I met them few years ago; today we are back together to speak about nature while they dismantle Jellyfish on the Darsena in Milan.
Studiomobile: architecture and urban ecology, why?
The bond between artifice and nature is an important issue, which always poses great questions. The relationships between the environment and man are varied and fast moving, even more now that our ecosystem is threatened by climate change and a growing world population. These factors lead us to rethink our cities in terms of – not only the quality of urban – but also in terms of social and economic. Plants, living systems, can teach them to evolve in a more efficient and less impact!What was your first project combining architecture and nature?
The first project we worked on about this theme is called Seawater Vertical Farm and was a decidedly utopian project that consisted in huge wind towers for growing urban Arab countries. At the time we were working in Dubai and the issue of food security and water shortages emerged as one of the central problems of the country. But both of us have – since college – loved the work of Site: a collective of architects, artists and urban planners who were pioneers in rethinking the relationship between cities and the built environment.
Networking Nature has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2012. What are the particulars of the installation?
Networking Nature is a landscape that tells a future scenario, but not too far away, where nature and environment built merge. Environmental changes have redesigned this new landscape in which the communities find themselves having to make a virtue of necessity and survival using resources which seem unusable. As salt water. NN (Networking Nature) is in fact a small ecosystem that lives thanks to seawater. Within a tank filled with salt water, some solar distillers extract fresh water using heat generated by small lamps. The water is not produced in one big facility but in small and widespread ecological infrastructures connected to a network using sensors is able to distribute fresh water where there is need.
PNAT, what, how did and what led you to found it?
PNAT is our dream that come true. It’s the first Italian start-up, spin-off of the University of Florence, where botanists, biologists and architects work together to seek answers to questions that the contemporary world arises. What will we eat when we are 10 billion people in the world? Where will we get water? How it will evolve agriculture or urban? The team is composed not only by me and Antonio but there botanists Pandolfi Camilla, Azzarello Elisa, Elisa Masi and Professor Stefano Mancuso, one of the most authoritative in the field of plant science.
Your last work Jellyfish Barge arrived in Milan. How does it work?
Jellyfish is the first project of PNAT and is a modular greenhouse floating unit able to generate water and the energy it needs, simply using only the sun. It’s a system capable of producing local and fresh food even for communities who have no access to agricultural land and fresh water. It was positioned in the new Darsena in Milan until the end of October as an event sponsored by the Expo.
As part of nature there is better as individuals?
We’re just working on the new visual identity of PNAT. We chose as an element that best represents us the veins of the leaves. From the geometric point of view the construction are marvelous able to create patterns incredibly complex. From the functional point of view are a real network for the distribution of nutrients. No coincidence that their design looks incredibly like the most modern concepts of infrastructure to transport data and energy.