ignacio g. galán
[ igg - office for architecture ]

New York / Madrid
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PhD dissertation, Princeton University (2018): "Circulating Interiors: The Logics of Arredamento and the Furnishing of National Imaginaries in Italy 1922-1945

Dissertation Advisors: Lucia Allais and Beatriz Colomina

This project examines the transformation of architectural interiors in Italy throughout the fascist period, considering the changing forms of articulating domestic spaces both at the scale of the home and at that of the nation.     

This dissertation examines a growing culture of interiors that unfolded in Italy in parallel to the development of modern architecture and its politicization throughout the fascist period. The discourse and practices of this culture were inflected by the use of the term “arredamento”—meaning both the furniture item and the ensemble of elements that furnishes a livable space. The emphases of the term signaled an investment in the material elements that construct an environment and reflected a shift in the understanding of the interior from a unified and enclosed realm toward an unstable arrangement of elements in motion. These arrangements were inseparable from other contemporary modes of circulation, including increasingly relevant market transfers, processes of information dissemination, and movements of people in migration displacements, colonial campaigns, and touristic endeavors. 

This dissertation traces the development of the architectural construct of arredamento and its mobilization in the collaboration of architects and designers such as Gio Ponti and Carlo Enrico Rava, together with an array of commercial and cultural agents and nation-reaching institutions such as department store La Rinascente, newspaper Corriere della Sera, magazine Domus, film studios Cinecittà, and the state tourism agency ENITEA among others. The works resulting from these collaborations negotiated the increasingly characteristic hybrid nature of architectural interiors in search of a new form of cohesion. They simultaneously provided a privileged framework to mediate contemporaneous shifts shaking traditional social orders as a consequence of the country’s modernization and its characteristic operations of circulation. In response to those shifts, these works resorted to different scales of stabilization that ranged from the family to the nation. While the discourse and practices of arredamento did not directly depend on the fascist regime—different from the contemporary understanding of architecture as “Arte di Stato”—many of these actors and institutions were fundamental buttresses for the development of its program—as a paradigmatic response to those same shifts. This dissertation discusses how the design and circulation of arredamento provided an architectural referent for the management, articulation, and synchronization of Italian society in response to the perceived dissolution of its specificity and its fragmentation.

See the PhD dissertation "Circulating interiors: The logics of arredamento and the furnishing of national imaginaries in Italy, 1922-1945"

Acordeón Office Sidebar

  • About Open or Close

    [igg - office for architecture] is a design and research office based in New York City and led by Ignacio G. Galán, PhD. Our work focuses on architecture's role in the articulation of society through design projects, research, and pedagogical endeavors. The designs of the office have been awarded in competitions including the First Prize for the New Velodrome in Medellín and are part of the permanent collection of the Pompidou Center. The office was a finalist to the 2014 Iakov Chernikhov Prize as a result of its contributions to design culture. 

    We operate through diverse media and platforms and are continuously informed by different kinds of conversations and collaborations. Galán's research has led to the production of several publications and exhibitions including the installation Cinecittá Occupata for the 2014 Venice Biennale by invitation of the general curator Rem Koolhaas. Together with the After Belonging Agency, Galán was the Chief Curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (Graham Foundation Grant 2015). He is also a member of the research project Radical Pedagogies and has co-curated its exhibition at the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and at the 2014 Venice Biennale, where it was awarded a Special Mention of the jury. He is currently one of the editors of the eponymous volume, forthcoming in 2020 by Sternberg Press (Graham Foundation Grant 2019).

    Additionally, Galán is an architecture historian working on the intersection of architecture, politics, and media, with a particular focus on nationalism, colonialism, and diverse forms of population displacement in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Galán studied Architecture at ETSAMadrid and TUDelft, he graduated with Distinction from the MArchII program at Harvard GSD, and has a PhD in Architecture History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton. He has been a Fellow at the Spanish Academy in Rome and a Fulbright Scholar. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Barnard+Columbia Colleges and has taught studios and seminars at Columbia GSAPP and PennDesign among others.

  • Statement Open or Close

    We understand architecture as a key agent participating in the articulation of society. 

    We explore the ways in which architecture contributes to the definition of new ways of being together.

    We are concerned with architecture's relation to cultural transfers, material networks, and diverse forms of population transience in a global context. The relation of these forms of circulation challenge our understanding of architecture (conventionally associated with control, enclosure, permanence, and stability), requires new imaginations for our ways of being together and consequently remains a realm for further inquiry and intervention.

    We are additionally interested in the objects, media technologies, and institutions transforming architecture's individual occupations, its collective operations, and its diverse types of mobilization. 

    These emphases lead the work of the office and continuously challenge our methods of analysis and our design practice.