A few steps and a tiny door in a corner of Ventura Lambrate led to the Geneva University of Art and Design’s Conversation Pieces – an immersive apartment created entirely by the university’s students. Based on an idea by Alexandra Midal, the project is the result of a workshop led by Nitzan Cohen and Daniel Zamarbide, intended to examine how certain objects are able to generate a dialogue and modify relationships between others.
The students had designed everything from the structure itself and the rooms within in it to the wall coverings, furniture and products inside. The first room you enter is the wood-clad, multi-level, shelf-lined library designed by Antoine Guay and Barbara Jenny. On a high shelf, DJ Dishes by Seila Alvarez, Jonathan Ageneau and Helene Gagliardi emit a random and poetic soundtrack designed to inspire conversation.
Narrow corridors, tiny staircases and a series of little arrows on matchboxes lead you out from the library into various spaces. Up a set of only just person-width stairs is an almost blindingly pink room. Through a tunnel lined with paper feathers is the cocoon-like bedroom, This Is Also Your Skin, by Jessica Brancato and Amélie Freyche – a moment to rest your senses. The dining room, Order, was designed by Inès-Charlotte Brodard and Lucien Muchutti, while Paolo Gnazzo and Timothé Deschamps designed the mirrored Panic Room, Monitoring Architecture.
The project also included a series of dinner debates on design taking place every evening. The whole experience was just that, an experience. Often you stand and look at design, distanced from it by signs that say “do not sit on this chair.” Here you ducked under it, walked through it, ran your hands along its feather-like edges. I’m not entirely sure what it all meant, but I enjoyed the time out to think about it.