Mariano Viola

Two Years of Iperstudio

A radical project, and any mention isn't merely accidental

It’s been exactly two years ago when I met Marco to discuss about a new project. What follows traces the Iperstudio genesis and its possible future development.

A radical project

Iperstudio is a radical project, and any mention isn’t merely accidental. Radical means many things, the essence of something, a math operation, the part of a word or, for those who know the Italian history since the end of the Second World War, it is about artistic and political movements which, without much ado, were able to settle reactive ideas complying to the needs of society, ideas which were able to have a positive impact on it, despite the mistrust or the lack of preparation to receive them by the most.

For Iperstudio, radical has the same meaning, install and practicing ideas, ideas which are able to react to the present in the context of what we are passionate about, working with and for the web. It is no coincidence that hypertext and Iperstudio (Hyperstudio in english) share the same root, in the former, documents are put in relation and associated through hyperlinks, in the latter, what are associated through common aims instead, are designers.

Therefore, Iperstudio started with the intent to restore forms of “design mutualism” in a historical context in which the unappealing or the inaccessibility to formal associations, inevitably leads designers to the bellum omnium contra omnes, to the solo acting and the consequent frustration to not be able to afford the speed and the complexity that characterize the web design and development of the last years.

In essence, this translates in worksharing, tools sharing and the ability to work together as if we were in the same physical workplace despite we live in different places. Within two years, we were able to start an *hyperstudio *using exclusively skills and resources at our disposal.

The role of its members

Designing a website can be as complex as designing and organizing a space, and in this sense, architecture seems to share many aspects with web design. In fact, working with the web means working with a specific kind of space, a space in which what is designed should be placed, made accessible and put in relation with the existent.

Whenever we publish a website, it is like to place a new building in a megalopolis, by taking all the the responsibilities that this entails. Other than provide our customers of a place that encourages their communication and information sharing, we try to improve and preserve the state of the entire community in which it will be placed.

Other than this — and continuing to abuse of the similarities between web design/development and architecture — an architect should be aware of the fact that people can’t constantly live in a public place, and so, she should have enough knowledges to design private places too. Moreover, the same architect should know that she can’t use the same materials, and the same construction techniques to build a stadium, an house or an hospital.

In short, the architect, as well as the web designer/developer, should be able to understand technology, materials, its features, the use for which they were developed, the context in which they will be assembled and used, and the social and the environmental impact that they may have in a long term.

What we tried to do in these years as members of Iperstudio has been to comply to these proposals, by the proper adoption of technologies accordingly to design goals and the environment in which they were be used. In fact, in our opinion the value of a web project will be less and less in its technology, especially in an historical time in which development tools are increasingly commodified.

A project to be consolidated

In just two years we started a studio and made projects we are proud of, at this point we just have to look ahead, consolidating what we did until now. In fact what we expect for the next year is all about processes and workflow improvements, with the intent to converge the architectural design principles with the industrial design and the series production.

In practice, our efforts will be addressed to improve our studio, making it more and more a focused product/service, a communication and a project management tool. The to do list is longer and fairly more structured, but in essence these are the goals we have set ourselves:

Last but not least, we will continue to work with and for the web, because if it is true that the organization of space, as well as information organization and sharing are innate human needs, at this time, the web seems to be the only space in which it is worth invest.

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