Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

• October 18, 2010

The team of Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo shared with us their work which was done in their Master degree program in Scuola Politecnica di Design (Milano). Alias Evolution was an organic response to the brutality and minimalism of the host buidling and the surrounding environment, combining a fluid aesthetic with a landmark structure which highlights the monumentality of Moretti’s famous Architecture in the centre of Milan.

+ Project description courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

When we started this project, one of the first things that came to our attention was the huge contrast between the very high and powerful architec­ture of the Moretti building on Corsa Italia, Milano, and that of the surrounding buildings.

AliasEvolutionLobby building 595x180 Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

The Moretti building was built in 1953 at the height of the Brutalist ar­chitectural period and this is no exception to the imposing grandeur seen else­where in this intriguing Italian style. The building has a very overpowering height, exentuated by the very bold and clean lines of the exterior of the build­ing, and also the frank statement of the cantilever which protrudes out over the street as one walks through to the main thoroughfare of the site. Whilst there are 3 main volumes to the Moretti building we were to be concentrating on the main aspect of the site with the cantilever over Corsa Italia. The site extends along the length of Via Rugabella to the north and circles the site with two other huge projections which tie all the buildings together to form a courtyard in the middle, from which all the forms can be accessed.

AliasEvolutionLobby Location MainFasade Zoning 595x141 Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Alias Evolution, drawin gcourtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Having seen the site and done some basic research on the client, Alias Furniture, we were then given a guided tour of the showrooms of the client, highlighting the design issues involved in producing some of their superlight furniture, the reasons behind many of the designs, but also key factors as to their success and also how they wanted to be viewed by their clients and pro­spective customers. After a very insightful tour we then had a chance gather our own thoughts on both the building and also of the client, their needs, and also their wishes.

AliasEvolutionLobby structure1 595x446 Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

The starting point of our research was to delve deep into the interpreta­tion of the ambiguity found within a few of the collections of Alias furniture, namely that of the Dehors range and the Frame range. We had singled these out from the other pieces within the company as they has a dual aspect to them with regards to their ability to utilised as outdoor furniture, for which, they had been specifically designed to withstand the harshness of outdoor weathering, yet would look equally good as indoor furniture.

From the offset we had found something that was of great debate to ourselves and a great source of inspiration for the direction in which the project would eventually lead.

From this dual aspect of these pieces we started to ellaborate on what we had seen at the showroom, and decided to take a closer look at pieces that we had at first glance decided were very angular and, like the architecture of Moretti’s building, quite brutal. Having studied their forms more closely we then came to the conclusion that maybe our initial thoughts towards the bold linearty of Alias furniture had been misfounded, and were infact much more ergonomic, fluid and organic than we had first anticipated.

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Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

With this new found realisation of the aesthetics of the clients furniture and having heard how the Managing Director had explained to the other group about certain key features of one range of furniture we took the step in declar­ing our intentions for the basis of the project, that of Organicity and Hidden Organic geometry.

But how do organic forms and a fluid architectonic language fit in with a building, widley respected as one of the most powerful Brutalist monuments in the centre of Milan?

If we look at any city, we can see that nature is a notion held back by the forces of man in their conquest to create the biggest, best and most functional environment for business and living, yet it is always nature that intervenes, and always finds a way to be ever present in these manufactured landscapes. If we look at any derelict building, or one that has been neglected for many years we can see the signs of the natural environment reclaiming what was once green land. This is a notion that we had talked about and subsequently had found a number of interesting images depicting the harmonious dischord of manmade and organic forms creating something stunning without prejudice for either side. A feeling of apathy for the prevailing natural growth of mother nature working with a man made structure to create such a thing of beauty, yet defined as complete opposites.

Once we had discovered this natural aesthetic to the Alias furniture, we saw that it could work in harmony within a brutalist structure, but it also needed a more organic backdrop to really exentuate these notions that hadn’t been so obvious to us in our initial studies, so we needed some sort of fluid organic no­tion to propel and confound our deliberations and discoveries.

AliasEvolutionLobby entrance 595x446 Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Now that we had found a direction in which to take the project we had to address a couple of points that had become apparent on our site visit to the Moretti building that would prove to be of great importance to our proj­ect, namely, the need to highlight where the entrance to the building was and how we would be able to transport non residents to the roof top which we had singled out as the ideal location for a luxurious semi outdoor bar.

Once we had identified these problems we explored how they could be satisfied within the scope of language that we had discovered to be of great importance to us, and our interventions led us to hypothetical considerations for the use of the space, both as residents of the hotel and of the general public whom would want to enjoy the space at the top of the building, whilst making sure that the identity of the Moretti building was not lost.

AliasEvolutionLobby Roof1 595x131 Alias Evolution | Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

We looked at the apparent island that Moretti had created in the centre of Milan with these huge monolithic forms, the importance of access within the building, but also how to soften the appearance and help create a connection between the furniture and the setting in a Milanese style. This lead us to the creation of a powerful structure shaped by organic ideology that could envelop and penetrate the building and help draw attention and intriguige to the hotel and client, thus creating a organic refuge within this grey urban area.

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Alias Evolution, render courtesy Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

For underlining the verticality of connections and continuing on the idea of dematerialization of the space and emphasising Alias products, our research into the use of colours culminated in the use of a grey scale across the building, starting form the bottom level with a white scenary of the interior space and ending with a dark-grey in the outside space of the roof level. In this way The only accents of colours are left to Alias furniture, so that it could interact with the space as a relationship of contrasts.

Finally, we wanted to let the building stand out during night-time with an almost un earthly glow passing through the exterior structure, keeping the attention of passer-by towards the buildings and with another essence : night-time life in Milan .. on Alias seats.

+ Design: Maria Kadyrova + Sam Buckley + Martina Caddeo

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Category: Architecture

Comments (3)

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  1. Sam Buckley says:

    Great to see this project getting some web time…

  2. Ornament and Crime says:

    I am not convinced by the statement or the imagery presented.

    It appears that the conceptual basis for this addition is that of ‘nature’ in conjunction/juxtaposition with ‘architecture’. On that basis, would you not propose a strategy of planting which would over time create a similar yet far more convincing addition to the building ? Instead, what is presented is in infact a reversal of what is stated in the text ! ‘Nature’ is represented in ther ‘architecture’ – the ‘organic’ is just as manmade as the ‘architecture’.

    I am happy to hear otherwise. Anyone ?

  3. Sam Buckley says:

    Ornament & Crime;
    As you can see from the last images we did infact propose a planting strategy that in time would create a green canopy over the entirety of the roof structure.

    I think also that you may have misunderstood the way in which we have used organicity within the project.

    One of the main inspirations for this structure was infact the microscopic structure found within the interior of bones, the almost honeycomb structure which is infact much more of a random and inconsistent pattern. This theme had stemmed from the bone like forms of some of the members within the Frame range of furniture from Alias which gave us a basis of a bio engineering type structure

    So we had not wanted to create a truly organic structure, but create a back bone like frame work that would be strong enough to incorporate an exterior lift shaft as well as create a strong canopy for the roof top bar and the secluded seating to the eastern end of the roof.

    I think it is fair to say that we had taken ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ as inspiration for the structure and not as a defining feature of the material of the structure.

    Hope that clarifies our statement of intent a little!

    Thanks for your comments…