8½ is the winning design of YAP MAXXI 2014, program in support of the young architecture organized by MAXXI with MoMA/MoMA PS1 (NYC), Constructo (Santiago de Chile), Istanbul Modern (Turkey) and MMCA National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Seul (Korea).
8 1⁄2 is a mobile theatre, a machine to experience public space. It investigates the dual nature of public space, as the place of intimacy and elective relationships and in the meantime the preferential territory of event and spectacle. The installation intends to be a reflection about the transition that changes public space from being the background of private encounters and individual moments to being the scene of public events and collective representations.
8 ½ was built in 4 weeks, the construction site became for 2 weeks a workshop open to students from all over Italy. The participant worked on the wooden structures of the arena and on the upcycle process of plastic beer kegs into lampshades for the wall. 8 1⁄2 consists of two complementary elements: the wall and the arena.
1. The wall: 8 and 1⁄2 meters high, is built with modular timber frames covered with upcycled beer kegs. It transforms the surrounding space laying down a principal direction and creates a threshold effect dividing the “front” from the “back”. An opening in the structure can be used as access point to the interior space and as stage alternatively facing one side or the other. During the plays, the wall works as scaenae frons, backdrop or technical infrastructure for machines and equipment. A path climbing to an upper level can be used during the shows as a part of the stage or, in the everyday life, as a new point of view over the area.The LED lighting system works as a display that can show geometrical drawings, graphics, typographic fonts.
2. The arena: it consists in four “relational objects” and a canopy that goes from the wall to a linear system composed by six blocks. The arena is both a theatre, a place addressed to public events and plays, and a square, an architectural device for the daily use of the common space. An accurate shadow study of the canopy allows both shaded and sunny areas during summertime. The wall and the arena work together creating an intimate relational space, an “urban room” where you can enjoy the space together, play, chill or simply stay.