Barcelona Cultura

Environments and Counter Environments. “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”, MoMA 1972


Environments and Counter Environments. "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape", MoMA 1972 is the second temporary exhibition of the LABORATORY OF FABRICATION. Produced by GSAPP Exhibitions at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and first presented at Columbia’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery the adaptation and development of this exhibition is the result of collaboration among the Museum, GSAPP, ViaPiranesi and the exhibition curators, Peter Lang, Luca Molinari and Mark Wasiuta.

Under the direction and curation of Emilio Ambasz the 1972 MoMA show commissioned a series of experimental domestic “environments” and a series of film and media projects by the most vibrant Italian architects and designers of the period: Mario Bellini; Alberto Rosselli; Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper; Joe Colombo; Gae Aulenti; Ettore Sottsass Jr.; Gaetano Pesce; Archizoom; Superstudio; Ugo La Pietra; Gruppo Strum and 9999.

A form of media archeology, Environments and Counter Environments assembles for the first time since 1972 these films and media projects. Long missing, the films were fundamentally important to the MoMA exhibition and to the understanding of its most ambitious and polemical claims. The films were tasked with demonstrating the potential of the environments’ capacity to alter domestic behaviors and with providing a vision of the world in which architecture would no longer be described by fixed objects and isolated elements, but would sponsor new social relations and radical new types of organization, transformation and adaptation.

Environments and Counter Environments returns to the 1972 exhibition, not as a reconstruction, but as an analytical project that attempts to reassess the visionary possibilities of architecture and design suggested by Italy: The New Domestic Landscape. Though domestic in scale the environments were urban in context and potentially revolutionary in terms of social and political practice.

From this standpoint, the exhibition engages once again with these mediatic and environmental strategies and their potential to challenge and rethink the boundaries of architecture and domestic spaces and their conditions and territories. The DHUB adaptation of Environments and Counter Environments comprises four categories of material: digital projections of documentary photographs of the environments installed in the MoMA exhibition and of the introductory, explanatory film written and directed by Emilio Ambasz and screened in the original exhibition; the eight films by the architects and designers who took part in the MoMA show; original collages, drawings, photographs and models from the archives of Gae Aulenti, Joe Colombo, 9999, Ugo La Pietra, Gaetano Pesce, Gruppo Strum and Superstudio documenting the concepts and creative processes of the environments; and archival reproductions of design documents for the MoMA environments by Archizoom, Mario Bellini, Alberto Rosselli, Ettore Sottsass Jr. and Zanuso/Sapper.


Organization and Production: GSAPP, Columbia University and Museu del Disseny de Barcelona (formerly the DHUB-Disseny Hub Barcelona)
Co-ordination of Content: Carlos Ipser
European Co-ordinator: Viapiranesi Srl
Co-ordination museum: Anna Buti, Esperança Codina
Original design of the exhibit: Mark Wasiuta
Adaptation of the design and production of the exhibition: Emiliana Design Studio
Graphic design: Mucho
Photographic reproduction (Arxius CSAC): Laboratori Còpia
Texts: Mark Wasiuta, Luca Molinari, Peter Lang
Translations and corrections: Glòria Bohigas, Graham Thomson
Transport: Gondrand S.p.A.
Insurance: Axa Art, MARSH, S.A.


Mark Wasiuta, Luca Molinari, Peter Lang

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