RAM House
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RAM House is a dwelling prototype that explores the home’s response to a new definition of privacy in the age of sentient appliances and signal based communication. As the space of the home becomes saturated by “smart” devices capable of monitoring their surroundings, the role of the domestic envelope as a shield from an external gaze becomes irrelevant: it is the home itself that is observing us.
The RAM House responds to this near-future scenario by proposing a space of selective electromagnetic autonomy. Wi-Fi, cellphone and other radio signals are filtered within the space’s core by various movable shields of radar-absorbent material (RAM) and meshing, preventing signals from entering/exiting. Just as a curtain can be drawn to visually expose the domestic interior of a traditional home, panels can be slid open to allow radio waves to enter and exit, when so desired. RAM house is a proposal of cohabitation with technology other than by a constant default presence.
RAM House is a dwelling prototype that explores the home’s response to a new definition of privacy in the age of sentient appliances and signal based communication. As the space of the home becomes saturated by “smart” devices capable of monitoring their surroundings, the role of the domestic envelope as a shield from an external gaze becomes irrelevant: it is the home itself that is observing us. The RAM House responds to this near-future scenario by proposing a space of selective electromagnetic autonomy.

Project team: Joseph Grima, Tamar Shafrir, Simone Niquille, Giulia Finazzi
Structure & cabinets: Prokoss-Mobilrot
Kitchen & shower fittings: Dornbracht
Bathroom fittings: Duravit
Furniture: Fratelli Levaggi
RF insulation: Geco-lab
Flooring: Artepronta

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SQM: Fortress of Solitude

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‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.
‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.

Project team: Simone Niquille
Sound: M.E.S.H.
Voice: Patrick Ethan Donovan

Commissioned by
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk

Exhibitions:
7 – 11/10 2015
Architectuur Film Festival Rotterdam

23/05 2015
Architecture On Film
Barbican Centre, London

27/02 – 26/03 2015
CC Strombeek, Belgium

31/01 – 27/02 2015
White Hole, Genova

17 – 26/10 2014
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk, Belgium

Press:
Architecture Foundation
Nicolas Nova for Near Future Lab
Artribune
AQNB

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FOMO
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FOMO is a print magazine generated with a custom made software which gathers social media interactions based on metadata filters by a specific hashtag and/or location. The collected data is arranged in a print-ready PDF according to a predefined design template, then printed, bound and distributed on the spot by the FOMObile, a collapsible mobile publishing platform.

Inspired by Bruce Sterling’s statement that “events are the new magazines”, FOMO is an attempt to produce a physical record of the fleeting bodies of physical interactions and electronic debris generated by event culture, while playing on the lurking “fear of missing out” (an inevitable byproduct of the experience economy). The platform records and makes accessible as a physical medium the electronic information nebula they produce.

The magazine’s production is a performative process that investigates the aesthetic and conceptual implications of the encounter between a centuries-old tradition of experimental publishing, the rising influence of machine intelligence in media, and the craving for instant gratification produced by real-time technologies. Variables such as background noise, number of people present, and intensity of social media activity inform the appearance of the final output, creating both moments of density and voids of activity. In Dadaist spirit, it is not so much an experiment in precision documentation as in finding alternative methods of representation and documentation of events.

FOMO is a print magazine generated with a custom made software which gathers social media interactions based on metadata filters by a specific hashtag and/or location. The collected data is arranged in a print-ready PDF according to a predefined design template, then printed, bound and distributed on the spot by the FOMObile, a collapsible mobile publishing platform.
Inspired by Bruce Sterling’s statement that “events are the new magazines”, FOMO is an attempt to produce a physical record of the fleeting bodies of physical interactions and electronic debris generated by event culture, while playing on the lurking “fear of missing out” (an inevitable byproduct of the experience economy). The platform records and makes accessible as a physical medium the electronic information nebula they produce.
Project team: Joseph Grima, Simone Niquille, Tamar Shafrir
Programming: Vinay Mehta
Milan Event Coordination: Tom Keeley

