IaN+ was set up in 1997 and materializes around the core of its three members with diverse professional formation and experience. Carmelo Baglivo and Luca Galofaro, design project and theory, Stefania Manna engineering consultant. IaN+ multi-disciplinary agency aims at being a place where theory and practice of architecture overlap and meet. IaN+’s areas of activity are conducted on various scales of interior architecture, public projects, urban and territorial projects. In each intervention, projects explicitly question the contemporary urban condition through architecture. Construction and building, seen as an open and variable arena, must usher in a permanently repeated encounter between subject and programme. Architecture is thus conceived as a method endowed with independence, like a perpetual updating of programmatic and topological diagramme.
— excerpt from www.ianplus.it
The visit to IaN+ gave us a taste of what a young radical firm looks like, and what challenges they face. Luca communicated to us the situation that young firms are in and why they chose to work on the international scene, instead of primarily within Italy. A main idea that came out of the interview was the issue of balancing between conceptual/experimental work and profitable work. This was one of the first interviews we conducted, and this idea seemed to become a reoccurring theme throughout many of our subsequent interviews.
We are invited to different exhibition and we start going on with our…more competition. At the same time, we just work in a different way. So we start to work with some constructors, some Italian constructors, to do just construction drawings. Not construction drawing of our project, but construction drawings of very standard projects. But for us, it was really very interesting working for the first three or four years around this kind of subject because we start to learn very young when we are 30-32, we start to do construction. Also, if not construction for ourself. And so, this was interesting for us. Now what we try to do because we won different competition. And finally, we just try to put together we start two years ago with our first very small building that is this building….
Russell: So, I had a similar situation, almost impossible to begin doing the kind of work you do. But, as a young designer you need to have this expectation that actually begins to form your practice because your construction drawing background taught you something that allows you to be different.
Luca: New strategies and how you can put together these two different things..and now for us it is kind of strange because now we have a double mind. We have a mind for competition, so we work completely free and we work for the constructor that is kind of working with, how you say, with the handcuffs.
Because it was also this strange situation that the real power in Italy is the academia, the school.
What is really very interesting in Italy is the geographic mapping of this. Because you have different…I think this is the only place in Europe where you can read this geographic difference between the North and South. For example, in Milano we have all the design productions, and the research, the school of design. In Roma, like was in the 70 with the Superstudio group and in Firenze was the same…it’s a kind of radical point of view in Roma. So, there you can find architect that can develop strategy about city, develop strategy about a new way of thinking.
I play a lot with [another design company]; we are very good friends. But what they did, they just work around the architecture like marketing. They try to sell the architecture works like they sell the product of a book or something else. And so they produce a lot of strategy, but economical strategy. For us it’s different. We say ok, we want to work around projects, idea, new concepts. So, our luggage is not an economical mind in a way of big project because we need to do something very big… And we just try to develop small competition, very small building because we think that our luggage, our knowledge, is just working around the project. Sometimes, it’s impossible to build this because in Roma we do not have the economical power that they have in Milano. But at the same time, it’s very important for us.
Usually, we love also to do competition outside of Italy because we don’t know who is the jury. We don’t know if there is something in between, you know? In Italy, every time that you say Ok…because when you know there is a competition and you know the jury. Soo, same thing the Metromedia museum??...Otoyo Ito was the president of the jury and won the competition another Japanese guy that work for his office. Sometimes happen, you know? And so we prefer to do competition…this is a joke…where we don’t know nobody, so we cannot know if won something because it is typical of the Italian to go aahh you win the competition because you know this guy and everywhere is the same.