South Face, by Massimo Iosa Ghini

South Face 01

Sustainable but beautiful: this is the goal I have pursued in all of my projects for years. South Face is the outcome of this constant quest for sustainable design that engages with actual production systems found on the market.

An installation designed by Iosa Ghini Associati for the 2009 Interni Design Energies, Milano, ‘South Face’ provides informal, sheltered seating for passers-by. Constructed of an insulated modular wall of hollow panels made from an eco-cement, the façade  of the installation provides some thermal insulation for the small space it encloses – while using the south-facing façade as a ‘vertical garden’, intended to absorb a limited amount of carbon dioxide from the local environment.

South Face 02

The designers make the argument that “sustainability is usually associated with sterile forms in which aesthetics are often overlooked”, and therefore their project aims to “create spectacular aesthetic effects, making sustainability both beautiful and feasible”. While I would say that many sustainable projects are both ‘green’ and ‘beautiful’ [obviously], I think that there remains a need to push this argument that projects aren’t ‘good’ simply because they’re ‘green’. I’m slightly concerned that while sustainability will survive the economic downturn and this apparent current trend against the ‘architecture of excess’, that this new trend isn’t appropriately concerned with aesthetic value. Cameron Sinclair isn’t Mies, arguing for a form-follows-function approach that lends itself to ‘beautiful’ design – rather, we’ve entered into a conversation seemingly built upon the idea that the aesthetics aren’t important, which seems to be little more than an excuse for bad design.

.:some additional technical info -> via Interni Magazine

::images + quoted text provided by Iosa Ghini Associati::

Posted: July 7th, 2009
at 1:29pm by orangemenace

Tagged with , , , ,

Categories: architecture,green arch,installation

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'South Face, by Massimo Iosa Ghini'

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  1. It’s beautiful and the photos are great.. Is it a bit silly though to say that it “provides some thermal insulation for the space it encloses” when two ends of it are completely open? Provides some shelter maybe, but it’s going to be the same temperature in there as it is directly outside.


    9 Jul 09 at 6:30 am


  2. Well…I have no response to that, other than I was being a lemming and regurgitating information that was supplied to me and was also presented elsewhere.

    That said, I’m not sure that it will be the same temperature – on a warm, sunny day it should be cooler under that wall. Yes, that’s because it will be providing shade to a certain amount of the area it covers, but still – cooler nonetheless. The post should describe it in this way, too, probably.


    9 Jul 09 at 9:00 am


  3. Yeah, you’re right, it would provide a sunshade – maybe that was what they meant. Looking at it again, I would wonder about how practical the seating aspect of it is – I assume you’re supposed to sit on either the angle at the inward face of the table\platform, or else the mound-type feature, both of which are outside of the sheltered area under the roof. The channel down the left hand side in between the sloped wall and the end of the table\platform seems a bit awkward – just for people to walk though, I suppose.


    9 Jul 09 at 10:47 am



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