Studio Ossidiana works at the crossroads of architecture, design and art and is lead by Alessandra Covini. Balancing research and fabrication, the practice explores innovative approaches and materials in architecture, urban spaces, interior and design. Studio Ossidiana is always in search of material expression to create unexpected atmospheres.
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.
An outstanding 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 research won the Talent Development grant of the Stimuleringsfonds and has been exhibited at the Dutch Design Week 2016, at Milan Design Week 2017; at Marres House for Contemporary Culture in the exhibition on art and archeology ‘The Materiality of the Invisible’. Another example of this method is the interior and furniture design for ‘Op Het Dak’, a rooftop bistro in Rotterdam, where the furniture takes inspiration from the primordial act of digging, seeding and moulding the earth, and the counter is meant as a geological section of ground on top of which to serve food.
Studio Ossidiana is currently involved in the design of new collections of unique objects for international galleries and design brands; an example of this are the ‘Calques of Earth’ objects, sculptural concrete tables casted in formwork's made of earth or the ‘Earth Sections’, coffe-tables exploring the ancient Venetian ‘terrazzo’ flooring technique, where the table top is meant as a section of pavement extracted from the soil and lifted on different types of supports.
The magazine ‘Interni' refers to ‘Petrified Carpets’ as ‘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 and playgrounds. Studio Ossidiana is involved in developing colorful sculptures, pavilions, public furniture, playgrounds for public spaces.
The practice work has been published in both printed and digital media (Architectural Review, Domus, Forum, NaiPublishers, Artribune, Interni, IconDesign, Corriere della Sera, Metropolis M, DeArchitect), 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.
Studio Ossidiana is based in Rotterdam and has an open and horizontal structure, and welcomes young architects, designers and artists to join the team. Teammates are: Tomas Dirrix, Francesco Apostoli, Manfredi Villarosa, Delfino Sisto Legnani.
Alessandra Covini studied in Milan and Lisbon and received her master's degree in Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Technology in Delft, the Netherlands.
Before founding Studio Ossidiana with Tomas Dirrix in 2014, she has been working as a designer on her own projects since 2012. During this time she was awarded in several international competitions, promoted by renowned authorities (UNESCO, UIA, Hyspalit) in projects as Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan or Malmo Cemetery Pavilion where she started developing her own vision, which later came together under the name Studio Ossidiana. Besides practicing architecture independently she gained experience in international practices of architecture at Privileggio-Secchi in Milan, the Architectural Review in London and Pritzker Price Laureates RCR Arquitectes in Spain.
With her practice, she has been awarded several grants from the Stimulerings Fonds, as Talent Development grant 2015 and 2016, Architecture grant 2016 and received support from the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands for Milan Design Week 2017. In 2016 she won a price for emerging Italian Artists ‘Giovani Artisti Italiani’. She was invited as a tutor and coordinator assistant at RCR Architecture and Landscape Workshop in Olot 2014, 2015.
Studio Ossidiana is thankful to the Creative Industries Funds NL for their support.