The Magic Threshold

I spent a long weekend in Valencia, and while I was going around visiting the city, a part of my mind was shortlisting things to do once I was back in Italy. One important thing was to start blogging for the Aalto talks.

For work I design and study spaces. Maybe because of my emotional attitude, most of the time I focus on the relation between body emotions and spaces, and on its meaning in terms of forms and design.

Since 2007, I have been traveling a lot for work, passion and curiosity. It’s therapy for my restlessness. That’s how I got to know a lot of airports, places that Marc Augè defined “non-lieux”, and started to see how they can overcome their boundaries, becoming interesting and meaningful spaces for our lives.

There is a new installation in Milan’s Malpensa airport. It’s a space, sort of a gate, that links the train station to the airport. This space – “The Magic Threshold” by architects Pierluigi Nicolin, Giuseppe Marinoni, Sonia Calzoni and Giuliana Di Gregorio, and artist Alberto Garutti – was set up a few months ago. I’ve been very critical about it.

It’s a black room with a blade of natural light in the center and some blue LED dots on the floor. When people walk across the blade, vaporized water falls from above and vanishes into space. Coming back from Valencia and passing trough this installation, I could link this space to my state of mind – which reminded me of how spaces can be felt emotionally.

Today “The Magic Threshold” was for me a way to prepare to go back to work. Like the rites we follow every morning before starting the day, this space can be a place to prepare yourself to another city, if you are traveling, or it can be a passage to signal you are ready for work if you are coming back; it is a different kind of border that is not between countries, but between different states of mind.

For me, it was an experience that revealed once again that it is possible to build apparently useless spaces that yet are able to make something click in people’s minds – interiors that talk to our bodies and emotions before they are caught by our rational minds.