Bergamo Municipality, Confindustria Bergamo and GAMeC have presented the winning projects and designers of the contest for the design of two squares in the city of Bergamo: Piazza della Libertà and the square in front of the new Confindustria headquarters at Kilometro Rosso.

The projects are fully supported by Confindustria Bergamo, reflecting the company’s desire to support the Bergamo community through the creation of inclusive, sustainable and harmoniously integrated places for meeting and socializing in the city context, which are also linked to the values of innovation and industriousness, the core of both the mission of Confindustria Bergamo and that of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023.

The Piazza Libertà installation will be inaugurated in early 2023 to coincide with the opening of the celebrations for Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture. The installation of the square at Kilometro Rosso, on the other hand, is scheduled for spring 2023.

The contests, launched in July, involved 12 international and Italian designers. From these, the two winning designs were selected, chosen to create an ideal bridge between the city center and its suburbs, between the historic and representative urban core and the current innovation and industry hub.

The project that will dress Piazza della Libertà with a temporary intervention oriented to interpret the theme of the Italian Capital of Culture, La Città Illuminata (The Enlightened City) is Lights On, by Greek designers Objects of Common Interest.

The project was selected by the commission for its ability to combine the iconic character of the sculptural element––the luminous sign that interacts with the facade of the Palazzo della Libertà and recalls the values of the Enlightened City on which the Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture project is based––with a need for community participation, going on to create a welcoming and functional space for all the people who will experience the square in this year of celebrations.

The project that will transform the entrance space to the Confindustria Bergamo headquarters inside Kilometro Rosso Innovation District is Pioppeto, by the Salottobuono architecture studio founded by Matteo Ghidoni. The revamped square will be dedicated to the concept of Industriosa Natura (Industrious Nature), chosen by Confindustria Bergamo to tell the story of its willingness in promoting development that is attentive to issues of ecology and sustainability, and in its ability to be guided by an innovative, dynamic and creative outlook.

Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori emphasizes, “The two projects represent some of the first interventions, in chronological order, that will allow Bergamo to evolve, in the context of the Italian Capital of Culture 2023 project, representing to the general public some of the most characteristic values and themes of the Enlightened City: the industrious soul of the territory, its creative and entrepreneurial fabric, and the drive for innovation and renewal proper to our identity. And, if the intervention on Piazza della Libertà is destined to have a different location at the end of 2023, that of the Kilometro Rosso is designed to remain permanent, a legacy to the city.”

“The two works,” continues Giovanna Ricuperati, President of Confindustria Bergamo, “contribute to defining the new vision of an attractive territory aware of its potential, which dialogues with modernity, starting from its strengths, its manufacturing roots, its strong sense of belonging, and combines them with the values of innovation and economic, social and environmental sustainability, thanks also to the evocative capacity of the languages of art and culture. In particular, the design of the square at the Kilometro Rosso Innovation District is developed along the lines of “Industrious Nature” that inspired us throughout the process of building our new headquarters, marking the further approach and openness to the community, while the project for Piazza della Libertà expresses in an artistic key the enlightened entrepreneurial vision that always finds new ways to resist the complexities of changing contexts.”

Adds Alberto Barcella, President of GAMeC: “The presentation of the two winning projects for the squares of Bergamo and Kilometro Rosso represents the conclusion of a careful and articulate selection process that involved young professionals, researchers and design curators. We are pleased with the energies activated so far, thanks to which the city is enriched with two new meeting spaces mediated by the language of urban design, and we look forward to the moment when the Bergamo community and visitors to the city will be able to inhabit them.”


PIAZZA DELLA LIBERTÀ
OBJECTS OF COMMON INTEREST
LIGHTS ON

Lights On, specifically designed for Bergamo’s Piazza della Libertà, involves public space on multiple levels and is based on three key concepts: reuse, reactivate, renew. The project stems from the desire to rework the relationship between the community and the resources it already possesses, and to propose innovative solutions starting from the heritage of the city and the territory.

The centerpiece of the intervention is an imposing light sculpture, a sinuous, flexible and seemingly soft but actually very robust work of art. Powered by solar panels, it will be placed in close connection with the architecture of the building overlooking the square.

