Like the nature of fashion production, this project is armed with a paradoxical ambition - to create a centripetal spectacle among its neighbouring industrial landscape. Masque reduces architectural form to a minimal mask - an industrial outer garment for the fertile breeding ground of fashion production. Both the theatrical spectacle and a blank slate, the mask is a surface upon which the audience can project. With instances where the old Centergross reveal itself, the existing modernist structure is celebrated and historicised against the blank slate - the agent provocateur that attracts attention to the otherwise homogenous banal architecture.
If fashion is a continuous process, same goes to its education. Not only does the polycarbonate envelope unifies Centergross as a container for programme, it also utilises the formerly underused basement as education facilities. From drafting rooms, tailoring workshop, robot treadmills and catwalk rehearsals, the production line of fashion is constantly being re-configured and interacted with professionals above. When the experiments reaches its completion, they will be showcased in runways or exhibitions in the new Entrance Building.
The new building is a highly flexible polyvalent stage set. e hall is divided up by 10 parallel rows of concrete columns and steel truss beams by a 6m x 12m grid similar to the rest of the building. Like sculptures floating in space, the hall retains the existing ramps, staircores and entrances as memories of the old Centergross. Services, stairs, mechanical ducts and lifts are located in the former structure, leaving the rest of the space free for ephemeral plug-in components wherever needed.
This is the future of fashion. It should be determined by designers like a swarm in a meteorological system: elusive, unstable, indeterminate and unknowable in advance - architecture only being its space-time matrix.
Centergross, Bologna, Italy
Competition | Finalist
Lacaton & Vassal
1 Fashion is not a product. It is a continuous process and performance.
4 Enclosures are moulds in architecture,
Fashion is a modulation of the body - a continuous cosmetic evolution.
5 Masque is a projection of a mystical envelope;
an introjection of a social imagination.
2 Instead of being embodied in a structure,
the experiments in "fast fashion" should be codified and become free-floating,