Domus Paper. Super interiors, landscapes, cities

On newsstands with Domus’ October issue, DomusPaper talks about the evolution of cities through stories on different scales: interiors, landscapes, cities.

Yona Friedman

Attached to Domus 1028, DomusPaper. Super interiors, landscapes, cities tells the evolution of urban spaces starting from the inside, that is, from the organisation of space that occours in the East and the West in what is today’s globalization. It talks about famous houses, new formats for public libraries, social housing and solutions to deal with humanitarian emergencies. Then you can find collective rituals like Burning Man in the words of Pierre Restany, Robin Hood Gardens at the Venice Architecture Biennale, an interview with the landscape designer Michel Desvigne and much more. DomusPaper will be distributed free in Milan during the Brera Design Days.

Domus Paper. Editorial by Walter Mariotti

“Cut doors and windows for a room; It is the holes which make it useful.” The Tao Te Ching credited to the Chinese sage Lao Tzu (6th century BC) remains a good viaticum by which to explore the relation between interior and exterior in contemporary architecture and design. In addition to their seductive exoticism, Lao Tzu’s couplets are an endless synthesis of the questions probed by traditional Oriental aesthetics – intuitive, evocative and democratic in the sense of being scarcely interested in class distinctions. We can then compare them to the aesthetics of global contemporaneity – technology-dominated, exclusivity-driven, and most importantly, in perennial churning movement.

Referring to this topic, we organised the second issue of DomusPaper to discuss (for once) the evolution of the city starting from its interiors, in other words the organisation of space as it occurs in the Orient and the Occident along the economical and cultural lines of globalisation. Our path attempted to include all dimensions – houses, hotels, schools, libraries, urban gardens and tent camps pitched on the new middle ground of a geopolitical crisis.

Taking up one of the traditional Domus themes – solutions for habitation – this issue of DomusPaper traces the profile of a new type of human. This figure moves through an era where the flux reigns supreme, where values fluctuate according to uncontrolled events, and where references are continually erased. The French sociologist Michel Maffesoli, whose studies have become classics of contemporary thought, asks how we can understand or simply describe the ceaseless renewal of our essential societal structures. Well, without presuming to be exhaustive, but making use of the critical tools of our long-standing history, DomusPaper is hereby inaugurating an interpretation of the present human continent. Our coverage of emblematic or unpublished work reveals the ongoing crumbling of society on the one hand, and on the other, it celebrates the restored autonomy of the individual. In these new conditions, yesterday’s individual who was confined to predefined places and roles is now experiencing like never before a release from the norm. In this space and in this time, imagination, pleasure, desire and dreams are turned into new formulas for living, inhabiting, travelling and working. These are today’s forms of liberation from limits in architecture and design.

The new indoor and outdoor spaces, both traditional and exotic, are where contemporary people flow, circulate continuously, or to speak with Maffesoli, “wander”. As DomusPaper illustrates, they are bringing to light the submerged dynamics of contemporary society and developing the architecture of postmodern life.

Opening image: Yona Friedman, Shanghai, Domus 886, November 2005

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