• La Casa Tappeto
    Giovanni Bellotti, Alessandra Covini and Adelita Husni-Bey
    Fosbury Architecture
    Italian Pavilion, 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
    May 20, 2023 to Nov 26, 2023
    Giovanni Bellotti, Alessandra Covini & Adelita Husni-Bey

Studio Ossidiana, Preparatory drawings of "La Casa Tappeto," 2022. Courtesy the artists

This project considers, how can the concept of “accompaniment” inform architectural practice? And can architects “accompany” their structures beyond their execution to participate deliberately in their use? Accompanying means facilitating the recognition, integration, and care of an object or a relationship. It is a necessarily shared gesture, which aims at a period of interdependence with an end and goals defined in the process. In the architectural context, “accompanying” does not want to establish “correct use,” but rather create the conditions, collaboratively, for the neighborhood to appropriate the structure, recognize, share, and experience it. Commissioned for the Italian Pavilion, 18th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice, La Casa Tappeto is built in conversation with community organizations in the Sicilian Librino, Catania neighborhood. Extending the understanding of when an architect’s work is done, this project seeks to imagine architecture exceeding its discipline to include real, sustained conversation with the users of a structure over time. In this process of learning, architecture becomes a vehicle for meeting the needs of the users over a longer period of “cohabitation” between architects and inhabitants. The collaboration with the community includes not only the structure itself, but also a year-long program of programs, workshops, and events. La Casa Tappeto explores what architect-user solidarity could look like and prompts consideration of expansive methods of collaborative architecture. Ultimately, the project seeks to expand the field of collaborative architecture, through the language of care, to highlight unexplored capacities in the field of designing and using spaces with others.

Studio Ossidiana is an award-winning architectural practice based in Rotterdam led by Giovanni Bellotti and Alessandra Covini. Bellotti and Covini received their architectural training in Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Bellotti received a postgraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in architecture and urbanism and is a Fullbright scholar. Covini was awarded the prestigious Prix Du Rome in 2018. Ossidiana is actively involved locally and globally with sites across the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States, working with an international team of architects, designers, and researchers. The studio’s work has been exhibited in international exhibitions, among others, at the Istanbul Design Biennale (2021), Chicago Architecture Biennale (2021), Rotterdam Architecture Biennale (2022). Studio Ossidiana has worked for UNESCO, the Utrecht, and Schiedam municipalities amongst others. In 2023 they were included in the AD100 Architectural Digest feature and won the Golden Bee award at the 23rd Triennale in Milan, Dutch Pavilion in 2022.

Adelita Husni-Bey is an artist and pedagogue based in New York, who trained in sociology and fine art in Italy and the United Kingdom. She was a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow in 2012. Through years of international practice, Husni-Bey has developed artworks resulting from workshops in a variety of media, including film, architecture, and photography. Her work has been exhibited globally, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2018); Reina Sofia, Madrid (2014); Museum of the Arts of the 21st Century (MAXXI), Rome (2017); and Kunsthall Bergen (2020); as some examples. In 2017, she represented Italy at the Venice Biennale of Art in the Italian Pavilion. As a pedagogue, Husni-Bey has offered workshops, courses and lectured at colleges and universities such as The Cooper Union, The New School, and Fondazione Modena Arti Visive. She recently completed a two-year fellowship with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics (2020–22). Husni-Bey leads the workshops for the Italian Pavilion.

Fosbury Architecture (FA) is a collective founded in 2013. FA is a research group and spatial agency aiming at expanding the boundaries of the discipline, redefining its role, and rethinking its production processes in the perspective of current challenges. The collective has participated in numerous national and international Architecture Biennales, including Lisbon (2019), Versailles (2019), Chicago (2017), and Venice (2016). In addition, FA's work has been exhibited in the group shows Take Your Seat supported by the ADI Design Museum in Milan; The State of the Art of Architecture at the Milan Triennale; Re-Constructivist Architecture at the RIBA Gallery in London; Adhocracy at the Onassis Center in Athens; and Mean Home at the British School in Rome. FA was awarded an honorable mention for the TYoung Prize 2021 and awarded an honorable mention for the Compasso d'Oro 2020. FA is the curatorial collective for the Italian Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice.

