With nature and sustainability at the heart of Salone del Mobile 2022 (opens in new tab), the fair's 60th edition, architect Mario Cucinella’s Design with Nature installation ticks all the boxes. Staged at S.Project’s Pavilion 15, the 1,400 sq m space in Fiera Milano Rho acts as a meeting place for dialogue, reflection and innovation, proposing an alternative future for architecture, with the environment at the forefront.
Mario Cucinella Salone del Mobile installation
The installation channels three main themes: ecological transition, the home as the prime urban element and the city as a mine. Composed of a restaurant, bar, seating area, library and conference area, the installation is made up of curving structures surrounded by fruit trees and plants, echoing a modernised Italian piazza.
Everything is made using recycled or repurposed elements, showcasing 20 materials already on the market. ‘The textiles are made from orange skin, the leather made from mango skin and the panels come from the skin of fish. It’s a parallel industry, showing that by recycling material we can really open a new frontier,’ Cucinella told Wallpaper*. ‘We have beautiful wallpaper made from banana leaves and I found a little company that recycles fishing nets to make beautiful carpets.
‘It's a generation of people that decided there is another way to do things now and the Salone exhibition is showing why it’s so important,' he added. ‘People are coming from many countries, a lot of young designers and architects, so this is a very positive message for them to consider.'
‘Many see the city as a problem but maybe the city is the next generation of material, which we already built using steel, aluminium, glass, concrete blocks, so everything is already there' - Mario Cucinella
Cucinella reimagines the role of cities as possible resource reserves, where raw materials could be sourced and reused for new constructions, rather than further stripping the Earth and using costly industrial processing for building materials. A video-mapping presentation created by Zeranta will present these ideas and how they may be achieved.
‘Many see the city as a problem but maybe the city is the next generation of material, which we already built using steel, aluminium, glass, concrete blocks, so everything is already there,' Cucinella said. ‘We're mapping to show people that the anthropogenic mass – what we've built on the planet – is already heavier than all the organic plants, animals, everything on the planet.'
Once Salone del Mobile 2022 (opens in new tab) comes to a close, Cucinella intends to repurpose the installation’s elements by giving them new homes. The lecture stage will be given to a school in need of a space for presentations, while another takes the library bookcases. One of the exhibition tables will be sent to a laboratory and the 100 3D-printed stools made of recycled plastic will be given to an association in Bologna that holds public talks on ecology.
‘I like the idea that this event, which is a huge effort in terms of design and cost, will be able to go to different places to be used again,' Cucinella said. ‘We’ll split all the pieces and give it to other people, which I think is the best way to give back this project.'
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