In her MA project called Re-Generated City, Alessia Giardino, explores how pollution and weathering can be manipulated to become part of the surface pattern and texture of buildings, using a combination of textile techniques and nanotechnology, in order to improve and regenerate the city.
Her inspiration for the Re-Generate projects was drawn from the naturally adaptive and responsive characteristics of lichens and coral, which are both bio-indicators and bio-accumulators – in that they absorb nutrients and pollutants from the air and indicate change through visible transformations. She is visually inspired by the structure of these organisms, which draw parallels to lace as a textile reference, and form the basis of her patterns and drawings.
Research into materials and techniques has led her to the process of photocatalysis, which uses UV light to oxidise organic molecule pollutants and odours in the air and convert them into substances such as carbon dioxide and water. This process has been captured through nanotechnology in the form of a photocatalytic paint that can be used to create patterns that are literally activated and ‘designed’ by pollution.
Invisible Graffiti was a project were she left a messages by using photocatalytic spray for stones, metal and masonry. She wanted to be humoristic and denouncing… though provocative. The idea behind this was making a message gradually appear in a very polluted environment, which would bring meaningful information to the citizens.
Natural Footprint was another project in which she was focused on the other characteristic of bioindicators, the “symbiotic relationships” between natural organisms, where one organism lives off another. Similarly on the way pollution or climate change can lead to stress-induced expulsion of layers such as in coral-bleaching, where the colour is lost. She translated this effect for aesthetic architectural applications, combining organic and inorganic materials to create textured surface that change over time.
Intricate patterns of laser-cut wood embossed into concrete start to peel off and decompose due to pollution and weathering, creating shadowy lace-like effects as they distort and bend, until they finally fall off, leaving a permanent trace in the concrete surface. Another way to leave information about the or an environment.
We just highlighted two of Alessia Giardino projects here, but make sure to visit her website to read about all the other projects.