The collaboration rooms in CASA di BELMONDO were created in the 2019 edition of Crossings Belmonte, a research and education project of the cultural association Le Seppie, together with the Italian architect collective orizzontale and The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass), and the local cultural association Ex Convento.
Le Seppie is a cultural association founded in 2016 that explores research, design, technology and teaching as tools to improve the cultural fabric, promote social integration and foster general development in and around the town of Amantea and the village of Belmonte Calabro in South Italy.
In collaborations with professionals, students, locals and refugees Le Seppie host workshops and events exploring the narratives created by migration and what it means to be local.
In 2017, The Cass started an academic research project on Belmonte Calabro, entitled Crossing Cultures, focusing on the issue of depopulation and new immigration which lead to a partnership between London Metropolitan University and the Municipality of Belmonte Calabro. This collaboration has started to expand, for instance, the summer workshop in 2019 was joined by a researcher of Wellbeing and Mental Health, opening up new fields of inter-disciplinary research, involving City University and University of Warwick.
The 2019 edition of Crossings marked the initiation of Casa di Belmondo as a permanent location for the work of Le Seppie in the formerly uninhabited Casa delle Monache, and the creation of the collaboration rooms as the first part of the collective reconditioning of a formerly domicile for nuns. The project was developed together with several experts in the fields of communication, marketing, art, music, design and theatre, but also students and professors of art and architecture, migrants, local stakeholders and citizens.
A first week of work developed and defined a strategic vision of the future development of Belmonte Calabro around the construction of a new space to host the activities of the new temporary community that joined and will join the permanent one.
With minimal architectural interventions based on the construction of wood and travertine floors, as well as mobile furniture, the first floor of the building was transformed into a factory of ideas, research and experimentation. The main theme of the project hovers around the concept of “collaborative rooms”, a term most commonly known from cooperative office settings as spaces to seclude, regroup and generate ideas. The reconstruction project of Casa di Belmondo is a continuous project and will return in the coming years to be enriched with the experience of using this built environment. The project is open to all, it is set to be part of the permanent urban surrounding of cultural, artistic and social activities, and part of a non-conventional education programme.
Next to the construction of the collaboration rooms a series of workshops was held tackling the non-spatial aspects of social coexistence. The Italian artist Barbara Cammarata led a project creating a tapestry reading the words: “Give me your roots” representing the integration of moments of active and passive involvement in the socio-cultural fabric.
Further the zine INK 36 was created as a tool to mediate ideas and concepts, and as a new strategy to communicate and detail the existing reality and to define a new revolutionary one. It is a container for free expression of ideas, research, experimentation and transmission of diversity and the richness of circular cultural value.
The training project of Le Seppie aims at a longer-term plan to describe the village as “living architecture”, a set of places that can welcome the unexpected and offer free spaces, integrated through unscheduled use, as well as allowing communities to appropriate these spaces according to their collective needs.
A need was met in a new home, a physical place where one can recognise oneself in a new identity. Tired of the known we look for a new Belmonte; imagining possible futures, we created Belmondo.
workshp, interior design
Associazione Culturale "Le Seppie"
“Le Seppie”, Reem Bou Hamdan, Hannah Glaser, Armando Perna
Associazione Culturale “Le Seppie”, “The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design” Metropolitan University di Londra, Associazione Culturale “Ex-Convento”, Comune di Belmonte Calabro, Biblioteca Comunale di Belmonte Calabro, Sprar San Pietro in Amantea, Wellbeing and Mental Health, City University and University of Warwick, Silvia Gin antropologa, Barbara Cammarata artista, Landscape in Progress - Laboratorio presso il Dipartimento di Architettura e Territorio dell’ Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria con la professoressa Marina Tornatora e il professore Ottavio Amaro, Cooperativa Sociale “Il Delfino”, Luigi Vitelli
Andrea Pusineri, Carola Wegener, Caterina Scarpino, Concetta Inglima, Corinna Haenschel, Cristina Muto, Daniele Polacco, Eleonora Causin, Federico Armeni, Filippo Mercuri, Gerardo Cleto, Guido Picardi, Hannah Glaser, Harry Breeden, Ines Isabel Liborio, Ivan Simotti, Jaqueline Danielle, Joe Douglas, John Jeffers, Jose David Heras Barros, Karla Cerovac, Lida Franco, Louisa Ling, Luca Pitasi, Luigi Vitelli, Luke Vouckelatou, Manvir Hansar, Marina Addis, Matteo Blandford, Maximilia Hogrebe, Paola Gasparri, Reem Bou Hamdan,Valentina Procopio