Nuit Spéciale - The atelier exhibited at school

/ Nuit Spéciale

Incompiuto Siciliano.
Re-visiting the Sicilian Incomplete, Giarre, Sicily.
Semestre 5 – Atelier Edouard Cabay assisted by Constance Meunier


Re– refers to the ambition of the course to work from an existing environment, may it be buildings, structures, infrastructures, urban plans and to re-think their very existence, re-adapt them to new uses, re-trofit to new conditions, re-visit their architecture.

The atelier develops a process-based approach to design which unfolds from the creation of cartographical catalogues of the physical context in order to reveal emergent organizational patterns and to create new opportunities for design. 

The atelier relies on drawing and mapping as exploration tools to activate a generative design process. Catalogues of cartography from uncharted information of a context, are thoroughly developed by means of parametric design techniques. The investigation of this methodology leads us to explore new grounds for unpredictable opportunities and unseen characteristics, triggering novelty in the reading of space. Repetitive graphical translation of maps enables the emergence of new material and organizational patterns creating an exploitable transitions between mapping and design. 

Uncharted Cartography

“What about confusing clutter? Information overload? Doesn't data have to be "boiled down" and "simplified"? These common questions miss the point, for the quantity of detail is an issue completely separate from the difficulty of reading. Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.”
Edward R. TufteEnvisioning Information

The studio started its investigation with the elaboration of cartography that attempts to depict usually unobserved phenomena’s. Amongst others, the movement of pigeons, the location of cigarette butts or the displacement of chairs are some of the clues that one can examine to detect patterns of occupation of an open space. The Jardins du Luxembourg was physically scrutinised by the students during several days, carefully mapping events and translating them to quantitative information organised on the flat space of the page. With an emphasis on the nature of the graphical code, all maps went through several phases of notational translation to reveal once non-evident patterns of use of the gardens.

Re-visiting the Sicilian Incomplete

The Campo di Polo of Giarre, on the slopes of the Etna, is an abandoned infrastructure which destiny was, paradoxically, to not being used. At the center of a political manipulation intended to create employment and vote, its construction was carefully calibrated to remain incomplete. Today, these 27.000 tons of concrete rest unused within the rural Sicilian landscape.

The ambition of the Atelier is to question the very nature of existence of the infrastructure attempting to propose new pragmatic scenarios that arises form inherent quality of the construction itself. Once again, cartography is at the basis of a bottom-up process searching to depict characteristics of materiality, spatial occupation or energetic behavior.

The projects that are featured in this exhibition are as many courageous speculations on how to use a spatial support in a way in which it was not envisioned at its origin. They address the necessity to reconsider our built environment and the very notion of its use.    

With special thanks to:

Andrea Masu, Jose Sorbello, Andrea di Stefano, Leonard Gallegos, Brice Maurin, Alexandre Dubord, Emilien Deloche, Christian Delecluze, Yasmine Abbas, Maria Martinez Gragera, Nathalie Rosenzwaig, Dieter Dietz, Teresa Cheung, Emmanuelle Chiappone, Marie-Hellene Fabre, Cedric Libert, Michel da Costa Goncalvez, Louis de Funes.