Mikado & Chaise longue – Milano, Italia
A place for concentration in a campus garden of the Politecnico in Milano
As part of the 2nd Milan International Architectural Workshop Observatorium was invited to be the tutor of twenty students of architecture. Federico Zanfi, Politecnico di Milano and Andre Dekker, Observatorium asked how they can design and construct a place of concentration in a semi public garden. Afer five days days of observing, argueing, designing, testing, testing again and finally constructing, we sat down on Mikado and Chaise longue to rest and celebrate.
We researched where we eventually wanted to be in the garden. And where in the amalgan of human additions, there still was room for us. We talked to the designer who added a promenade wiht many sitting places, which was actually our job. We had to get permissions, like in daily life and had to to get materials and tools as in daily life. We were artists, we followed our hearts. The tutor and curator shared their experiences, reflecteded rejected dozens of ideas and stimulated to have new ideas in every new situation of trial error. TEST was the word. We might tell each other, but it proved a better method to show each other. So the beams and planks became the drawing material. The garden was the studio. Every suggestion for a form was judged by the three criteria: is it a place of concentration, is it comfortable to sit, will it reveal the qualities of the garden? And since we had refrained from preparation, there was no other schedule than to work from 11 till dusk and realize a winter site and a summer site for contemplation, we were not very efficient. Using the Observatorium method of searching for a place on earth by spending time at the site, studying the origins of the present shapes and letting the imagination come into play, we managed to to be effective. Our mistakes, laziness, indeciveness and lack of vision were sometimes annoying, but it didn't hinder us finding simplicity, golden rules and universal human demands. Mikado-like stacking of beams over a dip proved toe be utterly solid; concentration was found despite the dirt in a garden corner between a blind wall and a busy road on the other side of the fence. We don't need chairs, banks or tables in a garden to rest or study, give us levelled surfaces and leave the garden alone.