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Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri MA History and Critical Thinking, February 2014 María José Orihuela

Description I: Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro From the name ‘Pizza Pomodoro’ to its celebrated motto ‘Expect the Unexpected’, everything in this Knightsbridge restaurant seems to be so boringly cliché and ordinary that the act of writing about it is in the highest risk of becoming so too. Green playful letters on top of a bright red tomato is as sophisticated as the brand image has gone so far, but it is seemingly unimportant to the hundreds of celebrities that have linked their image to the place. Past its threshold there is a world that has not changed spirit, image or smells in the last 35 years. The latter –the scent of the place– could be described as a gentle blend of garlic, semolina and rockabilly with a little touch of granny­ness. The ambience, regardless of the nordic or minimalist current trends of interior design, is dominated by simultaneous abundances: every centimeter of the surface of the inner walls of Pizza Pomodoro is covered in cheap framed photographs of those who have visited the restaurant and met the unique personage of Ciro Orsini, the author of this playful masquerade. As the photographs, pizzas have vip signatures and, surprisingly enough, it does not deprive the product from an above­average quality. He succeeded in creating a delicate balance between background music and a rock venue, where live bands perform classics of soul, dance and ‘gypsy king’ style. Depending on the day, the live band can be ordinary, really good or glorious –Stevie Wonder himself is listed among past performers. Ciro brought to London the spirit of Naples, meaning not only its cuisine, but its festive soirées with live music that end up with guests abandoning the tables and onto the dancefloor.


Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri MA History and Critical Thinking February 2014 MarĂ­a JosĂŠ Orihuela Description II


Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri MA History and Critical Thinking, February 2014 María José Orihuela

THE YOUNG VIC THEATRE [controversy: prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion]

Controversy no. 1 | Money Cost according to the architect’s website: 6.9M £ Cost according to ‘The business of shows,’ an article published in ‘The Financial Times’, February 2007: 12.4M £ Controversy no. 2 | Author If we were to accept that in the Young Vic every design decision is a necessary one; if we could welcome the idea that every material is as honest as presented and if we were able to picture the circulation and the growth of the building as exclusively orchestrated by organic, natural spontaneity; we would have to face a seemingly unsolvable question: who is going to write and pronounce the discourses for the 10 award-ceremonies that Young Vic is expected to attend? Shamelessly stripped bare from artifice, the walls of the Controversy no. 3 | Location As a part of its constitutive formation Its intimate auditorium, built cheaply with a rough, light-industrial feel, created in concrete a dream of the inclusive, class-free society to which its originators aspired.


Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri MA History and Critical Thinking, February 2014 María José Orihuela Translation: Chart for automatic speech in architecture [Spanish > English]

B

A

C

D

F

G

E

1

the epithelial

texture

of the building,

manifests

a tangibly

complex

space.

2 3

the modal the pertinent

treatment materiality

of the environment, of the image,

expresses exhibits

a peremptory an unmistakably

deep plastic

volume. aspect.

4 5

the lineal the intrinsic

visualization reading

of the function, of the design,

provides proposes

a mistakably a superficially

composed ephemeral

stratum. strategy.

6 7

the ulterior the structural

philosophy idea

of the proposal, of the ictus,

holds implies

a voluntarily an intentionally

macroscopic structure. continuous construction.

8 9

the interior the tonal

clarity assembly

of the solution, of the lineament,

entails delimits

a maturely an intimately

relative disposition. metaphisical rhythm.

10 11

the instrumental the ambiental

concatenation ambivalence

of the making, of the corpus,

points out organizes

a generically a specifically

oblique inmaterial

modulation. order.

12 13

the tipological the topological

scale harmony

of the civery, of the facade,

mirrors flaunts

a faintly a strongly

twinning geometrical

body. expression.

14 15

the logical the intimist

character memory

of the section, of the skin,

discovers hides

a “balanced-ly” an evidently

topical idealistic

finish. coldness.

16 17

the prosaic the epistemological

figuration vision

of the block, of the elevation,

shows indicates

a certainly a “veiled-ly”

abstract ficticious

warmth. tempo.

18 19

the phenomenological conception the ideal overlapping

of the material, of the colour,

presents registers

a subtly a gradually

utopian realistic

vibration. symmetry.

20

the rational

of the form,

reveals

an intensely

chimeric

impulse.

composition

The intrinsic ambivalence of the design, entails a tangibly complex disposition. The interior clarity of the solution, mirrors an intensely utopian vibration. The prosaic character of the form, reveals an evidently ephemeral strategy. The rational conception of the facade, mnifests an intentionally geometrical rhythm.


Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri MA History and Critical Thinking, February 2014 María José Orihuela

Asian After Party: On ‘Singapore Songlines’ by Rem Koolhaas

From a Western standpoint, Rem Koolhaas seeks the origins and ideologies beyond the built paradigm of asiatic development; the town-island of Singapore. He examines how ideas that were originally theorized in the West or at least in Western schools –such as the ring-city, the tabula rasa or the metabolist architecture– can find their most faithful realization when married to the asian anxiety for rapid modernization. Singapore is here presented as made possible by the cold pragmatism, the unscrupulous approach and the voluntary ignorance of genuinely Western frictions –like a respectful concern for history or for careful research before action, together with a natural aberration for an excess of authoritarianism. Managed by a regime that has excluded accident and randomness, Singapore wants to be a model for the Asian City of Tomorrow, paradoxically enough, by making use of an old Confucian agenda. Thus, plans are unveiled too late to allow public participation, because “the people can be made to follow a path but not to understand it.” The new urban development is a compilation of architectural doctrines of the sixties, filled of questionable masterpieces, obsessed with connections, proclaiming the end of modernism by the rupture of its white box, opening the way to megastructures. Overall, ‘Singapore Songlines’ delivers an interesting account of how a number of paradoxes are not a burden to the operativity of a masterplan, if and only if enough forces are involved. If we follow the text, Singapore is a must-know as a phenomenon and a must-avoid as an example. Being a text by Koolhaas, it unavoidable to come across some prophetic-apocalyptic declarations, like the claim that it is the first time in 3000 years that architecture has a non-white avant-garde, as if the concept could be extrapolated in such an anachronistic way, or as if it could be considered as an exclusively architectural incident. Or the assertion that Singapore is “modernization in its pure form” which is an extremely difficult one to consider seriously, let alone to prove.


Design by Words Laboratory with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri