African Design Magazine May 2016 - Page 34

A COURTYAR Award-winning African-born architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has created a stone and wood pavilion encircled by wild grasses in the Palazzo Litta, a historic palace in Milan. Taking cues from the social and spatial dynamics of a typical African village, the Courtyard Village aims to carve paths for social encounter and gathering among visitors. D efining this communal ground is an elevated platform surrounded by a ground cover of native Italian grasses. Atop the platform stand three open, circular shelters made of stone, whose shaping and materiality dually express a sense of transparency and mass. Overhead, a singular over-hanging roof of bamboo protects and shades the village community below. The installation features the first chair designed by Kéré. Labelled ZIBA, the piece references traditional African stools that are shaped by carving solid logs with handmade tools. The ZIBA stool, made of scented cedar, reinterprets this process using an advanced digital technology. The name of the stool refers to a playful Burkinabé expression that discourages idleness. The piece was designed by Kéré for Riva1920, the Italian brand specializing in solid wood furniture. The Italian company Casone produced the pavilion’s stonework, which conveys a sense of lightness and transparency. “In search of the ideal expression of material, the close collaboration between Casone and Diébédo Francis Kéré aims to reinterpret the most primitive construction method, piling stones, in an innovative and audacious way,” said the team. Six stone varieties were used in the pavilion surrounding cityscape. The renowned landscape company Euroambiente supplied the pavilion’ Encompassing 500m2, the courtyard sits at the heart of the Baroque-style Palazzo Litta. Former 34 Photography by Piercarlo Quecchia/Giova