A Chronicle of 1001 Islands

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A Chronicle of 1001 Islands

Carolina Gismondi de Bevilacqua 


This project embraces the inherent rupture and re-definition of the city as a collection of disparate, provisional identities. By creating a series of conceptual devices, it allows us to immerse in an architectural journey along a narrative and a spatial pathway. Between real and imaginary, visible and invisible, it will reveal the alternative sites and reasons for my conceptual project.

K_yellow Stitch

The chronicle of a 1001 islands tackles the issues of urban discontinuities, by re-telling the story of an imaginary Milan as an example of an abstract European metropolis. The project seeks to create a new ground were real and fictional can meet and influence each other.

These islands are defined by cartographic cuts or idealized morphology. They can come across as an analytic diagram or come together as a continuous transcript.


They are not only architectural elements but also as idealized Fragments and figments of imagination. Once extracted they are able to exaggerate their own identities


This new context is a map of the infinite narrative of the invisible. The narrative becomes the provisional link between the fragments, a conceptual movement that is built by our narrative: our eyes create the fragments and our path stitches them together; the project is a sequence of temporal moments distributed in our spatial itinerary.


Working on the different level at same time, the city started with the search for a new impossible connection between isolated world and social communities.

The stitcher and the islands creates a Non-linear city, an avalanche of accumulated causalities.


A different context where a transferred image is capable of bringing together two districts. A new infrastructure that evolves into a cultural institution where the flow of history can be seen as a city of architectural archive. A hidden network that shapes the parallel world underneath the built. These new contexts are yet becoming physical spaces that as such are ready to be divided.

This methodological device is showing a “paradoxical city”, trying to show the whole in  context where the whole cannot be seen. The islands are incapable to create a stable connection and they are keep changing and shifting.


They are, on one hand, trying to escape from the urban rigid urban fabric to come close to centre to be stitched. From real to ideal, from formal shapes to conceptual diagram, from disconnection, to a provisional connection that inevitably evolves in an uncontrollable entropic merge.

This device is able to connect and to jump across the different methodology in order to not only understands the multiple identities but also to recreate a new context for architectural experimentation.

Yet The peculiarity of the local identity forms an inner continuity within the islands, continuity that is broken by the juxtaposition of the stiches.  The Continuity created by the narrative is killed by space; the continuity of the space is destroyed by the narrative.

The uber-connection is the ultimate disconnection.

My project proves that the resilience of the city is not based on continuity, but through the redefinition – constant recreation of diverse identities. And these various and peculiar identities are the place where us, architects should analyze, explore and thrive. We should not fight the beautiful discontinuities but rather embrace this new ground as a new methodology to shape our cities.


Who influences you graphically?

I have always been intrigued by the Suprematism period. In particular, how authors like El Lissitzky merge the abstraction and pureness of the image with the architectural object. The paintings are not only representing but, re-narrating and opening a new layer of meaning and understanding of the architectural project.

I strongly believe that we should not be only able to represent but inject our proposal with a theoretical discussion of the concepts lying behind.

K_sampled city

To what extent is the medium the massage? 

In this project the medium is message. The ultimate aim of it is in fact to find a different way of thinking architecture as a discipline. The use of narrative to construct the architectural context and the use on analogy to understand the existent are essential to understand the project. Within the project, I operate more as an author than a scientist, trying to show the multiple invisible layers behind an object, aiming to link it with is past history, current connotation and future possibilities.


What defined the choice of colour palette? 

The colour palette plays a very important part in the project. The blue background, in fact, represent the new “architectural context” of the methodology. A blue sea that is the urban vacuum of disconnection, while the other colour, are defining the different stage of abstraction and deformation of the islands that are drifting in it.

K_Utopian Typology

What is your take on the diagram as a tool for communication-how was it explored within the project? 

The project, since the beginning was tackling two different methodologies in graphic, The diagram and the collage. Within the use of first one, I was able to understand the typological characteristic of the islands and abstract them to their architectural essence. On the other hand, the diagram allows a quick and precise reading of what is the main characteristic and yet allows a personal reading and freedom in its manipulation.



What is the potential of further exploring the project through the medium of the collage which immediately implies a notion of stitcher? How could this be evolved in parallel to the drawing? 

As already mentioned, the collage is the other important contribution to the project. If the diagram is navigating the realm of essential representation, the images are able to better illustrate the “consequences” of these manipulation. For me they were not a final outcome but a tool to understand better the typological variation and from them creating a new line of narrative. The collage and the diagram are working together, as one trigger the other in an endless loop.

The notion of “sticher” it is not implied within the image, as a representation of a frozen moment, but in the gap between them. The project struggles in fact to design this invisible space of discontinuity.


What defined the production of the physical model? How did this explore the project further? 

The physical model was conceived while struggling with the static of the drawings. The continuous movement of the islands, their constants drifting was not understandable in the fixed realm of the drawings. The model brings dynamism to the project, dynamism that is the essence of the project. The model itself represent both a map of the new methodology and also a the new imaginary city of Milan.




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