student campus, placed in continuity with the central urban axis of Marghera. Therefore, pathways at zero altitude unwind in relation to the existing tree species, in order to connect the entire park. The tree object is treated as an architectural element that concurs in the design of the new park in the district. The tree is at the same time a shadow, a reference point, colour, fragrance and historical memory of a city born according to the green.

What is your take on colour? What defined the absence of this in both drawings and model?

The absence of colour in the drawings and in the model was determined by the need to focus exclusively on the details. The use of colour sometimes threatens to capture the attention on a single aspect, but in this project it seems to be appropriate to give all its parts the same dignity, the same importance, since the purpose is precisely that of inserting the project with harmony in its context. We chose the black and white line design to focus better on the shapes and textures of a project that otherwise would lose its peculiarities.

What role does the model hold in relation to drawings and the views?

The model was a fundamental tool for the design of the project: we used this tool to examine with accuracy the territory, the urban structure of Mestre and Marghera, the relationships between the different types of buildings and their heights, the underpasses, overlaps and the whole transport infrastructure system. Thanks to the three-dimensional models, we have gradually succeeded in rebuilding and conceiving a project that held together all these elements, with the aim of solving the problems related to this area.

What dictated the language of representation of the views? Howe were these constructed?

The views are composed starting from the idea of designing a possible scenario inside the park, conceiving as a park that climbs with the rise of the ramp. The images in this case try to display the park for what it would like to be: a “locus amoenus”, a propeller of activity, which changes with the passing of the seasons, whose colours always give different sensations. It is in the presence of nature and its nuances that colour acquires its value.

What was the main objective?

The image of Marghera is often a skyline made of factories and fumes, of chimneys and pipes: a chemical landscape. For those who live in Marghera, however, the Garden City has another dimension beyond that of the industrial area: it is an urban space with a lot of green, which changes its colours according to the seasons. An environment where the trees are real architecture integrated with the buildings. The tree-lined avenues, the two- or three-storey houses, the urban gardens, the public parks, the flowerbeds and the roundabouts give form to an idea of a city on a human scale, a rational gesture of rebalancing the profile of the port and the industrial area. Hence the need to maintain all the existing tree species and to implement the number, with the aim of giving back to the city that missing piece of green. From this condition arose the need of mending the border, through a project that acts as a “tres d’union” between the different urban fabrics present along this boundary, identifying new polarities in the marginal spaces.

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