Giuliana Gianino trained as a pedagogue and has a degree in Educational Sciences from the University of Catania. From 2005–07 she was a researcher for the Catania area, in the “Aree Metropolitane” Caritas Italiana project—a survey on the state of the suburbs in large Italian cities—in collaboration with Universita’ Cattolica in Milan, department of sociology. Since 2010, Gianino is the president, founding member and coordinator of Talitá Kum. With Talita Kum, Gianino has won prestigious public and private support—such as Fondazione Zeno’s grant which allows the organization to fund its sports program in addition to afterschool programs, parental support, free childcare, and art workshops in Librino. Gianino also continues to work as a secondary school teacher in the public school sector, is a Support Teacher Istituto Marchesi di Masclucia. She is project lead for La Casa Tappeto.

Workshop Collaborators:

Abadir Academy, founded in 1992, is located on the slopes of Mount Etna, and is active on a local, national, and international scale in the training of young people on the disciplines of design and new media. Promoting design as a transformative discipline, capable of triggering change, Abadir is aware of the designer's social responsibility. It offers activities that generate virtuous practices in the area, in the design of material goods, services, and communication.

Founded in Catania in 1973, the Associazione Musicale Etnea (AME) is a historic Italian concert organization. The Association has uninterruptedly staged over 1500 shows since its founding, from ancient music to contemporary musical languages, from world music to electronic music, to contemporary dance and art rock. Great attention is given to "alternative" and less performed repertoires. The organization’s attention for the neighborhood of Librino has deep historical roots and AME seeks to hold regular free outdoor events in the neighborhood.

Briganti is a radical antiracist sports association focused on rugby, established in 2006. Brignati offers recreational spaces to the inhabitants of Librino through lessons and activities from S. Teodoro stadium, which was previously occupied in an act of civil disobedience by the group. The roots of the organization are grounded in offering disenfranchised youth outlets for growth as well as reclaiming public spaces often neglected and abandoned by the city, to give them new life.

Liceo Coretico Musco is a public high school founded in 2015 on the principles of cooperation through the arts, offering three academic specializations: dance, scenography, and new media. The public high school, home to 600 students, is the first in the region to build state of the art recording suites, creative workshops (including 3-D printing, media arts, clay), to highlight art as a career pathway in Librino.

Made in Librino is the “social sewing workshop” initiated through Fontanarossa’s Polo delle Arti initiative with the support of Associazione Musicale Etnea. The workshop provides sewing instruction for local women to develop the craft of sewing under the leadership of stylist and activist Naida Begeta. The aim of the workshop is to provide workplace experience, tools, and social spaces for underemployed low-income women in the Librino neighborhood.

Musicainsieme is a local music association based on the Venezuelan ‘Abreu’ method, and it offers free music lessons and free instruments to the Librino neighborhood for over 13 years. The organization serves 40–50 young musicians in Librino and has given life to a local choir composed of 30–40 voices. Musicainsieme tours nationally and internationally and in collaboration with other local organizations.

Ortigia Sound System (OSS) is an organization focused on the conceptualization, organization, and production of electronic music festivals in Sicily. Through their ten years of experience in the engineering of stages and event design, OSS has gained international prominence, becoming one of the most important music-related realities south of Rome.

Scuola Fontanarossa is a public school system that comprises seven institutes spread across underserved neighborhoods in Catania, including Librino. In 2020, the school fundraised for and opened the Catanese Intercultural Center for Education (Polo Delle Arti)—uniting migrant organizations, the University of Catania, cultural associations, and local not for profits within the newly converted farmhouse in Librino. The center offers a space for workshops, social activities, and progressive pedagogical practice within this systematically neglected neighborhood. Workshops include Terre di Librino (Worlds of Librino), a theater workshop run by Gammazita, a Catanese children’s publishing house, and Dare Voce, a film workshop where teenagers were coached into making their own shorts.