You’d be hard-pressed to find fancy finishes and high-end fixtures in one of Raumlabor's experimental projects; members of the Berlin-based architecture collective thrive when taking on urban transformation and getting their hands dirty with what they call "research-based design." Officina Roma, their latest project, is an upcycled installation that’s part of the Re-cycle show organized by Italy’s National Museum of Twenty-First Century Arts (MAXXI).
The forward-thinking cultural institution sourced the materials--including glass bottles, oil barrels, cabinets, and car doors--in part from their own previous installations and temporary pavilions. “Of course it’s making a statement,” Raumlabor-er Olga Maria Hungar explains to Co.Design. “Considering the waste production of our society, it’s a call for more sustainable strategies for the production of architecture. But working with found materials also means developing dynamic design process by improvising onsite with constantly changing conditions.” The firm envisioned the plans, then enlisted the help of 24 high school students to construct the structure as part of their continuing effort to champion “participative working processes" (the crafty kids finished it in a week).
Through its cobbled-together appearance, the workshop--which also houses bedrooms and a small kitchenette--offers more than just a staid lesson in responsible building. “In a way it is also an aesthetic statement for us. Secondhand materials possess their own beauty, and tell the story of how they were used before,” Hungar says. “Working with recycled materials for the production of architecture leads to multi-layered spaces with surprising narratives.”
Officina Roma will be on display at MAXXI through May 20th, along with site-specific projects by Fernando and Humberto Campana and photographer Pieter Hugo.