Organic materials, the result of long experimentation, are used in the most demanding urban challenges: as in a mending project between the sea and the city, divided by half a century of construction. A research approach that Italy will show to the world at Expo Dubai 2020

In some games, everything is played in one meter and twenty. This is enough to make beauty invisible and to mask it with chaos. Let's take Cattolica and its Lungomare di Levante, a piece of Italian history nestled between two different geographies that find the meeting point here: the beginning of the Po Valley and the end of the Apennines, the sunset over the Adriatic and the hand of the 'man who, from the end of the nineteenth century, began to dot the beach of the first wooden huts, the bathing establishments that, the following century, would become, with the economic boom, one of the favorite holiday destinations along the Romagna Riviera, in in turn became another Italian myth of well-being.

However, something goes wrong with development: second homes, hotels and pensions begin to colonize the coast, splitting the ecosystem, both natural and urban: "On the one hand, the world of the beach that blooms only in summer, made of sun, nature, sand, full of life and the shouting of tourists and animated by the variety of people who have made the Riviera Romagnola famous in Italy and beyond the Alps, creating a stereotype of a carefree life ", says Amleto Picerno Ceraso of Medaarch, the studio of architecture that is redesigning the Lungomare Levante, “on the other hand the model of the city that has grown in the offer of hospitality but not in the infrastructures at its service. An urban model overwhelmed by the boom in second homes that has never found the time to rethink itself from within, passing from one make-up to another of squares, streets and hotels."

Two worlds, explains the architect, divided by just one meter and twenty centimeters, "or the level that separates the Rasi-Spinelli promenade from the bathing area that gives access to the beach. A small but emblematic difference in altitude in its split. A shear that on the one hand does not allow a full view of the horizon and on the other does not allow nature to be present and excel over the city ".

It is then that an architectural project becomes, half a century later, the opportunity and the key to heal the wounds and try to regain the lost balance, in the wake of a long Italian tradition that combines design, ethics and, ultimately, sustainability. "The idea is to create a transition ecosystem, a diaphragm where the two separate worlds return to dialogue, sometimes proposing natural arguments, sometimes creating artificial views to enjoy the most beautiful sunset on the Adriatic. A negotiation between complex systems, natural and anthropic, digital and sustainable, innovative and slow, which Medaarch tries to introduce into all its projects and which here serves to make two parts of the city that no longer interact ”.

Medaarch's challenge for Cattolica is all the more exemplary because it becomes an opportunity to inject technology and sustainability into a project that could become the pilot of similar operations throughout the Adriatic. How the Italian Pavilion will do at the next Expo 2020 Dubai based on a project by Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria and with the concept design by Davide Rampello, born to be a tale of the infinite possibilities that new sustainable materials now offer to design and architecture and that ask for nothing more than to be employed.

Thus, one of the most interesting materials chosen for the new Lungomare is composed of raw wood flour and a polyolefin and ecological plastic component: "The GreenWood that will cover part of the promenade at the beach level and the accesses to it gives great advantages" explains Picerno Ceraso, “does not degrade as quickly as wood and is increasingly used in projects with a very low ecological footprint. In the same way, we have foreseen the use of bio materials tested within Biologic, the first bio fablab in southern Italy promoted by Medaarch and the Knowledge4 Business which is developing a completely eco-sustainable material to be used in architecture and design. for the realization of supplies or bio coatings. Skobyskin, the bacterial no-cellulose produced by fermentation processes of the waste from the agrifood and wine production chain, is a biofilm that can be easily addressed in its growth and shape ".

This technology has two years of research behind it and is purely biological, because it uses a metabolic process of microorganisms. "The goal", explains the architect, "is the paradigm change of the manufacturing production system: we still work and assemble the components, for example, of a chair. From now on we will make them grow, making them take on shapes and characteristics designed by designers and biologists ". The result will be visible in this project that gives meaning to the waterfront and organizes it as a livable square for everyone, citizens and tourists, with areas for sport and well-being. To live like half a century ago.