We wanted to create an exhibition made out of the actions produced by the user rather than a display of architectural images meant to be observed. The goal is to allow the visitor to become a member of the El Equipo Mazzanti as he/she adopts the role of the architect by working with his/her own hands. By playing with a set of pieces and rearranging in different manners the office’s built projects, the visitor is capable to understand the rules and protocols that organize our architecture which is often planned as an open system composed by pieces and modules.
“We play, you play. El Equipo Mazzanti”
August 27 – September 28, 2018
Complesso di Santa Chiara
Via Ospedale, 07041 Alghero SS
As soon as the visitor becomes an architect, he/she is a co-author of the works and is forced to understand: the projects´ parts as pieces to play with; the rules that organize them; and their capacity to act as open systems. The architecture projects are toys themselves in which the author disappears as the parts become mere pieces meant to be assembled.
This exhibition responds to El Equipo Mazzanti’s interest to test concepts and ideas about the performative and relational role of architecture as a space of actions and events rather than just a space to be perceived by an observer. The contempla- tion model is left behind, as it is the most simplistic method to experience an exhibition, giving place to a more playful model based on appropriation where the human being becomes a creative agent and not just an observer of the world. We pro- pose the construction of unfinished spaces vs. finished ones, disposed vs. composed; an active user vs. a contemplative one; subject vs. object: which in fact are the concepts that compose El Equipo Mazzanti’s architecture.
We have to understand the act of play as something more than just an idle activity. It is in fact a complex event supported by a system of operations and rules that has the capacity to transform auto regulated human contexts and relationships. The act of play is then a common element whose real value lies on its capacity to transforms already established social contracts and visions. At El Equipo Mazzanti we are interested in developing new ways to create relationships bet ween the users and thinking on how to create performative spaces that allows these new relationships. We seek to understand playfulness as an initiator of an archi- tecture that not only aims to solve problems but also creates new fantasies and opportunities among its users. It is exactly this capacity to generate new uses of the space -that could not be imagined before-which characterizes the architecture of El Equipo Mazzanti as it can be seen in the exhibition We Play, You Play.
For every lived experience in the exhibition, we not only want to test the performative relationship bet ween user and architecture but also want to use these experiences as a way to show the visitor the ideas and operational methods of El Equipo Mazzanti. In this sense, the space itself must act as teaching mechanism of what we do and how we work at the studio.
By using the act of play as a catalyzer of new architectures, we want to criticize the modern idea of a maximum functional and utile architecture which was based on producing a maxi- mum efficacy and productivity in return of an economic benefit. We are interested in creating spaces based on less controlled conditions which are capable to propitiate new relationships among their users.
In a way those spaces become counter-spaces that oppose any control and vigilance mechanisms that predominate Modern architecture. It is clear that the main goal of We Play, You Plan in addition to generate interactions bet ween the users is to learn, through a role-play, what architects do. We don´t want to display information just to be consumed by the visitor, but rather we invite him/her to become an active player immersed in the role play to discover what it means to be an architect and think as another member of the El Equipo Mazzanti. The pieces and objects on display on the tables at We Play, You Play are meant to act as instruments for the visitors to recreate El Equipo Mazzanti’s projects by manipulating, redefining, redrawing, superimposing models and architecture drawings. We want to show the users how our architecture is systematic, as it is composed by modules and pieces organized by simple rules, and can be ea- sily redefined by the users themselves. Most of our projects are made of modular schemes, which allow them to behave as un- finished systems and grow over time.
This strategy allows us to think of buildings as systems capable to grow, change, adapt to varying conditions and not as fixed objects. In this ways we can imagine the projects of El Equipo Mazzanti as giant toys where the role of the architect becomes unimportant in the rise of the instructions and protocols that generate them. If we look at construction toys that surround us, we possibly know how to use and play with them. But does it really matter to us who designed them? Who designs the Lego blocks? It becomes then possible to imagine the death of the author in the rise of the architecture and the user as the main actors and players. What happens if we stop designing signed buildings by specific au- thors and we focus on developing systems and strategies to be repeated and recomposed by other architects?
The projects displayed on the exhibition We Play, You Play and its catalogue explore new ways of uses and relationships in architecture. These works are part of a larger investigation of ludic spaces meant to be discovered. To discover something is to get surprised, which can be a catalyzer to for learning and exchange bet ween human beings.
The architecture we imagine and try to build can be understood as a ludic laboratory based on appropriation and exchange of open social exercises. Our goal is to fight the idea of architecture as closed space where functionality is the only way to organize space, to propose a new way to structure architecture from the user’s social inte- ractions and not from the architect as a control entity. The everyday elements change their use and become events, based in flexible and ever-changing architectures to the other´s imaginary. The value of these architectures do not lie on themselves but on their performative capacity to propitiate new behaviors and social relationships.