FOMObile Fabrication:Marcello Comoglio, Alessandro Mason

FOMO on Twitter @f_o_m_o
FOMO on Github here

Exhibition dates:
25/04 – 27/09 2015
What is Luxury? V&A Museum London

14/03 – 13/09 2015
Making Africa, Vitra Design Museum

07/10 2014
#Matera2019, Matera 2019 European Cultural Capital Bid

16 – 22/06 2014
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), Design Miami Basel

5 – 6/06 2014
Swiss Pavilion Marathon 
14th Venice Architecture Biennale

9 – 11/04 2014
#OnTheFlyMilan 
Salone del Mobile, Palazzo Clerici

Press:
Crafts Council UK
Dash Magazine
Post-Digital Publishing Archive

Design Miami Basel Design Log
Dezeen on Vimeo
What’s the point of a biennale? – Tom Dyckhoff
Dezeen
Vice Motherboard

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Adhocracy
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Commissioned by the first Istanbul Design Biennale in 2012, Adhocracy is an exhibition questioning the impact of new technologies and network culture on the practice of design in the 21st century. The exhibition brings together an international group of designers, architects, artists, filmmakers and thinkers working at the intersection of design, politics, public space and information design.

In the last few years, exponential technologies have substantially transformed how we work, communicate, and relate. Network culture today permeates everyday life, with a profound impact the way designers think and work and the nature of the objects they produce. This exhibition explores these transformations and offers a critical contextualization within the history of design. Adhocracy is purposefully heterogeneous, embracing everything from medical innovation to cultural and political criticism, and from furniture design to weapons manufacturing. Central themes are the evolving notion of authorship, the surge in collaborative open-source design practices, the “commons” as a crucial space of autonomous production and information design as a vital field of political activism.

As the theater of a fast-moving debate over society’s future, design is today engaged in a struggle between bureaucracy and improvisation, authority and the irrepressible force of networks, in search of a new language and a new commons. Adhocracy argues that rather than the closed object, the maximum expression of design today is the process—the activation of open systems, tools that shape society by enabling self-organization, platforms of collaboration that only partly conform to the capitalist model of competition, and empowering networks of production.

The exhibition, located in the Galata Greek School, included several laboratories of experimental on-site production, such as Blablablab’s “Be Your Own Souvenir” project or Unfold’s “Stratigraphic Manufactury,” in which local ceramists create 3-D-printed porcelain artifacts on-site. The exhibition was accompanied by a publication, The Adhocracy Reader, published by IKSV.

[INSERT SHORTENED DESCRIPTION FOR MOBILE.]

In the last few years, exponential technologies have substantially transformed how we work, communicate, and relate. Network culture today permeates everyday life, with a profound impact the way designers think and work and the nature of the objects they produce. This exhibition explores these transformations and offers a critical contextualization within the history of design. Adhocracy is purposefully heterogeneous, embracing everything from medical innovation to cultural and political criticism, and from furniture design to weapons manufacturing. Central themes are the evolving notion of authorship, the surge in collaborative open-source design practices, the “commons” as a crucial space of autonomous production and information design as a vital field of political activism.

Curator: Joseph Grima
Associate curators: Ethel Baraona Pohl, Elian Stefa, Pelin Tan
Production coordinator: Alessandro Mason
Technical coordinator: Yaşar Kayhan
Exhibition design: ifau and Jesko Fezer
Graphic design: Folder
Catalogue editors: Avinash Rajagopal, Vera Sacchetti, Tamar Shafrir
Editorial coordinator: Merve Yücel
Exhibition dates:
13 October — 12 December 2012, Istanbul Design Biennial at Galata Greek School, Karaköy, Istanbul
4 May – 7 July 2013 The New Museum, New York
4 September – 12 October 2013 Limewharf, London

