The Avignon Festival is the most important theatrical event in European culture; its “off” part is open to any company and invades the streets and squares of the city, focusing on sharing experiences and differences.
Precisely with the aim of making this sharing “physically” possible, Aterlier(s) Alfonso Femia redesigned Villa Créative in Avignon, grafting the intervention into the historic building Villa Supramuros, characterized by the typical features of 18th-century architecture.
The project involves the construction of auditoriums and conference rooms, living labs, coworking areas, training centers, an audio-visual training and research hub, and an innovative Digital Garden that will cover an area of 4 thousand square meters organized into four thematic macro-areas: Conviviality and Dissemination, Coworking, Digital Audiovisual Platform, and Continuing Education. These will not be separate elements, but an interconnected spatial system governed by the cultural and technological interdependence of functions.
In a spontaneous process of reception and fruition, on the ground floor, auditorium, living lab, coworking are the areas immediately accessible to the casual or regular general public. On the same floor, there are technical and logistic spaces, while the upper floors are available to regular and professional users.
A centerpiece of the project is the digital audiovisual area in the west wing of the building; on the other hand, the Lifelong Learning division will find space in the east wing of the building and will be autonomous, with a dedicated entrance.
The experience inside Ville Créative is conceived as a real journey that moves from the monumental staircase to the passage on the southern front and the parking lot on the northern front.
In addition, the Digital Garden, outside the structure, is a creative dimension that encourages, through the architecture and design of the space, the circulation of knowledge and the sharing of technologies. Transition, sociality, and encounter are the functions it will host and enhance, in addition to being future setting for major events such as the Thinking Workshops that will enliven the Avignon festival. So, architecture and landscape come together in a scenario where the centuries-old trees represent the identity of the environment.
Alfonso Femia concludes:
“The terms of innovation are changing. Until recently, the physicality of places determined social cohesion or dysfunctionality. Today the spontaneous tension to aggregation and sharing produces a social impact architecture in a technological key. Villa Créative is, in this sense, a paradigmatic example of design that looks to the future.”