This project aims to uncover a design strategy that could be used to exemplify the innovative, socially-active, and provocative aspects of Benetton’s identity while providing a basis for regionally-modifiable variations on these global themes, transformable for multiple sites, climates, cultures, and audiences.
The fundamental design premise begins with an idea of the city as a multicultural urban landscape, and in this particular case of Teheran’s Grand Bazaar and its surrounding district, which is perhaps the most vibrant expression of Teheran’s social and commercial life. As with a ribbon of fabric, the spatial facets of the bazaar are folded, hemmed, pleated, and shaped into a new multi-storied, three-dimensional object that then carries within its figures pieces of the city where a multiplicity of cultural activities are recorded and can be enacted.
The patterning of the object is determined by aspects of the site’s geometry, its solar and wind orientations, and its principal public access routes. As it is culturally and climatically plausible, multiple entry points can be provided, as well as an embrasure of street-level public spaces within the site. The interior spaces are configured so as to keep the air circulation at an optimal level throughout most seasons.
In the case of Site A, the ribbon of urban fabric is folded outward, forming an interior ‘chasm’ of public space, and pleated across the irregular geometry, with articulated programmatic elements shaping its exterior. Circulation makes frequent appearances around the external surfaces. In the case of Site B, the ribbon of urban fabric is folded inward, forming a smooth exterior surface on two sides, with a cascading series of articulated spaces open to each other on the interior, through which most of the circulation passes and across which multiple views are enacted.