The design for this "stony" square in Tempio Pausania in northern Sardinia plays with materials and the geometrical layout, using a flexible, changeable "configuration" of suspended cables and "sails" that represent ideas that merge. Elements are fragmented and re-composed to forge a new, poetical identity that adds to a beautiful, multi-faceted square, a tribute to singer and songwriter Fabrizio De André. At heart of the design's success is the ability to interpret this irregularly-shaped space, the relatively unimaginative surrounding historical façades, where granite blocks bring an unmistakable heaviness, and the paved stone surface, with small grey granite slabs. The covered market, with its large arches and imposing pillars, adds a touch of lightness to the surrounding architecture.
Colourful sails and cables create a weave that adds to the view of the square and defines aerial geometries that become fully integrated into the urban space. The system of steel cables anchored with metal rods to the façades using a mortar-injection system (the same used to consolidate buildings) creates a mesh of "threads" that suspend the triangular sails in 12 different colours and sizes. The powered roll up mechanisms make it possible to adjust the precise positioning of the sales - just like on a sail boat - to create the desired configuration, as changing one or many of the sails brings a new perspective of the 3D space. The practical addition of wind sensors means the sails are rolled up automatically in adverse weather conditions.
Open or closed sails create opposing contrasts in perception and space. The open sail configuration fragments the light and the sky, casting shadows on the square below and forming new sensations for the surrounding urban architecture that undermine the boundaries of physical space to forge a new identity for the square. When the sails are closed, the geometric lines dominate and define an almost abstract system of aerial tension. The linearity is highlighted by the colourful elements that interact and seem to yearn for the sky, the clouds, the wind and the stones.
This tension strikes a balance and forms a dynamic relationship with the natural elements and the built environment. The design crystallises experiences, shapes and expressions in an architectural design that explores what is essential as it transforms and improves the square.
Location: Tempio Pausania (Sassari Province), Italy
Client: Unione dei Comuni Alta Gallura
Gross Floor Area: 370 m2
Architects: Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners
Concept and Artistic Supervision: Renzo Piano, Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Works Management: Tony Marrone
Structural: Bruno Finzi, CeAS
Technical Systems: Mario Semproni
Multimedia Installation: Studio Azzurro
Sail Cloth: Serge Ferrari
Photography: © Luigi Filetici
Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners
After ten years of working with international architects, including Renzo Piano, Massimiliano Fuksas, and Oscar Niemeyer, Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto set up Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners in 2002. In 2008, Alessandra Spiezia and Arabella Rocca joined the practice, and, in 2013, Carolina Ossandon and Clare Quadraccia.
The firm’s main projects include the new office building for Molino Casillo in Puglia, the Accademia di Belle Arti theatre in Naples, the city of Corato theatre (Puglia), a complex of small and medium-sized industrial buildings for Incà in Barletta (Bari), hotels in Dalmine (Bergamo), a residential building in Trani (Bari), temporary pavilions for the Rome cinema festival, the new Hamasei restaurant in Rome, and the Davide Cenci shops in Rome and Milan. Its most important exhibition designs include Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Il silencio a colori’, the permanent ‘Musa’ exhibition at Rome’s museum of musical instruments, and ‘Saltexpò’ at the Mostra d’Oltremare in Naples.
The firm is currently handling the project management for the redevelopment of the former Mercati Generali area of Rome for OMA di Rem Koolhaas, as well as for the Prada Foundation in Milan. It has also recently finished project managing the Rocca di Frassinello cellars in Gavorrano (Grosseto) for RPBW Renzo Piano.
Its main current projects include Carma Spa - Tenuta in Civita di Bagnoregio and the interior of the new Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The firm’s design of the Incà industrial complex in Barletta was selected by Luca Zevi, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture, to be featured in the exhibition ‘Architetture del Made in Italy’.