Technical support

2019 - Premio Federico Maggia


Andrea Govi, Matteo Gullo, Antonio La Marca

Dott. Gallina

I  remember when these places were factories. Here the best wool in the world was produced. Perfect machines, linked to the river, that transformed the energy of water into fabric. Then these spaces became slowly empty, and the noise of the machines gave way to silence

Today it’s strange to be here. Again in a cloud of steam. Back into a perfect machine. The spaces, that were emptied by weaving machines, are now occupied by other instruments,  objects that can autonomously transform the energy of the river into work. Rows of servers that collect and store data. An automatic and autonomous factory. An immense computer, at the scale of a building, cooled by the river. Heated water that becomes steam. White clouds that flows here to the upper floors. Latent heat that is not wasted but it is turned into wellness and health, into a thermal space. A calidarium, a social space for social gathering and dialogue, open to everybody. A human space. The building, a latent space, is transformed again into a factory, a place of phase transition, of work, intended as physical transformation of elements, of production, of connection, exchange, commerce, sociality, well-being.

Today 2% of global energy is used to store data. The number of datacenters is growing and these infrastructures occupy large portions of territory. In 2022 the amount of stored data will double. For this reason the integration of these places in the existing urban fabric and their energetic sustainability becomes a challenge. Abandoned industrial spaces can be transformed into digital infrastructures. Spaces that are waiting, such as the Lanificio di Lessona, can go back to productivity thanks to data.

Hundreds of "racks" occupy part of the building. The upper floors are occupied by human activities. The heat produced by computers, instead of being lost, it is used to heat water and produce steam. The project becomes an experiment: a way to exchange energy, transform matter and spaces, which otherwise would be lost.

The project is both an idea and an installation to present it. During autumn 2019 the idea was presented to the public during Premio Federico Maggia. A fictional server rack was mounted in an abandoned productive place, and surrounded by a transparent curtain that could contain clouds of steam, simulating in a smaller scale the project idea.