On the occasion of the publication of the book «UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT for contemporary architecture: UFO’s experiments between political activism and artistic avant-garde,» the Frac Centre-Val de Loire is organizing a monographic exhibition showcasing the works of the UFO group of architects, drawn from its collection and private archives.
Disruptive and activist, the UFO group embodies a trend in radical Italian architecture engaged in the real and its reappropriation, which is particularly representative of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire’s collection.
«UFO, performing architecture»
April 15, 2022 – December 31, 2023
FRAC Centre (Frac Centre-Val de Loire)
88 Rue du Colombier, 45000 Orléans
UFO was founded in 1967 by architecture students from the University of Florence: Carlo Bachi, Lapo Binazzi, Patrizia Cammeo, Riccardo Foresi, Titti Maschietto. During the 1970s, they were involved in numerous projects, including exhibitions, performances, competitions, the creation of Global Tools, an alternative design laboratory, and collaborated on several art and architecture journals. The group’s activities continued in various forms until 1978.
Architecture Rooted in Reality
Their «narrative architecture,» influenced by a pop vocabulary, clearly displays irony by reclaiming and subverting the codes and symbols of consumer society. Their urban interventions aimed to make architecture spectacular in the hope of transforming it into a form of urban and environmental «guerrilla» action. The publication of the book «UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT for contemporary architecture: UFO’s experiments between political activism and artistic avant-garde» is supported by the Italian Council, Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity, Italian Ministry of Culture, under the scientific direction of Professor Beatrice Lampariello, and co-editorial direction of Andrea Anselmo and Boris Hamzeian (False Mirror Office).
A Multidisciplinary Approach
These architects propose to unleash creative behavior and imagination by using techniques (cardboard, polyurethane, inflatable) and fields of expression (comics, advertising, cinema) that are distant from traditional architectural language. Close to Umberto Eco’s semiotic theories, UFO views its architectural, design, or object projects as «signs» in the service of counter-communication.
Beyond its playful aspect, Guy Rottier’s work is marked by a deep ecological concern. Through his creations, the architect questions our way of inhabiting the world today and participates in recent debates about eco-architecture and the circular economy. He rethinks coastal urbanism from the 1970s, combining respect for coastal sites with the freedom to appreciate landscapes and foreshadows issues of sustainable urbanism through «the new earth architecture.» He also formulates the concept of recuperative architecture in «Cité de vacances à brûler après usage» (1969) and in the work