We interviewed Matteo Pettinaroli, the co-founder, together with Irene Bariani, of Needle, a Milanese collective of young professionals who work in particular on public space and participatory design.
Their approach is inspired by the methods of urban acupuncture formulated by the Brazilian architect Jaime Lerner and consists in the creation of small-scale projects with the aim of revitalising not only the area of intervention itself, but also those that surround it. Needle was set up with the aim of carrying out interventions for the regeneration of urban public space that are capable of satisfying the real needs of the inhabitants, and this is why each project is defined in collaboration with municipalities and citizens. It is only through giving local communities a voice that real benefits for the city can be guaranteed.
Needle is a collective created within the Politecnico di Milano and inspired by Jaime Lerner’s Urban Acupuncture. What does this design approach consist of, and what are the main advantages over traditional urban planning?
The idea of Needle originated from an initial study into contemporary urban dynamics: renewed civil activism, an “openness” of Public Administration bodies towards the experimenting of alternative forms of planning and the large quantity of functionless, unused and derelict spaces present in cities. These themes were a starting point for us to begin working in this world, which is complex and full of opportunities and prospects. As early as the 1970s, Jaime Lerner, the mayor of Curitiba (Brazil), proposed a precise and rapid model of urban development that was capable of resolving “missing urban function” though small-scale actions capable of subsequently setting off a virtuous mechanism that revitalises the area. We admired his “experimental” approach and we are trying to put it into practice in the challenges that we are taking on and that, in our opinion, in this period can also enjoy particular attention and a series of “advantageous conditions”. Our focus is therefore on the activation of “virtuous processes” for urban regeneration. As public space is often the focus, we have developed skills that allow us to work directly with the inhabitants and entities in the area, setting up collaborative and inclusive processes that respond to the real needs of those who live or intend to live in these spaces. We then try to translate what we have identified into form, through “light” design or “tactical urbanism”; through incremental planning consisting of simple elements, semi-temporary and low-cost structures, we seek to provide a new sense to a space, overstepping the lengthy timing usually required for an urban project and offering an initial “spark” that can set off a virtuous process.
Can urban lighting be a beneficial form of acupuncture and act positively on the habitability of an area and on the well-being of those who inhabit it?
Light is considered a constructive material of space, and in cases of urban acupuncture its use is particularly important as it can form part of the “simple” actions that can, through a single “sign”, lead to a space being perceived in a different way. In the reactivation of a space, interacting with light allows for the creation of new perceptive and emotive experiences, differentiating, communicating, or allowing for the rediscovery of the context. For example, light and colour alone can be enough to provide new visibility and renewed interest for an anonymous space, whether it be a disused space, a space between buildings, a derelict area or a space to be reinvented. Through these elements and a parallel work of social animation, one can already consider this “urban acupuncture”. Good lighting in a public space marks time and, together with other interventions, can favour collective activity, relationships and behaviour.
Your design approach is based on participatory design and provides for the involvement of the local communities. How important, instead, is collaboration with professionals from other sectors in the defining of a project? Do you consider the figure of a lighting designer to be essential for the success of an intervention of urban regeneration? What are the difficulties that exist in the involvement of this figure?
Considering interventions as developing processes rather than static projects means having to take into consideration many themes - technical, social, economic, maintenance, legislative, relational between public and private sectors, programmatic, etc - that differ significantly from each other. Consequentially, dialogue between various professional figures becomes necessary. As mentioned earlier, light plays an important role in urban regeneration interventions and the figure of the light designer can be a precious resource in making sense of the many possibilities available, in order to make conscious and sustainable choices connected to the location with lighting works that differ from each other from both a technical and perceptive point of view. In a process of urban regeneration, the difficulties in terms of involvement do not concern the figure of the lighting designer in particular, but more in general the identification of the various stages, coordination, and the desire of various figures, such as technicians, citizens, associations, public and private organisations, to collaborate and work towards common goals. It is not easy, but there are already a lot of positive examples. I am convinced that this is the right path to follow, with enthusiasm and commitment.
On 3 and 4 November 2021 we will be at MiCo-Milano Congressi to participate in Architect@Work Milan fair trade, the exclusive event for architects, lighting designers and experts in the sector.
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Cariboni is sponsoring the “Formazione in Luce” courses organised by AIDI (the Italian lighting association) and ASSIL (the Italian association of lighting manufacturers)
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Cariboni Group with its partner SLF takes part in Belektro 2018, proven industry platform for new product launches. Stand 217 - Hall 2.2 at Berlin ExpoCenter City from 6th to 8th November.
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Cariboni Group presented The Geography of light, at Light + Building, the most important event of lighting and smart building held in Frankfurt from March 18th to 23rd.
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A lantern specifically designed to house the LED technology. Colour temperature available: 4000K, 3000K and the new 2200K, the most appropriate colour temperature for old villages, old town and tourist centers that require the replacement of products with traditional high pressure sodium lamp.
Cariboni group with its partner SLF take part in Belektro 2016, proven industry platform for new product launches. Stand 116 - Hall 2.2 at Berlin ExpoCenter City from 11th to 13th October.
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Cariboni group continues its partnership with Energy-Efficient Street Lighting Roadshow, project initiated by dena as part of the campaign for energy efficiency; the third stage is Karlsruhe.
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Cariboni group and Euro-Light together for ŚWIATŁO (Light) 2016, 24th International Fair of Lighting Equipment, from 27th to 29th January 2016, stand D28 - Hall 1, at the Warsaw Centre EXPO XXI, Poland.
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Cariboni group presents Ekleipsis leaflet. The location is the charming former Italcementi cement plant of Alzano Lombardo, the product is Ekleipsis, indirect light luminaire for ceiling, surface, recess, bollard and pole installation.
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Cariboni group takes part in Light Middle East 2015, the most important fair in the Middle East dedicated to Lighting sector, organised by Messe Frankfurt from 6th to 8th October 2015 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
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Cariboni group is "gold sponsor" of the second edition of the International video contest "Riprendi-ti la città, Riprendi la luce" (Retake the city, film the light), a series of short films organized and promoted by the cultural nonprofit AIDI (Italian Lighting Association) in collaboration with the Fondazione Triennale.
Cariboni group took part in Light Middle East 2014, the most important fair in the Middle East dedicated to Lighting sector, organised by Messe Frankfurt from 3rd to 5th November 2014 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Cariboni group sponsored Light Design 2014, organized by ITMO University and Creative Association of Lighting Designers RULD, took place on 9th and 10th October 2014 at ITMO University of St. Petersburg.
Cariboni group took part in Light + Building 2014, the most important International fair dedicated to Lighting, which took place in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) from 30rd March to 4th April 2014.
At Spiga Street, sponsored by the Municipality of Milan Cariboni group switched on permanently the innovative smart city based on the latest "smart lighting" technologies.