Studio Ossidiana is a practice based in Rotterdam that works at the intersection of architecture, visual arts and design, led by Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti. Balancing research, design, and fabrication, the practice explores innovative approaches in design, and is always in search of new material expressions to translate visions into tangible spaces and objects.
Expression and tactility play a major role in the practice’s work, where dream-world images and narratives are converted into tangible objects. An example of this method is the installation ‘Petrified Carpets’, an historical and material research that translates elements found in Persian carpets and gardens into a series of concrete forms. The material research is applied in the scale of both design and architecture in several projects. Among these are the interior and furniture design for ‘Op Het Dak’, a rooftop bistro in Rotterdam; the design of unique objects for international galleries and design brands, like the coffe tables in Venetian ‘terrazzo’ developed for the Italian furniture company Lando; the design of a tactile concrete playground for an elementary school in Vleuten, that will be completed in 2019; the material research and construction of a public furniture project in Ressen developed in collaboration with Herman Vertrek / EventArchitectuur; the research project for the ‘Young Innovator 2018’ program, promoted by Floris Alkemade (Rijksbouwmeester), to develop new ideas and materials for solar panels on monumental buildings, for which we are developing material and spatial prototypes of Solar Curtains and Solar Terrazzo, in collaboration with TuDelft’s PV lab. The ‘Amsterdam Allegories’ project, awarded with first prize for the Prix de Rome, is a vision for a new type of experimental floating public spaces on water for Amsterdam North. The practice is currently working on a fireplace pavilion for the beach of Almere (NL), on a series of art installation used as shelters for geese for the rench of Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman in Erzincan (Turkey), and on a scenography for the gardens of Villa Necchi in Milan for T Magazine (New York Times). Studio Ossidiana designs are ‘Brutalist Toys’, ‘objects that combine a heavy consistency, hailing from the unconscious of matter, with graphic colors and light geometries’, as elements that could bring new expression to public spaces. Studio Ossidiana is involved in developing colorful sculptures, pavilions, public furniture, playgrounds for public spaces.
The name of the studio is inspired by the stone ‘Ossidiana’—Obsidian stone, that embodies both a material and a cultural metamorphosis: from one side it represents a material transformation being the result of a fast solidification of fluid lava into a volcanic glass stone; on the other side it embodies the first cultural object of mankind, being shaped into the primordial tools used by man. As the name suggests, the practice explores architecture through material investigations, focusing on the transposition of theoretical concepts into material creations.
The practice’s work has been broadly published in both printed and digital media (The New York Times Style Magazine, Architectural Review, Domus, Forum, Nai10Publishers, Artribune, Interni, Icon, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica Metropolis M, DeArchitect, Harvard Design Magazine, Landscape Architecture Frontiers), and exhibited in collective and solo exhibitions (Dutch Design Week 2016, Milan Design Week 2017, Het Nieuwe Institute 2017, Jan Van Eyck Academie 2017, Marres House for Contemporary Culture Maastricht 2017). Publications and prizes emphasize the way the studio embraces new ways of experimenting with materials and concepts, re-discovering ancient techniques and artefacts that reveals a desire to explore design before design.
Alessandra Covini studied in Milan and Lisbon and received her master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Technology in Delft (NL). She founded Studio Ossidiana in 2015. Alessandra is the winner of the Prix de Rome Architecture 2018, the oldest and most prestigious award for architects under 35 in the Netherlands. In 2018, she is selected as ‘Young Innovator’ by the Dutch State Architect. Her work has been exhibited at the Dutch Design Week (In No Particular Order 2016), Salone del Mobile, (5vie, 2017), Jan Van Eyck Academy (Open Studio, 2017), Marres (The Materiality of the Invisible, 2017), Het Nieuwe Instituut (Prix de Rome 2018, Prayer Rug/Platform 2017), and published on printed and digital medias (Nai10 Publishers, Forum, Volkskrant, Het Parool, Frame, Interni, Damn, De Architect, The Architectural Review, TL Magazine, Domus). She has been awarded grants from the Creative Industries NL, as as Talent Development grant 2015 and 2016, Architecture grant 2016. In 2016 she won a price for emerging Italian Artists ‘Giovani Artisti Italiani’. She is part of the Jan Van Eyck Academy. She currently teaches and leads workshops at the Rotterdam Academie van Bouwkunst, TuDelft, and Kabk (Den Haag).
Giovanni Bellotti is an architect and researcher based in Rotterdam. Giovanni completed his master’s degree in architecture at the IUAV University of Venice and TU Delft, and holds a post graduate degree from the SMArchS program in Architecture and Urbanism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he won the best thesis award, along several department grants. He is a Fulbright Fellow and Miguel Vinciguerra fund recipient, his work has been exhibited at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (IABR, 2013), the MAXXI Museum in Rome (RE-Cycle, 2010), and the Asia Culture Center in Gwangju (Imagining New Eurasia, 2015), and published on printed and digital media (Harvard Design Magazine, Abitare, Archdaily, AD Magazine, Landscape Architecture Frontiers, the Architectural Review Folio, Bartlett’s Lobby, Afasia Archzine). Prior to joining Studio Ossidiana, Giovanni practiced as an architect in Europe and the US, and worked as a researcher at TU Delft’s The Why Factory and MIT’s Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU). Along his role in Studio Ossidiana, Giovanni is currently a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht.
Marie Saladin, Lauren Boots, Sze Wing Chan, Arthur Schoonenberg, Pawel Szubert, Mariana Fernandez, Miriam Asghdom, Lisa Hens, Hugo Lopez, Akina Yoshitake Lopez, Mees Temmik.
Tomas Dirrix, Francesco Apostoli, Manfredi Villarosa, Delfino Sisto Legnani, Filippo Garuglieri, Niki Revo, Regina Makhmutova, Lauren Boots, Matthew Cook, Sze Wing Chan, Arthur Schoonenberg, Noortje Weenink, Kevin Westerveld, Pawel Szubert, Hugo Lopez, Akina Yoshitake Lopez.
Studio Ossidiana has an open and horizontal structure, and welcomes young architects, designers and artists to join the team.
Studio Ossidiana is thankful to the Creative Industries Funds NL for their support.