Organized in collaboration with German architects Umschichten, the latest OniricaLab workshop — Material Girl — took place in Verona, 28 March to 1 April. The workshop leaned on Umschichten's particular process, a "fluid process" which seeks to revolutionize the traditional architectural approach to design and recovering the social role of architecture. "If everything already exists, why do we need to build something new?," Umschichten asks. "Why shouldn't we concentrate instead in building something which can respond to actual and temporal needs and in the valorisation of the materials already existing in a place?"
According to their view, every form of initial planning is reduced to the minimum and the designing and production phases converge in a continuous and natural flux of actions and reactions.
An essential condition to start this process was to involve the community. The materials used had to be still in use: borrowed from the actual owners, mounted, assembled and then given back unhurt. This vision of architecture gives to buildings a fluid, temporary and reversible character, related to their real functional needs, which permit to the structures to adapt themselves to different needs and, once that their purpose is fulfilled, to disappear leaving no traces.
During the 5 days of "Material Girl", the two German architects guided 13 makers (architects, designers, fine arts students etc.) in the realization of a "fluid architecture." In the area around the workshop, participants explored commercial and production activities of the neighbourhood, engaging in exchanges with dealers and artisans, in order to borrow enough materials for the construction. The comprehension of the social context and the relational capacities of the participants were vital for the success of the project. After collecting the materials the group started to study and analyse the physical and structural proprieties of the single objects. Afterwards they tested different ways to combine the materials in building modules and builded together the installation.
The result of the workshop was an architectural structure, similar to a house or a church, built and dismounted in a circular and participative way. The structure was an expression of its crafters, but also of the community that the project attempted to involve.
Material Girl follows the success of TASTEFULL (in collaboration with Studio FormaFantasma and AnatoMY (with Studio Sovrappensiero). The next workshop is titled Tornemo Indrio (Back to the Roots), and will take place 10-13 May, with Dario Pegoretti. This fourth workshop will allow participants to rediscover the traditional Italian bycicle frame crafting method.