Studio Ossidiana is a practice based in Rotterdam that works at the crossroads of architecture, visual art and design lead by Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti.
Balancing research and fabrication, the practice explores innovative approaches and materials in architecture, visual art, 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, or the interior and furniture design for ‘Op Het Dak’, a rooftop bistro in Rotterdam, where the furniture takes inspiration from the mineral and vegetal forms of gardens. Another example is the design of a concrete playground for an elementary school in Vleuten (NL), that will be completed in 2019.
Studio Ossidiana designs 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.
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 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, Nai10Publishers, 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
Alessandra Covini is an architect based in Rotterdam (NL). She 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 with Tomas Dirrix. She is the winner of the Prix de Rome Architecture 2018, the most prestigious award for architects younger of 35 in the Netherlands. In 2018 she was selected by the Dutch State Architect as a Young Innovator. She has been awarded several grants as Talent Development grant 2015 and 2016, Architecture grant 2016 from the Creative Industries Funds NL. In 2016 she won a price for emerging Italian Artists ‘Giovani Artisti Italiani’. She was admitted at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht with the project ‘Domestic Landscape’. She was invited as a tutor at RCR Architecture and Landscape Workshop in Olot 2014, 2015 and she currently teaches at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and at The Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag. Before 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.
Giovanni Bellotti is an architect and researcher based in Boston (US) and Rotterdam (NL). Giovanni completed his masters 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). He is a Fulbright Fellow and Miguel Vinciguerra fund recipient, his work has been exhibited, among other venues, at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (IABR, 2013), the MAXXI Museum in Rome (RE-Cycle, 2010), and published on printed and digital media (among others, Abitare, Archdaily, AD Magazine). Prior to joining Studio Ossidiana, Giovanni practiced as an architect in Europe and the US, and worked as a researcher for TU Delft’s The Why Factory and MIT’s Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (MIT).
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.
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.