Barrie’s Peter Pan and Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince are two examples of the countless attempts to catch the shy handful of years that childhood comprises.Childhood is a time when reality is complementary to imagination. It is a crucial time that defines the deepest rock on which the corals of adulthood sediment.
Childhood is a fascinating challenge for designers. Adults perceive architecture according to a functional logic: every space has its own use; every element has its own purpose. However, this is not how children think. For them, space is exploration, an ongoing and limitless opportunity, a background for their extraordinary adventures. Every space can be something else; every place can be somewhere else.
Consequently, when a place cannot be made functional for adults anymore, it can still be suitable for children. As naturally as a battered empty box can become a house or a castle, an industrial archeology –even more so- can become the perfect score to sol-fa the notes of childhood.
The former pottery of Laveno Mombello is a mastodon that fell asleep on the banks of Lake Maggiore. It is a 27,000-m2 titan that the logics of adults did not manage to wake up from its deep torpidity. For this reason, the insurance colossus Unipol, which owns the building, entrusted to YAC the opening of such a majestic architectural complex to childhood. By doing so, it will transform one of the most impressive industrial architectures of Europe into the largest kindergarten in the world.
Can fairies live in the majestic remains of an industrial architecture?
Unipol thinks so. Through the project dedicated to the estate redevelopment of Unipol’s buildings “Urban Up”, it invites all designers to transform the former pottery of Laveno Mombello into the largest and most innovative campus for childhood in the world. At the Italian borders, just a step away from Switzerland, France and Germany, future generations will find their “Neverland” in the abandoned architectures of a former industrial plant. It will be renovated and innovated in order to become forge and shelter of the society of tomorrow.