Aério is a prototype for urban surfaces and a soft machine conceived as a macro-breathing organ that explores forms of cohabitation of species through the ecology of breathing and investigates health as a public value. The project links three main fields of inquiry: the public realm, socio-technical systems, and health. Breathing is a vital activity to sustain life and acts as an interface between the environment and ourselves. Collective ecologies of breathing practices are inherently connected to the socio-cultural production of space and the health and adaptability of living systems. The macro-breathing organ acts as a cleaning/filtering/processing air device through the performative textile material embedded and woven into the surface. The embedded material technology is developed through an advanced polymer integrating Wearpure.Tech, a 100% natural mineral compound that has the property to mineralize primary greenhouse gases polluting the air we breathe. It can adsorb and neutralize CO2, NOx, and VOCs, converting them into active minerals. The “Air Ecologies” machine tracks in real-time the material performance at the micro-scale, visualizing the quantity of CO2 absorbed (PPM) correlated to humidity values. The visualization of data produced aims to generate and increase collective awareness of the interconnectedness between the micro and macro scales of our ecosystems. Aério is a prototype for public space that acts as a device that can re-layer urban surfaces to provide scenarios for co-dependency of living systems. By mapping prototypical public spaces, the project aims to predict scenarios for dynamic absorption of CO2 in the public realm by interpolating data relative to material technology, human occupation, density, and surrounding air ecologies. By linking social and technical systems, the project has the capacity of being simultaneously a measuring, processing, and visualization device for the public realm and, therefore, for forms of collective living. Aerio is a prototype that combines the main surface which measures 2,5 meters by 1,5 meters, the "Air Ecologies" machine, and the mapping tool, which works as a measurement tool as well as a digital visualization instrument. The project's ambition is not only to be a physical node that operates within the local space of the exhibition but also to be a vehicle to establish a global/relational/virtual network. It aims to operate at the local and global levels by constructing a distributed network that communicates beyond the physical scale.
X-Topia is an award-winning design-research practice that explores the intersection of architecture and urbanism with technology and the public, social and cultural realm. It was funded in 2008 by Marcella Del Signore, an architect, urbanist, and technologist focused on interscalar spatial practices. X-Topia is currently based in the US, Italy, and Brazil. The array of projects focus on interscalar design approaches that engage the notion of socio-technical systems through computation, prototyping, material and fabricated assemblies, data-driven protocols, and adaptive environments. It investigates architecture, environments, and cities not as isolated entities but as part of an extended field mediated through the discursive application of technology. The firm has been engaged in a wide array of urban interventions and small-scale prototypes recognized internationally through publications, grants, and awards, including the invitation to the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021.