Interview with Roberto Bosi, curator with Mattia Pavarotti of a survey of the most current project culture

The trip to Italy as a theme for reflection and inspiration for art is certainly nothing new. But this time it has a well-defined scope of action and an eye turned exclusively to the contemporary. Thus the Journey to Italy curated by Roberto Bosi and Mattia Pavarotti recounts contemporary architecture along the peninsula in a selection of 20 young studios, for precision with around 10 years of activity behind it and led by architects around 40 years of age. No "classical" suggestions from a less recent contemporary, therefore.

Accompanying us on this journey is the curator Roberto Bosi. Who is an expert in the subject because he is the founder of Proviaggi di Architettura, a first and foremost association now a service company that has accompanied contemporary architecture enthusiasts around the world since 1995.

Since then it has published many themed guides, but Italy does not appear in the catalogue. Thus was born the idea of ​​this exhibition which, as the curator points out, comes after a conference and a book (published by Lettera Ventidue), with the title Viaggio in Italia. Contemporary architecture itineraries.

Let's start from here, I tell our companion, Roberto Bosi, with the journey.

Roberto Bosi: «Travel is the helm of my life and my approach to storytelling. And this trip to Italy aims to be a provocative itinerary into the Italy of today's young people, those who have their hands in the dough and who work a lot."

The activity of these studies is closely linked to participation in public competitions. Is this the hallmark of this generation?

Roberto Bosi: «Yes, it is a very participatory generation. He follows competitions abroad but also in Italy. After the success of the first Europan, a prestigious European competition for young talents, Switzerland has opened its doors to public competitions, then Alto Adige which now makes the competition the only selection tool for architecture, also adopted by private individuals who want to build a villa.

Now competitions are widespread throughout Italy, from north to south, and designers have become super selectors of tenders with interesting themes, adequate juries and serious prizes. The time for competitions of ideas is over, while the practice of public competitions is now a habit".

Another common element is the collective dimension: is the time of personalism, of the architectural firm in the name of the founder, over?

Roberto Bosi: «Currently, firms are almost always collective, with multiple partners coming together, a bit like the old associated firm might have been. However, the common trait today is not so much that of being associated but of expressing a sharing, a way of working together. Everyone does everything, there isn't even a spokesperson."

The installation is also curated by a collective, the one that bears the name Orizzontale, already presented in Lugo with a previous exhibition on the squares. Why did you choose it?

Roberto Bosi: «Above all because the collettivo Orizzontale (read the dedicated article here) plays a key role on the theme of participation and it seemed perfect for staging this narrative. Among other things, there is also one of their projects on display. We also wanted this exhibition to be visited even by non-experts.

This is why we chose to create it with many photos, a few drawings and little material to read as an ephemeral installation and public gathering space, outdoors, open to visitors until midnight and inaugurated on Saturday, Citizens' Day and not the professionals.

To make it even more inclusive we then made sure that it was included in the Romagna in fiore program with a series of musical events in favor of the places affected by the earthquake".

Do the size of the collective, the outdoor setting and inclusiveness as an objective describe a new way of doing architecture?

Roberto Bosi: «Yes. There are very different things on display, there is a liturgical hall, an agricultural shed, a contemporary art gallery, a farmhouse converted into a hospitality space, a funeral home, as well as a pavilion designed for exhibitions temporary events and conferences on the theme of the memory of the mining landscape. And again, libraries, workplaces for artists, residences, offices, schools, all chosen to tell a participatory reality, not very artificial and against fiction".

How did you choose these 19 projects?

Roberto Bosi: «It wasn't easy. I find a certain conformism in the current projects and also in the communication that is made of them: there is a lot of care, perhaps even too much, a very similar way of photographing one's works which does not give reason for the development of the project , while it is perfect for making posts on social media.

We therefore made a choice by sifting through the studios present along the peninsula, aiming for the contents and freshness of the ideas proposed in a high-level production.

A common trait is a particular relationship between inside and outside, between public and private in hybrid and participatory spaces. We had chosen 20, but for a series of reasons the twentieth was unable to participate and we decided not to replace him: for us this is the choice. And it is clear: we curators have the task of reporting the current reality to leave space for those who are designing it."

Is the theme of travel also expressed in the form of an itinerary?

Roberto Bosi: «Not really. But the exhibition will travel: in September it will go to Ferrara where the University has decided to set it up for its public. While we asked the selected designers to indicate their favorite places to think about Italy. The interesting thing is that no architecture was indicated! There are mostly landscapes or ruins… the places of the heart are spaces, squares, nature. And we made a map of it."

Read also: The title of the 2025 Architecture Biennale is Intelligens. Natural. Artificial. Collective.

The theme of the next Architecture Biennial directed by Carlo Ratti has just been made public: Intelligens, which aims to underline the involvement of people in that final part of the word, gens, the people. Do you feel in some way close to this exhibition?

Roberto Bosi: «Given that we need to do intelligent things, with this project we have tried to spread the culture of the project and make it reach everyone, ordinary people, those who send their children to school, more or no matter how beautiful she is, who goes to the post office, to the library.

Here, this trip to Italy wants to be intelligent in the sense of involving everyone, the public, but also associations and inhabitants for a participatory process in the design of public or semi-public buildings. A relational story, based on a critical choice."

Trip to Italy. Itineraries of contemporary architectureexhibits the works of a25architetti, AM3 Architetti Associati, AMAA, ArchisbangAssociates Architecture, BALANCE, BDR bureau, Ciclostile Architettura, DEMOGO, ellevuelle architects, ErranteArchitetture, FONDAMENTA, Messner Architects, MD41, OASI architects, horizontal, studio wok, Supervoid, VG13 Architects.

Courtyard of the Rocca Estense in Lugo, until 23 June