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De8 Architetti One of the main research themes, brought ahead during the latest years, regards the identification, comprehension and definition of the "landscape-building features".

The firm: “unspecialized architecture”

Mauro Piantelli (1966), Carlo Vailati (1966) e Massimo Bressanelli (1966) graduate at the Polytechnic University in Milan (Italy). Since the early 90’s they start working in Milan (Italy) and establish the De8 architects office. They soon moved the office to Bergamo and in 2008 Cristian Sangaletti (1976), graduated at the Polytechnic University in Milan, becomes associated architect. The Office works both in Italy and abroad, dealing with a wide variety of design themes: urban, residential, commercial, trade, hotels, sports facilities, interior design, retail. In recent years the office was able to verify through the realization of many projects, some research topics addressing environmental sustainability without sacrificing a the use of a contemporary and very personal architectural languages. The ability to perform frequent changes of scale, from urban planning to construction details, along with a deep interest in various architectural themes, has become a prerogative and a hallmark of their professional activities: “unspecialised architecture”. Founding member of “New Italian blood”, the study has been invited to exhibitions and conferences both in Italy and abroad, their projects have been published in numerous architectural magazines. The office currently consists of about twenty young architects, both Italians and foreigners.

One of the main research themes, brought ahead during the latest years, regards the identification, comprehension and definition of the “landscape-building features”, natural or man-made, and more specifically the interrelation between architecture and landscape while defining “place”. What De8 intends as a description of a landscape is very close to a topographic approach, not intended as a “scientific representation, ” of the analysed context but rather as a cartographic-illustrative mapping process typical of a cartographer of the sixteenth century. A very subjective descriptive process that implicates precise discretions of the natural and/or artificial elements to be highlighted. An extremely subjective, but intimate, choice, even distorted, which summarizes the “reproduction” of a place, highlighting it’s “uniqueness”. A diametrically opposite approach to the logics of the contemporary city, characterized by a steady loss of identity, specificity, the contemporary city could be described as “generic city” that progressively has lost it’s context-sensitiveness. Therefore in a time where you can web-surf in a google-made accurately defined topographic and scientific representation of the world, we believe that the promotion of a critical cognitive-based descriptive action is very much needed.

In this sense the projects that we work on are “geographically-modified” topographic projects. Overall sustainability is a key aspect of the project De8. A sustainable approach is not does not, however, legitimate in itself the project. Nowadays many so-called “sustainable” projects are, in fact, low-quality design products, where the bioclimatic-sensitive approach tends to be the main, or the only, principle around which legitimize the entire designing process. This is why always more projects look the same or essentially have a common “style”. Sustainable projects which totally lack in both physical and social context-sensitiveness. We believe, on the contrary, the architectural project is a complex process by which different factors have to find an organic balance without eluding the fundamental relationships with the urban, economic and social factors that define the specific surrounding environments and in which the energy-related studies and solutions are an important, but complementary, part. Usual practice of the office is to search for collaboration and interaction with other designers with an interdisciplinary mindset. The opening of the study to external collaboration is part of a process of densification of experience, changes of scale, heterogeneous design themes and collaboration processes are structuring a precise un-conventional approach to the project. For now we define this strategy as “integrated topography”.

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