Urban Acupuncture

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Urban Acupuncture

Sara Franzetti, Mairilisa Lino & Benedetta Sciaraffa



Today’s metropolis is a set – apparently chaotic – of overlapping networks, a complex system that assembles intangible relations and real estate. The contemporary city shifts from a state of equilibrium to another, through a winning resilient attitude in time and in space.

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The project is inserted in this plot as a complement of the existing system and following the technique of urban acupuncture intervenes in the residual and forgotten spaces by creating small inputs of desirable changes in the Milan ecosystem.

The designed meta-projects have two main goals: the reciprocity with the place in which they are inserted and the adoption of a flexible and resilient attitude which encourages the continuous development of the twenty-first century city.

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Who influences you graphically?

The graphic solution of our thesis is a mix of different influences: arts, graphic design, architects, videos and places

As for the circular image we referred to the method of representation of the Italian radicals from the 60’s/70’s, like Archizoom and Superstudio. The technique of “collage” gives a different, provocative point of view and it helped us to mix reality with abstraction.

We believe that a simple graphic representation is the lifeblood of the project communication. That is why we used axonometric and perspective views made of pure lines, taking inspiration from some different artists and designers like Kevin Lucbert, Andrea Branzi, Stirling, Fujimoto or Ishigami.

Some others source of inspiration are Piero Fornasetti, Gabriele Basilico, Spanish and Portuguese cities,a+p smithsons, Ugo la Pietra, Klimt, Giò Ponti, Lotus navigator, Yona Friedman, Franco Battiato, Milano, Pinterest, Domus, Koozarch, Alejandro Aravena’s “Reporting from the front”, Baustelle, https://vimeo.com/111488563 ‘The social life of small urban spaces’ by William H. White, ‘Urban Beauty!’ by Anna Lambertini.

What defined the use of the circular format, how does it help to frame a proposed idea/image?

The circular forms have allowed us to graphically express the idea of urban acupuncture, that is our design strategy.The circles represent the zooms on projects in an abstract and dreamlike way (like the wide angle of the perspective view), describing a reality which is possible but difficult to achieve in the modern world.



What dictated the use of line drawings and the specific colour palette as aesthetic means to represent the proposal? 

“Changing nature” is mainly a theoretical work whose main purpose is to give practical solution by means of punctual intervention. The line drawing is the perfect tool to combine both levels, reality and abstraction. Moreover the line allows the viewer to focus on the accuracy and the details of the project we decided to study.

In the same way we had to find an intuitive way to explain our two main themes: “nature”, in yellow and “inhabit the city”, in blue. That’s a successful solution because it makes it easy to understand where the different projects are located in the area and also what is the effect of one single element on the overall background.

To emphasize both approaches we decided to use two opposite color: yellow, or “gold” as we used to call it, is a warm shade to underline the precious value of nature, while a cold color, light blue, gives a quiet atmosphere to represent “inhabit the city”. This solution gives the right harmony to the layout that recall the balance we’d tried to build in our future city.

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How is each image instrumental in revealing a specific part of the proposal?

Our thesis has a strong theoretical and conceptual starting point. It is an interpretation of urban space that originates from the theory of complex systems by Fritjof Capra. The initial challenge was to translate this research into schemes and diagrams. In order to effectively represent the urban acupuncture process, continual leaps in scale were needed, jumping from the urban designs to the detailing of interior architecture. While some drawings show the location of projects or the complementary relationships that are established with the context, others represent the aspired atmosphere by the project, others point out the materials and construction details. Each image is therefore essential for the story, both in the metric scale level and conceptually. The consistency of the various projects is given by the graphic style and the use of the two colors guidelines. The goal is indeed to show how a set of basic parts could change the whole system in the simplest way.



Sara, Marilisa and Benedetta graduated from Politecnico of Milan in 2016, trying to explore interior architecture within the urban context of Milan.