Matter transforms. It changes shapes. It changes condition. And it gives life to so many types of substances. The installation by Materia is encouraging reflection, listening, and self-reflection. INTERNA-MENTE is an immersive installation that takes the visitor into a new world where perspectives multiply thanks to a game of reflections.
INTERNA-MENTE is a place outside of space and time. It is a way to communicate with our inner selves. Luigi Ciuffreda and Tiziano Guardini from GUARDINICIUFFREDA studio explain that in order to create it they had to ask themselves a number of questions such as “What is inside and what is outside? What is interior space? Is there a temporal transition between different worlds?” And once they started answering these questions they started achieving results in the form of kaleidoscopic architecture. Furthermore, their answers led them to design a space in which encountering a golden face seems like a trip into the future.
Luigi Ciuffreda is an architect specializing in museography and exhibition design for cultural heritage and the director of the Interior and Product Design department at Raffles Milano. Tiziano Guardini is a fashion designers’ expert in sustainability and director of the Fashion and Business master’s program at Raffles Milano. Together they have founded GUARDINICIUFFREDA Studio.
The creation of INTERNA-MENTE according to Ciuffreda and Guardini aimed at establishing an emotional bubble involving all the senses in a fluctuating and ever-changing space. The studio focused on the alchemical ability to transform materials in different ways and explored the properties of the different materials.
“The material used to create the face is a compostable bio-polystyrene sculpted by a mechanical arm and fully metalized with pure brass. The waves are sculpted by the same process as the face and metalized with zinc,” explain Ciuffreda and Guardini. An electric arc gun melts wires of pure metal micronizing them and projecting them at high speed as tiny particles onto the surface to be coated. The metal particles immediately adhere to a pre-treated surface and quickly cool, thus preserving the material and coating even its finest details. It is an extremely versatile process that ennobles even the simplest and seemingly poorest materials, following geometries and enhancing textures or, in other cases, smoothing and homogenizing even the most rough, uneven surfaces. The metal can then be further treated.
“We are proud to have seen the visitors’ reactions of surprise, emotion, giddiness, or even fear. We had the tangible perception of turning an idea into an emotional project,” elaborate Ciuffreda and Guardini. The visitors have the chance to travel through space. Upon entering they discover an intimate dimension and encounter the mysterious face. It reveals the transformative abilities of Materica.
But there was a challenge that the designers had to tackle in order to complete the installation. It was in fact using Materica’s metal finishes in a new, emotional, and poetic way. “Each metal has a color, a strength, an identity that suggests different worlds,” conclude Ciuffreda and Guardini. They also explained that metal is a living material that oxidizes to the touch of visitors and changes over time. Their main goal was to emphasize precisely these qualities with the installation.