Press:
New York Times T MagazineThe Architect’s NewspaperThe Architectural ReviewAbitareDezeendesignboom, DisegnoIt’s Nice ThatWallpaper, Urban Omnibus

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Utilitas Interrupta: An Infrastructural Index of Unfulfilled Ambitions
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“The ultimate defect of projects—they die—takes us back to their beginnings: they were condemned from the start because some crazy engineers had mistaken dreams for reality. […] Yes, you have to reread your Hegel because, you know, technological reality isn’t rational, and it’s no good rationalizing it after the fact.”
—Bruno Latour, ARAMIS, or the Love of Technology, 1996

Utilitas Interrupta, an exhibition at experimentadesign 2011: Useless, is a research on how the construction and subsequent abandonment of infrastructure can be taken as a form of cultural memory, an index of society’s evolving priorities. Since the dawn of time, man’s average dreams, challenges and, ultimately, accomplishments have materialised in works of infrastructure. From Babylonian hydraulics to the geoengineered archipelagos of the twenty-first century, great infrastructural works represent the apex of design achievement—and often, by virtue of their sheer magnitude, the most tangible expression of a culture’s development, ambition and might. Canals, power plants, fortifications, reclaimed lands, particle accelerators, aqueducts, telecommunications networks, dams: infrastructure is justifiably held up as the register of society’s collective accomplishment and the historical benchmark of its leaders’ enlightenment.

Burdened with such momentous responsibility, infrastructure inevitably also comes to immortalise society’s most catastrophic failures. Such debacles surround us: the infrastructural coitus interruptus of countless politician’s pet projects, stalled by a myriad of financial crises; China’s infamous ghost cities and America’s abandoned shopping malls; the abandoned concrete carcasses of unfinished hotels scattered along the banks of the Red Sea; the 3,400 airports built in the 1970s and 1980s throughout the former Soviet Union that today lie abandoned, victims of the market economy’s relentless drive towards centralisation.

Yet failure can in itself be as revealing as success. Utilitas Interrupta sets out to closely read infrastructural works that no longer satisfy the Vitruvian injunction to be useful: projects once celebrated and now forgotten, reminders of a long-gone (or not so long-gone) optimism that lie concealed in plain sight, magically erased from collective consciousness despite their often gargantuan proportions. Like scars indelibly etched into the landscape, these structures are the repositories of forgotten stories of zeal and passion, neglected then swept aside like lovers no longer able to please.

This exhibition investigates seventeen case studies, transversally sampled from various points in time and space. Infrastructure rendered obsolete by the indomitable pressure of technological progress; the infrastructure of paranoia, useless by definition; vanity infrastructure, purposeless except as proof of its own existence; the foiled infrastructure of honourable ideals and unfulfilled intentions; infrastructure scuttled by misfortune or catastrophe and left to decompose; the infrastructure of the absurd, the comical and the tragic—stories of heroic deeds in which the cure is feared as worse than the disease.

If the landscape is the theatre in which the mundane of history is acted out, these infrastructural scars are an eloquent reminder that history as we know it is but one of many possible—and equally plausible—stories.

Utilitas Interrupta, an exhibition at experimentadesign 2011: Useless, is a research on how the construction and subsequent abandonment of infrastructure can be taken as a form of cultural memory, an index of society’s evolving priorities. Since the dawn of time, man’s average dreams, challenges and, ultimately, accomplishments have materialised in works of infrastructure. From Babylonian hydraulics to the geoengineered archipelagos of the twenty-first century, great infrastructural works represent the apex of design achievement—and often, by virtue of their sheer magnitude, the most tangible expression of a culture’s development, ambition and might. Canals, power plants, fortifications, reclaimed lands, particle accelerators, aqueducts, telecommunications networks, dams: infrastructure is justifiably held up as the register of society’s collective accomplishment and the historical benchmark of its leaders’ enlightenment.
Curator: Joseph Grima
Associate Curator: Elian Stefa
Graphic Design: Neil Donnelly
With contributions from: Alicja Dobrucka, Armin Linke, Bertin & CIE, Bogdan Stojanovic, Bruce Sterling, Elian Stefa, Gaia Cambiaggi, Geoff Manaugh, Grégoire Basdevant, Haubitz+Zoche, Igor Kuznetsov, Igor Sharovatov, Ivan Kuryachiy, Jessica Russell, Minkoo Kang, Nicola Twilley, Noah Sheldon, Sergey Kulikov, Ulrich Pohlmann
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Mud and Money: The World Archipelago
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Mud and Money by Bruce Sterling:

