at the chicago architecture biennial, italian studio PIOVENEFABI has created a series of furniture pieces that reinterpret the architecture of milan’s subway system. titled ‘metropolitana’, the installation uses both materials and individual elements of the original network to create what the design team calls ‘a new domestic landscape’. a table made out of silipol, a colorful stained concrete, stands at the center of the space, while a bright red lamp evokes the metro’s familiar curving handrails.

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
a series of furniture pieces reinterpret the architecture of milan’s subway system
image © designboom

 

 

PIOVENEFABI’s project, which remains on view at the chicago architecture biennial until january 7, 2018, revisits post-war italy, a time where ‘everything seemed possible’. the country’s first subway line (the M1, or the red line) opened in milan on november 1, 1964. the stations’ infrastructure and identity was developed by architects franco albini and franca helg and graphic designer bob noorda. ‘their intervention was a light, but resistant, superstructure which dressed an already built infrastructurtural void’, says the design team.

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
the installation uses materials and individual elements of the original network
image © designboom

 

 

eager production companies were happy to involved in the project, which saw new materials tested and explored. designed with a ‘certain repeatability’ in mind, one such element was the pirelli black rubber floor, which later became a mainstream flooring choice in italy and beyond. ‘within the different reality of today such a productive effort appears as pure archaeology’, say the architects. the collection of furniture is accompanied by photography of the metro network by giovanna silva.

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
a bright red lamp evokes the metro’s familiar curving handrails
image © designboom

 

 

other projects presented as part of the 2017 chicago architecture biennial include an exhibition that spotlights the work of global firm SOM, and an experimental performance that features air-filtering outfits designed by new york-based studio SO-IL. see designboom’s ongoing coverage of the event here.

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
furniture is accompanied by photography of the metro network by giovanna silva
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
a table made out of a colorful stained concrete stands at the center of the space
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
the design team calls the collection ‘a new domestic landscape’
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
a range of different furniture pieces have been created
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
the pieces pay homage to italy’s first subway line
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
the project ‘metropolitana’ revists post-war italy
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan
the furniture remains on view at the chicago architecture biennial until january 7, 2018
image © designboom


ambra fabi and giovanni piovene of PIOVENEFABI
image © designboom

 

 

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan

 

the second edition of the chicago architecture biennial (CAB) is the largest architecture and design exhibition in north america, showcasing the transformative global impact of creativity and innovation in these fields. this year’s biennial features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme ‘make new history.’ artistic directors sharon johnston and mark lee have selected architects and artists whose eye-opening creations will invite the public to explore how the latest architecture can and will make new history in places around the world.

 

CAB is hosted by the chicago department of cultural affairs and special events at the historic chicago cultural center. the ‘make new history’ exhibition extends to off-site locations and is amplified through six community anchor exhibitions in the neighborhoods and two special project sites — plus installations, performances, talks, films, and more hosted by over 100 local and global cultural partners.

 

the main exhibition is free and open to the public from september 16, 2017 through january 7, 2018.

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