In 1972 the event Pollution “per un’estetica dell’inquinamento” (for an aesthetic of pollution) transformed Piazza Santo Stefano into a theatre of critical reflection on the contradictions hidden behind the environmental “fraud”. Almost fifty years later, the Iris Ceramica Group asked Mario Cucinella and the SOS School of Sustainability to make this square the catalyst for discussion on the future of the environment, with an installation that amplifies the perception of the space and invites the city and its visitors to question the relationship between humanity and nature.
Pollution 2018 talks of the future, promoting a collective experience that allows us to re-imagine urban spaces as eco-systems with which man becomes one. Today we have the instruments to give a proper answer to the environmental challenges of our times and to transform the protest of 1972 into concrete action to regenerate urban spaces and promote models of production that create a virtuous relationship between humanity and the environment.
Protest, Awareness and Action
Pollution 1972 was a radical event that made the visitor aware of the ecological paradox; Pollution 2018 focuses on concrete action for which the spectator can be a herald. If in 1972 earth printed on a ceramic tile was the symbol of protest, in 2018 it is physical nature that bursts through an artificial terrain to reclaim its spaces and to give quality to the social life of urban areas.
The 2018 installation follows the path that started in 1972, taking shape in the same place that once hosted it. The space in piazza Santo Stefano has been redesigned both in functional and aesthetic terms and promotes a brand-new spatial experience. The geometric construction guides the movement of visitors, transforming the diverse buildings into a formal unity and directing the gaze beyond the centrality of the square into the narrow lanes of the city and towards the monumental complex of the “Sette Chiese” (Seven Churches).
The square is seen as a social device and a place for people to meet. Its flows, axes of crossing and stopping points have been observed, understanding the tendency of users not to stop in the square, but to cross it or to observe its beauty from the sides, where there are mostly tourists or citizens walking around, also due to the sun that makes a large part of the square unusable in warmer weather.
Location: Piazza Santo Stefano, Bologna, Italy
Year: from 24 to 28 September 2018
Client: Iris Ceramica Group
Project: SOS – School of Sustainability with Mario Cucinella Architects
Team: Mario Cucinella, Andrea Rossi, Valentina Torrente (MC A) Massimo Imparato, Alessio Dionigi Battistella, Claudia Bonora, Vincenzo Bossa, Claudia Calabretta, Giulia Corriere, Carlo Maria D’Amico, Elena Di Sciascio, Chris Dixon, Michela Galassi, Claudia Galimberti, Laura La Mendola, Maria Pazzaglia, Sonia Porpiglia, Orazio Vigliotti, Valerio Vincioni (SOS)
Photo credit: MCArchive
Visual: Giovanni Checchia