Arcipelago Italia was the exhibition of the Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2018 curated by architect Mario Cucinella. The idea was that shifts architecture’s attention away from the major cities to internal areas and his communities that are historically expressed in a different relationship between urban dimension and territory. The exhibit focused on the marginal urban spaces created in the internal territories of Italy running along the Alps, down the Appenine range and into Sardinia. Cucinella’s vision was to bring these liminal areas together and create a collection, or an ‘arcipelago’ of stories, landscapes and communities; taking the visitors on a journey and allowing them to understand the issues that these areas are facing as well as their possible solutions. At the heart of the exhibition was an exploration of the past and the present narratives within these territories, leading to an investigation into the future of Italian architecture.
The first space functioned as an itinerary for the visitors’ journey; 8 giant ‘books’ made of wooden panels and aluminium reinforcements replace the traditional printed guide showing the areas investigated in Cucinella’s research. The landscape prints, illuminated by LED lights from the back, provided the audience with an immersive lighting experience. The second space was designed as a wide, open area with five large, cedar wood tables joined together like a puzzle in the middle of the room. These five experimental projects physically have illustrated the concept of “Arcipelago Italia”.