Unseen collaborations

An exhibition that highlights the processes of cooperation, reuse of artefacts, and interpretations of production cycles by reflecting an object’s end of life. The project showcases the opportunities to put resources and projects that started their life in Italy back into circulation in very different geographical locations.

Collaborative processes are at the core of Italian design development – their structure and identity is defined by the relationship between the industry, craftsmanship, research centres and professional studios.

Beginning in the last century, the creation of large cruise ships is an early example of multidisciplinary collaboration between technicians, engineers, builders, industrialists, designers, artists, craftsmen and companies. These examples of floating hospitality and engineering excellence played a key role in the birth of Italian design, presenting it, along with Italian artistic and production culture, around the world.

This type of Italian design collaboration is now part of history. But, take it one step further and look at how these nomadic and temporary cities are decommissioned. The deconstruction of cruise ships often happens on the shores of countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan or India –  and they end their industrial cycle in the East. Here they get dismantled and turned into warehouses and resources for artefacts, such as materials destined to be put back on the market in new generative processes. In this way, an intercontinental bridge comes to life, an informal and necessary network, a collaboration that puts resources to use in a different context.

By adapting this concept to a room inside Somerset House, the exhibition will resemble a reconstruction of an insidious and disturbing interior, made up of works and objects that map out and represent this particular form of collaboration, expressing a variety of circular and unseen mechanisms. On display are works and site-specific installations by Liu Xiadong Philippe Tabet, Melania Toma, Davide Trabucco.

1 of 3

Davide Trabucco, Wall Atlas, 2023 Detail of the flying buttresses from the roof of the Duomo in Milan, 2014 (ph. Michael Mackillop) and Cristoforo Colombo motorship, 1952-1983

Philippe Tabet, Order, 2017 Photo: Zep Studio 1

International Exhibition of Architecture in Motion Parco Sempione, 9th Triennale di Milano, 1936, ph. Aragozzini, Triennale Milano – Archives



Triennale Milano


Marco Sammicheli

Marilia Pederbelli

Artworks by:

Philippe Tabet

Melania Toma

Davide Trabucco

Liu Xiaodong

2023 Exhibitors