Nowhere but in Dubai could the world be so richly re-imagined.

The World would be visible from the International Space Station, and it would look, more or less, like our actual world. To tell the truth, The World looked like a world fragmented into private real-estate lots, because The World was, in fact, a huge yacht harbor. Asia, Africa and the Americas had been broken to sellable bits.

The World, being newborn and consummately artificial, would have five special qualities unknown in lesser settlements. It would have technical intelligence. Marketing magic. Royal grandeur. Visceral appeal. And it would leave a legacy to astonish the world for generations.

These were plausible aims. They merely seemed unlikely by the standards of places in the world that weren’t Dubai. Before the fiery launch of the War on Terror, Dubai had been a backwater emirate with an ancient fishing port and a couple of modest high-rises. As ruin stalked the Middle East, this oasis had escaped the deadly Curse of Oil, because Dubai didn’t have any. Instead, Dubai had a grand strategy to launder other people’s oil money, through finance, shipping logistics, trade, and tourism — all of them dependent on Dubai’s 85% foreign population of jetsetters and migrant laborers.

From the point of view of the Dubai locals, The World was a highly logical solution to Dubai’s unique problems. As landlord, Dubai wanted to lure in the world’s richest tenants. These eccentrics would be cordially parked in fancy island mansions five kilometers offshore, with their own malls and resort bars. The apotheosis of liberal capitalism was a golden ultra-ghetto.

Unfortunately the success of The World was entirely dependent on the goodwill of foreigners. The scheme failed abjectly, but this had nothing to do with Dubai’s stellar ability to construct new infrastructure out of mere sand.

It was the world that failed Dubai, because a planetary real estate crisis in 2008 broke the nerves of the very clientele who should have chosen to infest a resort like The World. The global overclass had panicked, and Dubai’s many other newly-built charms: the huge robot tramway, the ozone-piercing skyscraper, the seven-star seaside hotel shaped like a sail — none of these things could mellow them. The planetary elite had lost their taste for real-estate flipping at precisely the moment that a tax-free entrepot in an autocratic micro-state might have been really handy.

Dubai had finessed the deadly War on Terror by offering the world an Arab sheikdom even more globalized than the West; but in a credit crunch, Dubai was just another paper-shuffling finance hub.

No buyers, no World. Under capitalism, nobody can huge build a royal utopia just to have one. So the oddly-shaped cluster of islands became one of the world’s largest shipping hazards.

There are those who claim The World is sinking back into the mud that gave it birth, but since it’s made of 321 million cubic metres of sand spread over 31 million tons of rock, that fate is unlikely. The World isn’t sinking to perdition. Not at all. Having lost its reason, The World is just sitting there.

It was the world that failed Dubai, because a planetary real estate crisis in 2008 broke the nerves of the very clientele who should have chosen to infest a resort like The World. The global overclass had panicked, and Dubai’s many other newly-built charms: the huge robot tramway, the ozone-piercing skyscraper, the seven-star seaside hotel shaped like a sail — none of these things could mellow them. The planetary elite had lost their taste for real-estate flipping at precisely the moment that a tax-free entrepot in an autocratic micro-state might have been really handy.
A film produced for Utilitas Interrupta

Aerial filming by Navigation Films
Supervision and production by Elian Stefa
Accompanying text by Bruce Sterling

Exhibition dates:
28 September – 27 November 2011: experimentadesign 2011: Useless, Lisbon
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