Kik Park is a leftover urban area that Francesco Gatti is surprised to see has escaped being built-up and which is positioned at the entrance to the Kic Village, constructed in recent years for the students at the nearby universities of Fudan and Tongji. Since 2005 when the Italian architect transferred part of his professional activities to China he has recurrently been interested in the possibility of designing interstice spaces – as in the case of the In Factory JingAn Six Loft Buildings (2006), where the outside areas of the redevelopment project were treated on a par with a residential and work environment.
An essential element in his designs has always taken account of inter-activity: in this case between the people concerned (their actions and activities) and the influence of natural elements such as weather and sounds.
In this sense the forms and materials used by the architect (ethereal false ceilings constructed with metal wires, curved forms, faceted voluminous shapes, dappled coverings or panelling) vary depending on the project and its scale. Some solutions are used “una tantum” as they are in response to a specific and contextual condition.
This is the case with Kic Park where Francesco Gatti has imagined a pleated wooden floor destined to be suitable for all the functions that are indispensible in a public area (seats, green spaces, pathways, publicity panels …). The image used by the architect to illustrate his idea - that of a sheet of paper cut and folded like a fan – brings to mind the epigenetic description that Deleuze gives of spaces characterized by the use of a fold:
Development and evolution are concepts that have changed their significance, because today they designate epigenesis or the apparition of organisms or organs that are neither pre-formed nor built-in but formed from different objects that do not resemble them […] With epigenesis the organic fold is sought after, produced, and multiplied from a surface that is relatively flat and uniform. *
In this way Gatti, using a generic and characterless basis, has accomplished plastic results that are both individual and original, and has introduced divergent intervals into an area that would otherwise be anonymous - thus enabling people to find their own personal space.
The architect has covered the whole surface with wood, an ideal primitive material that is both flexible and hospitable, that grows old and shows the temporary nature of the operation.
Where the wood rises up, one can see a living underworld made of grass and trees.
The architect in this way has predisposed specific spaces where people can chat together, have a rest, or even go skateboarding. A social carpet that does not exclude the coexistence of aggregation and individualism.