The fountain in the center of the square will be able to be observed from an unprecedented close-up perspective, thanks to a raised pavement––a kind of “hill”––made of recycled tires that will allow a panoramic view of the entire area.

Completing the installation is a series of seats made from reclaimed polychrome marble and recycled resin.

All of the components of Lights On––the light sculpture, the seating, the paving––are placed in dialogue with the urban context, and form a public artwork that encourages community interaction. Each element is designed to be recycled and reused. Both the lighting elements and the seating can in fact be reassembled in different ways and in other contexts.


KILOMETRO ROSSO INNOVATION DISTRICT
SALOTTOBUONO
PIOPPETO

Pioppeto intends to act as an interpreter of the need for industry to combine sustainability, nature and production, intervening on the specific spatial and environmental qualities of the context in which the installation will fit and contributing, with a small but highly symbolic piece, to the goals of decarbonization and reforestation of the territory.

Poplar plantations are familiar and iconic figures in the landscape of the Po Valley, and offer significant opportunities to address the challenges of climate change and activate new sustainable economies; they contribute significantly to the goals of the Green Deal because, thanks to their multiple potential for industrial transformation and rapid rotation, they can help meet market demands by significantly reducing the demand for extraction from natural forests.

The project will affect the area between the Kilometro Rosso wall and the Confindustria headquarters, on the roof of the underground auditorium: 32 potted trees will be arranged to form a large natural columned hall topped by a leaf roof, anticipating the entrance to the building. The lawn area along the red backdrop of the wall will be replaced by a body of water that will accommodate reeds, cattails and water lilies. Concrete and ceramic pots and benches with different geometries will complete the layout of the plaza, which is intended to be a welcoming place, able to provide comfortable conditions for outdoor pause and meeting and to host events and sharing moments designed for the community.

The overall intervention––the poplar grove and the pond––is intended as a self-sufficient system that reproduces the typical ecosystem of the Po Valley: the plaza constitutes a large draining surface that conveys rainwater to the pond, which, partially collected inside a cistern, will be reused to irrigate the trees.

A hardy and easy-to-manage tree, poplar filters sunlight and alleviates summer heat; the rustling of its foliage also mitigates noise from planes and vehicles.

The project also envisions an increase in the biodiversity present in the poplar grove and the body of water: in fact, the trees will provide an ideal nesting environment for multiple species of birds, and, over time, frogs and other small organisms will appear and populate the natural and artificial environment of the plaza. The industriousness of nature thus defines a place that represents an oasis between the highway and the parking lots beyond the wall and the complex of buildings within it.


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

OBJECTS OF COMMON INTEREST

The Objects of Common Interest studio consists of Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis, who live and work between Athens and New York. Architects by training but designers by first occupation, their research focuses on the ability to create experiential environments and objects through a conceptual elaboration of material and an intuitive approach to form.
Their projects have been exhibited in institutions, galleries, and art and design fairs, and they have presented solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Noguchi Museum in New York, the Brussels Design Museum, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and the Salone del Mobile in Milan. Among the nominees in the “Designer of the Year” category for the Dezeen Awards 2022, they won the Wallpaper* Design Award 2022 and the Design Prize 2021 in the “experimentation” category.

SALOTTOBUONO

Salottobuono was founded in 2005 in Milan by Matteo Ghidoni. Editor of the “Instructions and Handbooks” section of Abitare magazine (2007-2010) and creative director of Domus magazine (2011, 2012), the studio participated in the Venice Biennale (2008, 2012, 2014) and designed the Italian Pavilion in 2010. Salottobuono published Manuale della decolonizzazione (The Handbook of Decolonization) (2010), and Atti fondamentali (Fundamental Acts) (2016). Matteo Ghidoni was also a founding partner of the research agency Multiplicity from 2002 to 2006. His work with Multiplicity has been exhibited at the Kunstwerke in Berlin (2003), the Venice Biennale (2003), the Musée d’art moderne in Paris (2003), the ZKM in Karlsruhe (2004), and the Beijing Biennale (2004). He has been a visiting professor at the Istituto Universitario d’Architettura di Venezia at the Faculty of Architecture, the Politecnico di Milano, the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota. He has lectured at several schools and institutions including the Berlage Institute, Berkeley and Columbia University. Ghidoni is co-founder and editor-in-chief of San Rocco, an independent international architecture publication.