Micromegàsuoni aims to rediscover places belonging to us but that are normally perceived as far away, renewing people’s curiosity toward our surrounding environment.
The idea is a response to the restrictions imposed by authorities to tackle the ongoing global pandemic crisis, that has been forcing most of us to stay at home and to adapt to a new lifestyle, allowing us to re-discover or – for most of us- to discover ex-novo the places and the local attractions outside the day-to-day routine.
The crowded trails have become a real trend, that has also warned and concerned all those local associations normally looking after the management of the parks and the paths in the green suburbs around the main cities. Most of the trails spread outside of the major urban areas within small country towns, that weren’t prepared to deal with the large crowds of visitors from the city in search of a recreational activity allowed under the exceptional pandemic restrictions.
The limitation of the freedom of movement has caused many citizens to re-discover and to appreciate the local natural attractions such as parks and trails, that have been long forgotten, traded for cheap mass tourism destinations abroad or other kinds of commercial recreations in the cities.
How might we maintain and strengthen this relationship between nature and the cities when the restrictions will be eased?
How might we connect the forest to thecity?
How can people get to know what a forest is and what it could offer us?
Beyond the traditional map showing the trails or the park’s brochure, how can we communicate the concept of “experiencing” the forest?
We have gathered our thoughts on these doubts and we propose a project for a shared journey from the forest to the city and vice versa, that has as a final result the creation of a “totem”: a figurative representation of activity or feature of the natural environment, such as the deer’s bellow in the autumnal season.
The installation, site-specific and considerate of the surrounding places, casts a new familiar light over places that were normally considered strange and far away.
The work is realised with two identical totems placed in antipodal locations: the city and the forest.
The first step consists of the collective construction of the pair of elements that will be assembled directly in place. The totem in the natural environment is set in a favourable position to enjoy the surrounding noise of the forest, amplified by the shape of the artifact that is acting as a sort of resonance chamber. The totem can be used as a temporary shelter or just for a quick rest while enjoying the forest in dolby surround. The sounds converged into the forest cone are recorded and reproduced by the urban totem installed in the city that is working as a speaker cone to amplify the forest.
The pair of artifacts creates a bi-directional connection between nature and city: a portal through which the stranger forest life is transferred to a more familiar environment, to reinforce a finally recovered relationship.
The shape has been defined by translating the need of a physical link between forest and citizen into a form that resembles a communication medium. Fascinated by the idea of reproducing the forest natural sounds into a man-made environment as the city, our design process focussed on shapes with an immediate connection to objects belonging to the field of the acoustic, as megaphones and speakers. The conical volume of these objects – that is often pushed by sound engineers to follow complicated geometry derived by mathematical functions – lends itself to reproduction on a larger scale, originating harmonious, rational, and performant shapes.
The structure is made of a series of longitudinal curved wooden beams, interconnected through polygonal diaphragms installed at a constant spacing and with increasing size moving toward the open end of the totem. The diaphragms and beams form the 3D skeleton of the artifact, which will be cladded with thin plywood sheathing.
Both the frame and the cladding are made with wood, in harmony with the forest environment and in line with the necessity of sustainable architectures in the urban environment. The wood is a versatile and strong material, that can be easily taken apart, moved, and re-assembled in a different context.
The internal surface of the forest totem is painted in a bright red, the same tone is used for the external surface of the urban totem. The colour, openly in contrast with the typical colour palette of a forest, symbolises the artificiality of the cities we live in and it gives a clear orientation to the artifact.
The installation in its entirety gives birth to a safe space where is possible to rest and be surrounded by the forest or to experience it from far away.
Micromegàsuoni and its artistic work has been published in the book "Superblast" by NERO EDIZIONI (November 2021) in a dedicated chapter.