New Patrons Program at Bollate Prison, Milan
Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: April 2013
Project number: 2012-073
Beneficiary: Fondazione Adriano Olivetti
The New Patrons program objective is to accept and start an arts request connected at the improvement of the citizens quality of life which could assure a patrons/citizens aimed involvement.
The New Patrons Program at Bollate Prison is promoted by Adriano Olivetti Foundation and the Direction of the Penitentiary Institute.
Architects Giovanni Fabbrocino and Viviana Saitto have been identified as Mediators, tutors to support the Patrons in the program realization. They analyzed the Patrons needs and they chose Francesco Simeti as the artist who could make them real.
The project is related to an earlier re-qualification plan for the area called “Corrections Officer Well-being Project, 2010/2011”, aimed at improving the working and living conditions of penitentiary police officers. This plan drove the Institute Direction to make a specific art project commission for the area designed to house the nursery for the children of the penitentiary police officers and their families.
Initially intended for children of employees is expected that the facility will be open also to the children of families from the neighborhoods of the Institute, in a process of progressive integration which is an essential part of the project. The area outside of the structure will be connected to the city through a separate entrance and will host a public park.
The site specific project by Francesco Simeti is conceived to redevelop the building façade and the green area adjacent to it. The project is designed as a micro-architecture, with shaded areas, able to integrate visually unfamiliar tones of pre-existing building and the fence.
Meetings with the Patrons to expose and discuss the preliminary project by Francesco Simeti. New exigencies emerge, the project has to be modified and increased: the artist and mediators work to adapt the project at the Patrons requests.
Artist Francesco Simeti with the Mediators contribution developed a project for a covering made by a mix of vertical and horizontal elements. The new structure will create a shade zone and it will be a link between internal and external spaces as well an educational place thanks to the insert of different suggestions:
- Ceramic panels printed with natural textures and colorful elements designed by the closing punctuate the space creating a labyrinth garden defined by light filtered by the structure, color and vegetation. A sort of multisensory itinerary, both visual and tactile.
- The green plays a fundamental role: in collaboration with the Cooperative Cascina Bollate, Simeti identified tree species belonging to the Lombard territory endangered and shrubs of various kinds, which create an environment in the balance between nature and artifice, fun and educational at the same time.
New technical inspections and meetings with patrons to discuss and improve the preliminary project with renderings and architectural relief of the area. Artist Francesco Simeti called upon to realize the executive project layout, in collaboration with the Mediators (February 2014).
After validation of the advanced project the artist and mediators worked on identification of suitable suppliers.
Artist and Mediators display to the Patrons the document of technical feasibility and a preliminary needed materials list. They identified a selection of suppliers and made assignment of elaboration of the executive project with technical documentation.
Artist and mediators worked on the architectural project for the entrance walkway to the nursery, as part of the artistic intervention.
Following actions: contacts with technical sponsors (panels production, iron for the structure and various materials); fundraising for the implementation of the project: call for contribution to private sponsors and Fondazione Cariplo.
Completion of internal furnishings and presentation of the nursery at Bollate Prison, named BluBaoBab, run by the social cooperative Stripes. Meetings between Mediators and nursery staff to create an harmonic coexistence between internal and external spaces.
On the 28th of June during the open-day organized by Stripes to the penitentiary officers, their families and the general public, it was projected a presentation of the project by Francesco Simeti.
Due to the insufficient number of registrations collected, the opening of the nursery was postponed to Autumn 2014/Spring 2015.
Following contribution granted (but not yet issued) by Fondazione Cariplo, the artists and mediators work on the analysis of the financial and technical feasibility, remodeling project layout for its realization. After submission and approval of the Patrons the executive project will be placed in realization, in coincidence with the future opening of the nursery.
A dialogue and collaboration have been activated within the detention center, including cooperative and voluntary associations, in order to realize an artwork representative and useful for all the whole community which could be an instrument of its resilience.
The executive project was developed, from the preliminary draft, according to the analysis of the specific context –the Penitentiary area and the urban surroundings - carried out in the meetings between the Patrons, the Artist and the Mediators and the considerations emerged:
- A need of a collective meeting place near the detention center where families and children could entertain themselves.
- The area interested by the project has to be intended as a leisure space, the creation of a “shade zone” (front covering) will make it usable in any weather conditions.
- The Bollate prison and the nursery are separated from the city by a big railing, the Patrons underlined the necessity to create a link between the two areas in order to facilitate the sense of inclusion and integration by deleting the railing negative meaning.
During its development the project has been changed and enriched; the proposal resulted is much more complex and systematic, with the aim of gradually change the perception of the place. The new façade of asylum and green space in front will be designed and subsequently perceived as a collective work, born from the collaboration of artist, professionals and detainees that will be involved in realization. Indeed the project symbolizes the modern way to think a detention center: not a closed structure just with the aim to separate the detainees from the outside, but an open institute for a pro-active reeducation.
At the present the executive project by Artist Francesco Simeti is ready and completed by architectural and structural documentation and structure renderings by architects.
Up to now all the preliminary steps are concluded and the delicate installation phase is starting.
The project is going to be completed and presented around April 2015