OPEN PLAYFIELD: “VENGHINO, SIGNORI VENGHINO!”
AA Michael Ventris Trust Award 2017
with Edward Bottoms, Manolis Stravakakis
“Games offer play with strategy and chance,rules and competition,winning and losing. They reflect the world we live in and reveal hidden and not so hidden aspects of our nature. What does playing games reveal about you? Are you a secret cheater, a stickler for the rules or a gloating winner?” -Game Plan V&A Exhibition
The world we live in is a intricate network of connections. Today everything is connected. Connecting through digital media, connecting our life with virtual reality, with places. What we do as architects but as well as people is to connect fragments. The way we put together our cultural environment, our knowledge, our influences is what makes your own persona. As architects, we are fully immersed in this fragmented reality. The way we create our work and ourselves is through connecting the parts we get in touch with. It is almost impossible to divide the author and his background from the project itself. Indeed, both in the academic and in the professional world, we investigate the way to assemble informations, discussing the conceptual links between different instances and how to adapt them into physical form.
The first and foremost stage is the collection of references, the moment you make your own archive to construct your cultural ground. The way you begin selecting your own fragments creates your own device, your body of production.
However, even though you’re always told to find meaningful connections in this vast ocean of informations, the process of selecting the right ingredients is often assigned to intuition, rarely taught, led or controlled.
To design is to choose, our job as individuals is to distill the essential components to achieve a collective product. Therefore, why someone would select one thing to be more relevant than the other as a starting point? Is this only an instinctive act?
The proposal is a small inhabitable playground to “design” the way you select and collect fragments in the architectural creative process, An ironic attempt to “design intuitions” rather than just proposing an intuitive design.
Play has been taken up as a core action of cultural production. The space of gaming incorporates a fundamental dichotomy: chance and chaos together with order and hierarchies.
This machine - a wooden inhabitable maze, where you direct a ball into a hole to drop a selected fragment - is a study of modifications, examining what happens when things combine, interact, change place.The physical instability of the playfield is a metaphor of our contemporary realm, where a cross pollination between disciplines, people and objects relentlessly develops. On one hand you introduce a certain amount of objectivity in the process, designing the parameters of the playfield. You can organise the fragments in the pots as in a zoning act, you can dispose the maze - the obstacles for the ball -as if it was an architectural plan. At the same time you enhance the subjectivity, accepting that the selection of your references is led by chaos to a certain extent. You can’t predict where the ball is going to fall.
You can design the playfield but you can’t fully control it. You’re constantly challenged by the chance and its mechanisms.