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Design with Nature, image courtesy Mario Cucinella Architects

Design with Nature: Mario Cucinella’s Salone 2022 installation is a paean to sustainability


The architect Mario Cucinella’s ecosystemic vision, as reported by newspapers and magazines following the presentation of his project for the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022

On 19th March, the Corriere della Sera’s coverage of Design with Nature, the over 1,400 m2 installation designed by the architect Mario Cucinella for the 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano in Pavilion 15, opened with: “One thing is certain: the future of home living can no longer sideswerve a reflection on sustainability, as in projects that are intrinsically devised to last and the use of green materials (and the recycling thereof).”

The daily environmental sustainability newspaper posted an interview with Cucinella on the lead theme of this edition of the fair, which “will see the future of sustainable living as its cornerstone, based on the circular economy, recycling, innovation and quality. ‘If the events of the last few years have helped us rediscover the importance of sociality and sharing,’ the architect , who with huge integrity, has been championing a circular design vision and approach for many years said, ‘this sense has yet to strike a balance with what is around us, the spaces we live in and the territories we occupy (home, city, planet), and the resources available to us.’ Cucinella’s installation for the Salone del Mobile aims to trigger reflection on three basic themes: ecological transition, the home as the first urban building block and the city as a mine. Design with Nature imagines a building method in which the recycling of raw materials is the basis for everything, and cities themselves become ‘reserves’ of materials for the future.”

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The Salone has also drawn up a series of guidelines to help exhibitors and stand builders to work with the environment uppermost in mind, for example by choosing low impact and reusable materials, mindful of the question of their future disposal right from the design stage, or avoiding water and energy waste,” said Artribune, which then quoted briefly from Mario Cucinella on his project Design with Nature: ‘Recent studies have shown that the load of man-made things is greater than the load of all the living organisms on the Earth.’ The architect is one of the most highly respected and sought-after on the international scene precisely for his stance on sustainability. ‘We have been aware of our responsibilities for some time, and this only increases the sense of guilt. We can only hope that all this focus on environmental issues will bring about green diplomacy.’ Going into further detail about the content, Mario Porro explained that ‘At the Salone, companies and creatives will have a chance to actually touch alternative materials that have already been industrialised, allowing themselves to be inspired by the vision of urban areas as potential “mines” of raw materials, reflecting on the home as a cell of a more complex organism – the city.’”

In this installation, the term “ecosystem” will be fundamental for narrating the way in which “the vision of the future will need to be ecosystemic and capable of bringing knowledge, skills and technologies together in a new generation of materials and products,” reported the Bologna edition of the Corriere della Sera.This will be found inside Pavilion 15 at the Rho Milan Fairgrounds, a large plaza, a setting for a large, sinuous table, a place for meeting and sharing that responds to the needs that have emerged over the last two years as crucial life moments. At the end of the Salone, the installation will be put to different uses – every single element will be recycled and become a library for a school, a classroom, a seat for a public space, a desk or table for a laboratory. All this is also contingent on the choice of materials, derived from natural sources, such as fish scales, mango, bamboo and even transformed and upcycled waste. Cities are full of the latter. As Cucinella said: 'Everybody is aware of the problem, as well as guilty. We need to act now.’ The need to reconcile with nature, as the founder of MC Architects has said more than once, is also backed up by the numbers – on this planet, the total load of natural elements, the so-called global biomass (plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, protists, archetypes and viruses), has now been overtaken by that of elements deriving from anthropic activities, the anthropogenic mass (everything that comes under the umbrella of inanimate elements created by man between 1900 and 2020). The figures come from Cucinella himself: 1120 Gt in the first instance and 1154 Gt in the second. This is why the way we look at architecture is the way to re-establish contact anew: ‘Design is a place of peace,’ said Cucinella. That goes for man and nature too.”

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25 March 2022