Cameron Germond, Roger Williams University
ISI Florence Fall 2017
Advanced Topical Design Studio: Urban – Prof. Carlo Achilli

The overhead screen read 240 KPH as our train wafted effortlessly through the idyllic Italian countryside. Plunging in and out of darkness we sliced our way through the Florentine hills, leaving behind the undulating Tuscan region. Guided by professor Carlo Achilli and Daniela Sinicropi, our Roger William’s Studio group followed the Apennine range northward towards Bologna to attend Cersaie, a renowned interior design and ceramic exhibition, for a site visit that would differ greatly from our past experiences.

After arriving at the main station in Bologna (and swift paced jog to across the street) we caught a bus that would soon drop us off outside the main exhibition gates. The ride, however, afforded us the opportunity to glimpse important architectural precedents like the Zacchiroli towers, historic and modern interpretations of Bologna’s famed porticos, as well as contemporary suburban designs derived from the region’s vernacular architecture.

 

 

With official passes draped around our necks we followed the red carpet through the main entrance and upwards towards the Gallerie dell’Architettura to attend a conference titled ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’. Once inside, our studio group was given the opportunity to listen to Sean Godsell, an Australian architect known for his interpretation of European modernism and double skinned façades. Godsell provided an overview of his career and design interventions, including several residential projects and the Design Hub at RMIT – a distinguished design and research university in Melbourne. Furthermore, Godsell’s presentation provided insight into the importance of operable design elements and “future proof” architecture that adapts to changes in technology and sustainable design.

After the presentation we eagerly filed back downstairs to explore some of the interior design displays that we had seen upon arrival. Each isle showcased the latest technology, material and designs from companies across the globe. Countless hours could be spent wandering through the vast pavilions.

With our train due to depart, a little more running ensured that we would make it to back the train station on time and that gelato had not yet gotten the best of our physique. After only half an hour our train had whisked us back to the Santa Maria Novella station, where we could discuss our experience as well as next weekend’s endeavors under Giovanni Michelucci’s cascading glass canopy.