Nichelino Base Alpha
The project arose from field research carried out by Elena Greco in Nichelino, a town in the Turin Metropolitan Area. It lay within the framework of "situa.to", an artistic training and production programme curated by a.titolo and Maurizio Cilli, on the occasion of Torino European Youth Capital 2010. Reflections on the livableness of public spaces that emerged from the research were developed through a process of listening and design elaboration carried out with some twenty young inhabitants of the Castello district. This process, shared with "Eco e Narciso", the Province of Turin's public art programme, lead to commissioning unconventional furniture for the green area in front of the social Meeting Centre building, entrusted to artist and designer Martino Gamper.
Martino Gamper's work lies between art and design, with a particular emphasis on social aspects. By transforming objects and recycling furniture, Gamper has created a particular and dissonant family of objects: behind each of them lies a story telling of materials, techniques, people and places. At Nichelino, he held two workshops with the young people of the Castello district. Using discarded materials and street signs no longer meeting regulations, stored in the municipal warehouses, Gamper made a tree sculpture and a series of seats – seven concrete spheres, a rocking chair and a bench – with the collaboration of AUT Design Collective and local artisans and companies. At the invitation of the patrons, part of the furniture was decorated by the writer Chiuto. The actions and objects that took shape in this project respond to the social demands for "micro-utopias", mentioned by Carol Becker in her latest research, which do not promise to stimulate lasting change, but facilitate a civic process and citizens' increased trust in possible change.
Martino Gamper (Merano, Italy, 1971) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and at the Royal College of Arts in London, where he lives. Since 2000 he has devised and produced a wide range of objects, including limited editions, semi-industrial productions and site-specific installations. His best-known projects include "100 Chairs in 100 Days"; this comprises a hundred salvaged chairs that were disassembled and reassembled in new combinations. He has worked in the public realm with designs for London's Design Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum, the Yerba Buena Centre in San Francisco, and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. His most recent commissions include designing the street furniture for the Park-to-Park connection from Victoria Park to the Olympic Park in London.