Connecting and Collaging Fragments
Sofia Badessi, Silvia Piana and Michela Pradella
Project_Turnabout. Three micro-community projects for the lighthouses of the Egadi Islands.
Signs of mediations made of land and sea, tense architectures, lighthouses are iconic places of the maritime landscapes. Sicily is located in an absolute prominent position; its lighthouses belong to a wide heritage of navigational signals with unique histories.
The tendency about the reuse of abandoned lighthouses usually promotes the creation of exclusive locations and an elitist tourism, which don’t involve the communities of the territory they are connected with.
Reversing the course means to turn this tendency around, in order to preserve the authenticity of a place whose value lies in traditions, considering sites’ specific needs.
From the landscape to interior’ details, the attention focuses on the restitution of this places to the islanders.
The meaning of the lighthouses also reverses: the light becomes a landmark not only for the sea, but also for the micro-communities of the island, an opportunity for meetings and developments.
In the island of Marettimo, at “Punta Libeccio” lighthouse, a biology centre hosts researchers interested in studying sea floors and hikers. The lighthouse has a terrace overlooking the sea and it is the arrival point of a walking path, marked with a new network of perspective points of view, in order to discover the place once more.
At “Capogrosso” in the island of Levanzo, the islanders become the real owners of the lighthouse, a place to rest after a long walk. A diving centre permits to discover underwater areas and allows a new use of the coast through a connection between land and sea.
In the island of Favignana, the inaccessibility of the lighthouse of “Punta Sottile”, today a property of the Navy, shifted the attention from the building to the landscape. The lighthouse, normally considered as a viewing point, turns into an observed place and assumes a new value in the surrounding territory, where permanent landscape installations direct the visitor’s gaze. Near the lighthouse, a small abandoned building becomes a base for the fishermen of the island.
Who influences you graphically?
At first, the territory itself, its shapes and colours inspired us. We do not know much of these places and our idea was to watch them for what they are, obviously through our eyes.
We are deeply interested in graphics as a form of communication, essential during a design process. In our case, the research was split into two parts with two types of references, according to different drawings. On one side, there are the technical drawings of the territory. In this case, we were inspired by the ancient navigational charts and naturalist cartographies.
On the other side, for the collages we looked for references in fine arts, painting in particular. We were inspired by Pablo Picasso’s 1918 painting “Les Baigneuses”, Edward Hopper’s various depictions of lighthouses and the Sicilian artist Renato Guttuso, who painted “Il faro” in 1913.
Another visual reference came from Wes Anderson’s cinematography, especially in “Moonrise Kingdom” where the sea and the lighthouse are central elements.
Finally, we took inspiration from the works of young illustrators published on the web magazine “Picame”, such as Choi Mi Kyung, Monge Quentin, Cloudy Thurstag, Roberta Palazzolo. Through their drawings, they clearly express their thoughts.
What is your take on the art of collage? To what extent do you believe that we construct through fragments within architecture as well?
Collage is a form of expression that allows organizing ideas and highlights the most significant aspects of the project. Our collages simplified the passage from the analysis’s phase toward the design process, helping also with the comprehension of our ideas.
Our aim was to connect different “fragments” of the place in order to form a whole, made of history and people belonging to these places and of forms and colours of nature. Each of these elements is put together in the lighthouses’ project.
How do you form your archive of imagery? Is it an ongoing process? What are your sources?
Our archive of images changes every time we deal with different projects. In this case, the research started over six months ago and focused on realistic and abstract images that together could better express what we wanted to communicate. It is an ongoing research, which includes both visual and textual references we found on the internet, books and magazines about art, photography and cinema.
How does the use of white lines influence the image?
The white lines are traces of the starting wireframe drawing, a visual memory that gives great importance to the matter.
What is your work process in terms of programs used?
The base of the drawings is made within Autocad and then improved in Illustrator; while colours and texture are generated in Photoshop.
To what extent do you share the idea that a Map is not a territory?
We agree with this idea. Our maps surely have the structure of the territories, but they are a representation of our interpretation of these places.
What is the meaning of the final images? And how do these relate in terms of language to the other set of drawings?
The last three images are cardboard-made “paintings” which synthetize forms and colours of each lighthouse’s project. It is an abstract synthesis, and therefore graphically different from the previous realistic images.
Sofia Badessi, Silvia Piana and Michela Pradella studied Interior Architecture at Politecnico di Milano. Currently they are collaborating with Architect Arnaldo Arnaldi (Studio Normalearchitettura).