agrAir is the name of the installation presented by Piuarch as part of the Inhabits programme of the Milan Design Week 2018, inspired by concreteness of the earth, cultivation practices, but also all those intangible actions which together make up the complexity of living, so as to imagine what life in any urban context should look like in the next few decades.
The underlying concept of the Piuarch project is to outline those values that are able to promote environmental quality through their mutual interaction: lightness, luminosity, careful use of resources and cost-effect6iveness, dissolution of contrasts between interiors and outdoors, between natural and artificial spaces, recovery of green areas and agriculture in the city.
In front of the imposing brickwork mass of Torre del Filarete, in the middle of Piazza Castello, the narration of the main elements has been developed using an installation running along two parallel levels, with continuous connections between them.
The lower section, at ground level, consists of a large clay footboard structured onto a 2.1 x 2.1 m square module: it includes two pedestrian crossings and is almost entirely covered by herbs, alternated with graminaceous plants and based on predefined composition patterns drafted by the designer Cornelius Gavril; the image is that of a botanic garden, a fragment aimed at restoring biodiversity and the concept of agriculture in the heart of the city.
Parallel to the green basement, a multitude of transparent inflatables dances gently, following the movement of the air: it is a cloud of prism-shaped balloons, made of very soft recyclable film and placed on two different levels, three and six metres high; they are held down by nylon threads and their reflections change colour in daytime, when the April light enhances the feeling of the first days of spring weather; at night, on the other hand, artificial lighting further accentuates their evanescent character and turns them into fluctuating lanterns. This ethereal composition is a metaphor of a forest, but also of the city itself, an expression of its identity, versatility, luminosity and lightness.
Finally, between the two horizontal layers, some connections are drawn: the acrylic glass rods are used as support for creepers reaching to the balloons, marking the indissoluble link between natural items and artefacts. This connection should not have clear-cut margins, but rather offer opportunities for ongoing integration, to improve the conditions of living.
In conclusion, agrAir is the conceptual manifesto and the philosophical depiction of the elements and emotions which architecture needs to be able to bring out: with its set of reflections, gentle movements, lights and shadows, fragrances and colours which the visitors will be able to appreciate by walking along the paths marked on the footboard or from the outside, the installation by Piuarch produces a space with impalpable contours, an urban regeneration programme to promote the celebratory and optimistic approach of Fuorisalone.