Creative Tank District

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Creative Tank District

Martina Dalla Bona & Alessia Cucciniello



The design proposal is developed on a research on the world of work and it’s new declinations: starting from the assumption that the contemporary concept of working is rapidly changing, it’s possible to identify its reasons of funds tin with the raise of a new and dynamic lifestyle. We believe parallel to this change; a new Industrial Revolution is happening and it’s led by the creative class.

The goal is to establish a new a creative hub in the core of the ex-industrial area of the city of Milan: it aims to be an open workshop of self-production, a hyper specialized place of work that through innovation, new dynamics and mixitè will improve the life quality of workers and citizens.

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Hence, we named it “Creative Tank District”, where the concept of the tank acquires a double-meaning word “tank” are an alternative proposal: they are really water-tanks but they are containers and incubators where new creatives minds grow as the plants.

In fact, the project is hosted in a dismissed factory from the beginning of ‘900 and it aims to be an innovative space offering experimental and competitive solutions. The proposal intervenes on every scale bringing together services and laboratories with brand new spaces. The design of the innovative green spaces works as a connector between the other different words, like an intersection. Moreover, these are not only green spaces with different characteristics, in correspondence to the water tank they provide a sustainable asset to the entire system.

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The “Tower of shadow” is the manifesto of the entire district, which interfaces with the city. It is a vertical farm that hosts the main tank. We decided to introduce this unexpected function in this urban environment to stimulate the grow of the cluster, giving to it a more complete scenarios and solid possibilities. In relation to it, we organised a complete programme of event in the site, with a social and inclusive goal.

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When representing the project we chose to figures of people from the 1950’s, a different but peculiar historical period, to underline the passage of time and the difference between working in the past and in the present, which is one of the base concept of our project.

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Who influences you graphically?

“An image is a sight which has been recreated or reproduced. It is an appearance, or a set of appearances, which has been detached from the place and time in which it first made its appearance and preserved for a few moments or a few centuries. Every image embodies a way of seeing.”  John Berger / 1972 / Ways of seeing

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The choice of the style of representation stands as graphic manifesto of the project. We manipulated the information of our previous research about the theme of work according our architecture ideals and the final aim. At the stage of the visualization in the design process, we decided to use an abstract and expressive language especially for the conceptual drawings that illustrate the main project goals. They arouse curiosity but at the same time they immediately explain their purpose.

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The result of this work of decomposition and composition is a collage full of contamination. It’s a juxtaposition of arts, history, culture, nature, colours and design objects. Therefore, even for the final visualizations of the architecture we maintained coherence towards the abstract taste; nevertheless, through we are convinced that this style explains clearly the architectural components, properly evidencing shapes, materials and light. It creates a multi-layered atmosphere that gains harmony through the magic of architecture.

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What is the effect and purpose of the circle format?

As design tool we frequently use the circle format because it’s able to resume different abstract concepts in one single shape, reaching an overall coherent and cohesive aspect. This shape is perfect to catch the attention, surprising the observer and conveying the architectural aims of the program. Furthermore, the circle frames images that we intentionally oppose to the representation minimal language of the technical drawing (such as the black and white plans, sections and facades) and the design shapes. To conclude, it aims to transfer the innovative aspects of our project not only as architectural expression but also as a large-scale strategy.

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How could a more dynamic medium, as that of an app-movie-website have helped in reinforcing this shift?

Beside the design process we tried to imagine a parallel dense program of events to promote and encourage this new space of work, to reinforce the idea of the 24h open district.
Through this calendar, as perhaps also through a multi-media tool as an app-movie-website, it is possible to better transmit the idea of new concept of work, that includes everyday life by changing and sharing, based on the identification of the importance of community. The program is conceived for living the interiors and the courtyard at the same time; the series of events are spread during the whole year, seasonally changing and adapting. Basically, the project is a research centre that tries to stand out differentiating from the traditional and industrial place of work, founding on the idea of local-rooted and global-connected. For these reasons the idea of a dynamic medium for reinforcing the shift it’s very interesting because it could represent an interesting and simple tool to reinforce and enhance the soul of the project, involving different users is the everyday life of the district on every scale.

What is your take on the architectural montage?

The challenge from the point of view of the composition and construction of the project idea was to be able to transmit the project strategy, to point out the shifting from the urban to the interior scale, through the district level. Therefore, the architectural montage has the goal of the restitution of all these scales of design through one specific style of representations, providing a human vision of space without forgetting the context in which it is insert.

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You choose to reveal the speculation through axonometric and perspectives/why so?

The choice of this kind of representation is certainly speculative since it is abstract and ironic but also a real critique to the nowadays work and workplace condition. The common and stereotyped idea about the working world, the factory and the industry is in total opposition with the ideal scenario that we build using specific images to create a utopic speculation between past and future. The frames are provocative in a way to show the changing and the innovations that the district wants to bring to the city of Milan and at the same time they want to highlight new and innovative spaces oriented towards the future but inhabited by characters from the past. On one hand, for us it is important to give a complete view through axonometric in a way that the district works as a machine, a gear of a complex mechanism where each part works in relation to the whole system. On the other hand, with the use of perspective we solved the issue of how to reveal the magic, warm and welcoming atmosphere of the interior constructing a familiar place where people feel free to develop ideas, produce novelties and realize dreams. However, both the perspective and the axonometric drawings aim to underline innovation, creativity and social interaction, keywords of the whole project.

What defined the use of the specific silhouettes?

The project wants to provide a place that can be a model of innovation, creating a new idea of work that goes beyond the crisis that today affects industry, production and obviously, the world of work. The intent is to ichnographically enhance this concept also through the representations and especially the choice of characters that inhabit architecture. Our decision is to take icons of the 50s and 60s as witness of period of social change, economic boom and recovery from the post-war crisis.

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Martina Dalla Bona

Martina started her academic career at the Politecnico of Milan where she participated in a research program at the Department of Architecture, resulting in a curatorial and teaching experience as Student Assistant in Design Studio. Fascinated by the work of Latin-American masters, she decided to move to Brazil for a study program choosing to investigate and reflect upon the notion of Interior, in particular working spaces, together with mentors Remo Dorigati and Jacopo Leveratto. Coherently, the decision was to address her previously developed passions with an internship at Interni Magazine, Mondadori. For Interni Martina took part in the Salone and Fuori Salone del Mobile 2016 and 2017. Contemporarilyshe loves to entertain herself with graphic design projects and participates to various architecture workshops and competitions.

Alessia Cucciniello

Alessia graduated in December in with a masters degree in architecture at Politecnico di Milano,under the supervision of Jacopo Leveratto and Remo Dorigati. She studied in both Milan and in Tampere, Finland, at the TUT- Tampere University of Technology. Alessia has partecipated in different competitions and workshops like “UrbanPromo giovani” 2014, “Archmedium Competition in Ohrid” 2015, Macedonia and “The living museum. Landscape as Resource” in Orani. She was an intern in Comune di Novara and Laura Brustia Studio and is now working at Techint developing the project of the new hospital Policlinico of Milan in collaboration with Boeri Studio.


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