From mine to “cultural pier”: Sassari’s waterfront is taking a makeover

Fonte Mare is a project that enhances an old mining complex in the heart of the Sardinian city. The new public space sees the participation of artists Tellas and 2bleene

On the northwestern coast of Sardinia, the Baia Argentiera in Sassari has recently undergone a redevelopment operation as part of the MAR project – Miniera Argentiera, which since 2017 has enhanced and revitalized a pre-existing mining complex, already partially reactivated with various cultural functions. “Fronte Mare” is the name of the new intervention, which occupies an area of over 500 square meters facing the coast, in direct contact with the ruins of warehouses and an old cinema built during the Fascist period.

This new public space was realized as a collaboration between the association LandWorks, the driving force behind the project, and the international artists Tellas and 2bleene, with the support of several other institutions, including the Municipality of Sassari, the Sardegna Film Commission Foundation, the Academy of Fine Arts Mario Sironi and the Sardegna Foundation.

MAR – Miniera ARgentiera, Fronte Mare, Sassari, Italy, 2023. Photo Andrea Maspero

Conceived as a “cultural pier”, the project actively involved the local community as well as students, creatives and young professionals from various parts of the world, who were invited to design and construct adaptable wooden urban furniture elements. These were then produced in workshops involving more than 100 volunteers under the guidance of LandWorks.

Artists Tellas (Fabio Schirru) and 2bleene (Natalia Nicole Rodriguez) contributed by creating an artistic installation that paints the entire square in different shades of blue and ochre. With this space, a creative link between the sea, land and sky, was created, characterizing the area dedicated to new cultural and sports activities. The artwork highlights the architectural features of the former warehouses that once stored mining materials, while also delineating the boundaries of the basketball, volleyball, and pickleball courts, emphasizing the role of play as a central activity of community and society.

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