Fata Morgana

An urban mirage beneath the shade of the sky

Keep a steady foothold on the ground and the head above the clouds, wander in a dreamlike dimension just to find out that, this time, you’re actually experiencing a “daydream”… The key to the whole project are the metaphors of illusion, paradox and incongruence, which are allowed to take place and channelled into a playful and fantastic vision.

An ethereal and strange urban oasis, a playful break in the midst of frenzied city life. For those that accept to believe in it and want to see it, a true urban mirage. It’s a complex of wooden platforms, interlaced or apart from one another, creating a great, fully-furnished stage, to be used all day long, to sit or lay down on, to cross or to “challenge”.

They are mirrored stalls reflecting the sky, fractioning clouds in a series of planes at differing heights; but they are also green pillows, to lay on gazing at the sky, looking beyond the horizon, engulfed in an inebriating mint fragrance. They are benches, laid down like music sheets, spreading throughout the space, composing harmonies -dissonant from time to time- and their staves look like notes, arranged in rhythmical fashion that, sometimes, manage to climb towards the sky.  The theme of paradox comes in the shape of the two great slabs, hovering three meters above the ground, apparently propped in the air just by water jets.

These roofs are actually supported by ladders, using their strong metaphysical appearance to dissimulate their crucial structural role. Right in front of them, a smaller plane contributes in giving and even higher value to its magical look as the smaller, lighter plane actually floats in the air, supported by nothing but intermittent water jets, allowing it to appear and suddenly disappear, to float and then blend back again in the pavement, granting surprised reactions every time.

Seen from a distance, its evanescent and surprising apparent levitation, make the design look like an “urban mirage”: from up close, it’s a great playing space, in which to enjoy shade, fresh air and cool water sprinkles.

In such a kaleidoscopic world, water jets act according to a carefully planned scheme, giving life to a “calendar of nebulized events”: sometimes, they gather together to form almost impenetrable pillars, sometimes they reach different heights, sometimes they are also temporary “water walls” that create a separate room.

Inside this “house under the leaf”, the use becomes ritual, a token to an all-new “method for staying”. Underneath this great roof, shade is assured, dotted by round windows looking straight at the sky.

All the elements described so far – from stairs used as “fantasy exercise machines” to water becoming game/event/building and even structural material, from lights marking the edges of the individual planes, making them “float” in the space, to the cyan colour that gives the installation its distinctive look, enhancing the awkward feeling emanating from it – cooperate in order to lead the spectator through a great “theatre of the absurd”

Others might look at it as a contemporary form of the traditional fountain, its formal values reversed…its “essence”, though, is kept intact despite the transformation, just like its magical role of gathering and perhaps granting our wishes, traditionally trusted to coins, thrown in the water with a little bit of thrill. This ritual is obviously redesigned to work “upside-down”: the coin is now thrown into the air, attracted and captured by an invisible magnetic field and creating, on the underside of the roofing slab, a texture varying both in shape and density.

Those are our dreams, given as gifts to the sky, they are also the dreams of Rome, seemingly floating into thin air, just waiting to fly away…

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