Anna Paola Buonanno and Piergiorgio Italiano are the founders of From outer Space (2013), design and research studio (but also the home of the creative duo) with an evocative and decidedly appropriate name. In fact, their projects go beyond the simple definition of “architecture and design”: they explore the spatial implications of economic, social and environmental issues, subsequently translating them into physical and digital spaces, installations, objects and interfaces. (Cover Unità di Produzione. Team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano. Photo Francesca Ferrari)
The studio’s creative process always starts from a shared dialogue (sometimes even beyond working hours) and leaves room for intuition. Using languages and tools borrowed from architecture, design and the visual arts, the designers develop the concept and idea part together, and then devote themselves more personally to the technical side of the project, Piergiorgio, and the editorial and communication side, Anna Paola.
By reading the context, overwriting it, and developing strategies to reduce or reuse resources, the practice aims to establish new levels of knowledge to understand contemporary society. To better explain this transdisciplinary approach that goes beyond the mere end result of the project, we have selected 4 works that can clarify the method and value of the research for From outer Space.
A selection of projects from From outer Space studio
Let’s go in chronological order with a project from 2014:
- Architettura per la campagna (Architecture for the Countryside), an experimental workshop to restore the balance between Man and Nature. Developed as a three-day workshop in the Irpinia countryside, twenty designers were asked to design with a set of essential tools to understand the limits of design outside the urban context, in a totally natural area. The participants had no constraints or specific briefs, the idea was to experiment and be inspired by nature. The results were ten temporary, poetic projects that looked at the landscape, the shape of trees, and the hierarchy of animals. To give an example, during the workshop the designers discovered that the vine plant can grow up to 15/30 metres, its typical height is given by the structures we build for cultivation. For this reason, a temporary staircase was designed that allows the vine to climb in height, an ephemeral action born of research that also restores a poetic value to the project. The workshop was curated by Anna Paola Buonanno and Piergiorgio Italiano, with partners Terranova Agriturismo, Gaia S.S. Agricola, Re.a.l. Falegnameria.
- Unità di Produzione (Production Unit), six design experiments from a potentially infinite collection. In 2018 during Milan Design Week, the studio instead created a spatial installation, Unità di Produzione, at the Park Associati studio. The project investigated the world of contemporary standards and interiors: From outer Space experimented with a series of semi-finished products, transforming them into spatial devices through simple operations of multiplication, cutting, and composition. The installation aimed to ennoble the products and show a possible alternative to designer production. Thus plasterboard panels, plywood, galvanised steel profiles, metal clips and screws become the protagonists of six design experiments in a potentially infinite collection. The project was commissioned by Park Associati at the invitation of Annalisa Rosso. Photography by Francesca Ferrari
- Limited series, Tavolo 2. (Table 2)
Tavolo 2 is the furniture that From outer Space developed for the exhibition Movimento 2 (2020), the group show curated by La Cube and Salvatore Peluso at the Camp Design Gallery. Similarly to the Unità di Produzione project, the studio used semi-finished products: Abet Laminati‘s hybrid panels, Metalleido, consisting of a super-light core of aluminium or fibreglass and intended for use in furniture components, ceiling, wall and floor coverings for the nautical and transport sectors. Challenging the idea of comfort and experimenting with material, Anna Paola and Piergiorgio have developed Tavolo 2, in a limited series of 5 pieces, in which the panel becomes the only material used. Here too we find a project born of research, capable of exploring the possibilities of the material and its cultural meanings. Technical partner: Abet Laminati. Courtesy Camp Design Gallery, photography by Francesca Ferrari
- Exhibition Design for Albe. Lights of Tomorrow / The Lights of Tomorrow, Euroluce – The City of Lights, Salone del Mobile. The exhibition curated by Matteo Pirola was part of a broader cultural programme conceived and directed by Beppe Finessi within the pavilions dedicated to Euroluce and was configured around the presence (or absence) of light and its ability to modify the perception of space. The studio therefore created a path through spaces with different lighting atmospheres, created to enhance the works. The layout was based on the design of a modular system assembled dry – therefore easily stored and reusable – adapted to the standard dimensions of the wooden panels. A solution capable of reducing the material required for the temporary intervention while amplifying its potential. The structure was created with a series of rhythmic frames and filled with two ‘moving’ claddings: capable of revealing the materials used while creating the internal space for the electrical system. An aesthetically simple and clean installation, but with many technical aspects. The project was commissioned by Salone del Mobile.Milano, curated by Matteo Pirola with the historical and scientific research collaboration of Marta Elisa Cecchi, Annalisa Ubaldi. The design team consisted of Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano, Federica Dino, Debora Lombardi with Marta Nobile. Photography by Francesco Paleari
4 projects with a very different scale, from the product to the spatial layout, that show the approach of From outer Space: in all the works we find a very consistent part of research and experimentation that, thanks to an intellectual and creative exchange, is translated to the essential, in the forms, in the aesthetics, in the proposals. A minimal essentiality that, if explored, helps us to better understand the dynamics of contemporary living.
1 – Architettura per la campagna, La vigna infinita. Curated by Anna Paola Buonanno & Piergiorgio Italiano. Partners: Terranova Agriturismo, Gaia S.S. Agricola, Re.a.l. Falegnameria. Photo Piergiorgio Italiano
2 – Installation view: Albe. Luci di domani / The Lights of Tomorrow, Mandalaki, Halo Horizon, 2021. Curated by Matteo Pirola, exhibition design: From outer Space, team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano, Federica Dino, Debora Lombardi con Marta Nobile. Courtesy From outer Space, ph. Francesco Paleari
3 – Architettura per la campagna, Il lessico degli alberi. Curated by Anna Paola Buonanno & Piergiorgio Italiano. Partners: Terranova Agriturismo, Gaia S.S. Agricola, Re.a.l. Falegnameria. Photo Luigi De Feo
4 – Architettura per la campagna, Piramide. Curated by Anna Paola Buonanno & Piergiorgio Italiano. Partners: Terranova Agriturismo, Gaia S.S. Agricola, Re.a.l. Falegnameria. Photo Piergiorgio Italiano
5 – Installation view: Albe. Luci di domani / The Lights of Tomorrow. Curated by Matteo Pirola, exhibition design: From outer Space, team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano, Federica Dino, Debora Lombardi con Marta Nobile. Courtesy From outer Space, ph. Francesco Paleari
6 – Installation view: Albe. Luci di domani / The Lights of Tomorrow. Patrick Tuttofuoco, Space Time (Honolulu), 2019. Curated by Matteo Pirola, exhibition design: From outer Space, team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano, Federica Dino, Debora Lombardi con Marta Nobile. Courtesy From outer Space, ph. Francesco Paleari
7, 8, 9 – Unità di Produzione. Team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano. Photo Francesca Ferrari
10, 11 – Tavolo 2. Team: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano. In collaboration with Abet Laminati and Camp design Gallery. Photo Francesca Ferrari
12 – FOS: Anna Paola Buonanno, Piergiorgio Italiano. Photo Piergiorgio Sorgetti