TDH | Ticinese Digital Hub

Project

Ticinese Digital Hub is an innovative model in which a contamination of ideas and different visions takes place.

The project parcel overlooks Via Vigevano and is located within the porta Genova / porta Ticinese area, between the Darsena and Via Tortona, an area rich of art spaces, artists’ workshops, foundations, museums , cultural centres, and that recognised a great presence of workshops-ateliers of numerous artisans and artists that animated the neighbourhood in the past.

Following an in-depth analysis of the entire city of Milan and subsequently zoomed into the area, it has been deduced that this presence was significant and identified one of the most important artistic and cultural centres of the city.

Starting from these topics it has been decided to specify the project to a Digital Art based space, an artistic movement which is in continuous evolution, ever since the art form itself has emerged, starting from the early sixties and seventies of the twentieth century. However, in the global art scene, the presence of spaces entirely dedicated to this type of art is not a very incisive number and moreover, even though it has developed since the second half of the twentieth century, it has begun to take its own voice only with the new Millennium.

Indeed, Milan has been the background of the Digital Week since two years, an event of international importance that hosts artistic and cultural episodes, within its most representative spaces, such as Triennale di Milano, Pinacoteca di Brera and many others.

From these two concepts comes the idea of the project, linked to the tradition of the place and therefore to the characteristics workshops-ateliers, and the innovation of Digital Art, thus going to think of a space both for production and exhibition of this artistic movement, which can become a place of artistic importance in Milan and more.

The result is therefore to offer an innovative hub in which a contamination of ideas and different visions takes place.

The project proposes a reconnection based on the concept of “traversability” of the lot. The subject of reconnection is presented as the creation of a passage between inside and outside, between Via Vigevano and the internal courtyard. The project is metaphorically inspired to the figure of a split stone that architecturally becomes geometry. The detachment of these two parts of stone, leads to the creation of a passage space that represents both an access and a space to go.

The space evokes the image of a canyon which ends in an impressive and wide open space. The theme reported in the project is closely linked to the characterisation of the surrounding blocks, characterised by the presence of passages and corridors that lead from one space to another, creating unexpected sensations in their succession.

Interview

What prompted the project? What questions does the project raise and which does it answer?

The project is highly influenced by two theories which are part of the contemporary architecture vision nowadays: concept or location? By starting from this thought, trying consequently to combine them, the project idea is linked to the tradition of the place and therefore to the characteristics workshops-ateliers located in porta Genova / porta Ticinese, and the innovation of the Digital Art, thus going to think of a space both for production and exhibition of this artistic movement, which can become a place of artistic importance in Milan and more. The result is therefore to offer an innovative hub in which a contamination of ideas and different visions takes place.

How do you define digital art in 2020? What is the power of this as a form which transcends physical space?

Digital innovation is nowadays dominant as much as influential and important, concerning the art scene as well. The difference and mostly the strength of this art movement is that it doesn’t necessarily have to transcend a physical space, but creates its own vision within a digital way.

What are the implications and contraction of creating a space for such an ephemeral form of art?

Why considering Digital art as an ephemeral expression? Digital art works are not restricted to a computer screen, but they are art works just produced in a different way, through digital devices or supported by them. These artists need a variety in therm of spaces for their exhibitions, as their works and results are different from each others (sculptures, paintings, objects, videos, installations…). That was also what our research analysed the most.

How did you approach the design of such an ambition? How important is materiality within the project?

Materiality plays a relevant role inside our project proposal. How to recreate the feeling of a non-analog environment, according to spaces which could might not need natural light and others which could need it instead (because the proposal is first of all a place to live)? A third material plays within the project, translucent surfaces recreate a filtrated atmosphere, related to opaque walls, using metal panels, and transparent surfaces, through spacious windows. This material helped us to create spaces in which the art work becomes the main element in the room, illuminated by a soft and imperceptible light.

How do you approach the program of such a space? What is the curatorial strategy?

We interviewed different “digital” artists whom contributed in the digital art scene in the last decade, by asking them different questions both related to this movement and also to the spaces, materials and objects they need to create their pieces. The program follows these needs, identifying different spaces for the artists themselves and for those who will be the users. The differentiation of spaces depends mainly from the type of art and from the artworks that the artist has to produce.

What role does the viewer/user play within such a space? How is this engagement purely physical or also virtual? (i.e can one access the space remotely?)

The project follows the idea of an active participation. This means that users and viewers have a significant role of collaboration and indeed participation within the project. The artists themselves, live the space with a different approach, mostly as a complete laboratory in which everybody feels free to experiment and share. Sharing becomes fundamental in the project, having the aim to lead to a contamination of ideas and thoughts, always creating something new and innovative.

With the realm of the digital ever pervading our private and public lives, how and to what extent does and will we as architects have to re-imagine and think cultural institutions as the museum?

We believe it’s important to integrate digital knowledge as a faster, easier and immediate way to interact and communicate to people, by keeping it coherent with the subject itself. Furthermore, the physical space doesn’t change its visual image, but its instead integrated and supported by this 21st century resource.

About

Elisa Guarnieri and Giulia Grigolli are two Italian young architects whom just graduated with honours in Architecture, Built environment and Interiors at Politecnico of Milan, in December 2019.

After studying for five years (bachelor + master) in Milan, they both did an Erasmus experience during their master degree, Elisa spent one semester in Hasselt, Belgium, while Giulia in San Sebastián, Spain.

They are currently both working in two architecture firms abroad, to continue their professional career: Elisa is now in Gent, Belgium and Giulia is in Paris, France.

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