Vema is the theme of the Padiglione Italiano, curator Franco Purini, at the 10th Biennale di Architettura di Venezia directed by Richard Burdett. Vema is a new found ideal city which will be built in 2026 between Verona and Mantova, at the infrastructural cross of the IV Corridor (Palermo-Berlin) and V Corridor (Barcelona-Kiev). Twenty Italian offices were asked to decline several urban themes of Vema. OBR has developed the landscape of sport and the urban block with housing and cinema. The development of contemporary sport offers the opportunity to consider a new landscape created by the interaction of two levels: the theme park and the spontaneous garden. The theme park represents the most infrastructural, organized and formal dimension of sport, while the spontaneous garden is the freest, most creative and informal dimension. This dual dimension is interpreted in terms of contrasts, and configured by means of the interaction of the two levels according to the changing, living pulsations of society and the individual: from the idea of belonging to a group, to the perception of oneself and one’s body. In 2026 the body will be much more a “configurable landscape”, rendered increasingly artificial by means of various mechanical adjuncts, chemical substances and electronic chips. It will become the location in which subjective power comes face to face with the external power of politics. By projecting the “landscape of body” onto the “body of landscape”, the sports landscape is defined according to the grid of the city of Vema, which is deformed by means of light orographical modeling. This creates a succession of spaces at slightly different heights, which belong either to the theme park level or the spontaneous garden level. The theme park consists of outdoor spaces linked to definite sports themes, surrounded by spaces for indoor sports and respective service structures. The spontaneous garden will be determined by some of Vema’s citizens, helping to develop the sense of self-recognition and the idea of belonging to the location. The aim is to achieve a more conscious identity between society (designer) and landscape (design). This is the location for new “hybrid sports” and many reconfigurations where dynamic processes similar to the agricultural crop rotation typical of the Po valley plains occur (for example a plot of land that is presently used to grow maize may later become a football pitch, before being returned to agricultural land again) by means of the remapping of the existing landscape. According to this dichotomous relationship between the theme park and the spontaneous garden, the landscape of sport combines two dimensions, that of interior landscape and exterior landscape. On one hand, interactive environments are created in which technological innovation comprises tools such as virtuality; on the other hand, a concept of movement is pursued based on a pre-existent energy flow. Like the landscape of sport, the urban block also features the contemporaneous presence of multiple levels, with a more deeply structured level for the multiplex cinema, and a more spontaneous level for the residential units. Around the empty space of the public square, a physical modelling of the terrain creates a green section whose characteristics are determined by a sort of summary of the “natural” forms perceived in the existing landscape. The future inhabitants’ needs will later define indices and quantitative values. The interior-exterior interface consists of diaphragms that become a field of action generating porosity, subject to personalization by the inhabitants, thus producing energy and communication: the home is a highly evolved organism that interacts with man and the environment. The multiplex cinema is an interactive environment that creates new relationships between film and spectator. We have envisaged an installation in which the spectator is filmed during the projection of the film, blurring the separation between the observing subject and the object of the story. In this way, we aim to transform normal building material into a material and immaterial landscape, suspended between nature and communication.
OBR design team: Paolo Brescia e Tommaso Principi
Dahlia De Macina
Paolo Maria Inghilleri
Padiglione Italiano, “Italia-y-2026”, La Biennale di Venezia