Openfabric is a young Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practice based in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), founded in 2011 by Francesco Garofalo and Barbara Costantino. It is currently engaging in various countries such as Netherlands, Albania, Italy, China, Colombia and Peru.
Responding to the large variety of possibilities that the intersection of city, society and nature creates, our projects cover several fields of action. They range from urban installations through public space design, to large landscape strategic plans; waterfronts, campuses, squares, streetscapes, parks, and playgrounds.
We cover the many facets of public realm processes with our experience and by involving in our team, for each project, specialists from other fields of expertise.
Openfabric work has been awarded and widely exhibited, from AIA New York to Materdo Madrid, COAC Barcelona and to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale ‘Fundamentals’. Openfabric members are invited to lecture internationally on a continuous base, including lecturing and guest critic at MIT (Cambridge MA), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), RAoB (Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Genoa University of Architecture (Genoa, Italy), Master of Human Settlements KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium), Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy).
Team members and collaborators are/have been:
Francesco Garofalo [IT], Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian [IT], Maria Teresa Pinna [IT], Matteo Motti [IT], Shu Gao [CN], Garrett Craig-Lucas [USA], Laura Lopez Iglesias [ES], Barbara Costantino [IT], Olivier Sobels [NL], Agnieszka Popielak [PL], Ekaterina Andrusenko [RU], Emanuele Paladin [IT], Lou Besançon [FR], Michele Beraldo [IT], Andrea Caspoli [IT], , Conxa Gene [ES], Christiaan Harmse [NL], Valentina Penna [IT], Ruohao Wu [CN].
Spontaneous colonisation. The main interest of the office started in the City. Focusing on the complex dynamics and interactions that are part of urban open spaces, our goal is to generate spaces where the city, society and nature come together, addressing spontaneity rather than over-imposing rigid design and planning solutions. The free and creative use of the space helps users, not only children, in the act of playing – to mold their own urban space following their needs and desires. We avoid over-programmed, and over-defined uses in order to elevate the city as the stage, allowing urban life to be the means for space appropriation and personal fulfilment.
Optimistic Resilience. If the general meaning of resilience is ‘the capacity of a system to adapt to change’, urban planning has adopted the term in the sense of the capacity of a system to react to a disturbance, with a special focus on climate change and exceptional climatic events. We believe in an optimistic vision of resilience – changes to adapt to do not only have to be traumatic and negative. Once emancipated, the understanding of the term of resilience as not exclusively the management of threats and dangers, it can become a key to interpret urban dynamics – an instrument for addressing current and future urban changes that is to the benefit of cities and people.
Beyond the City. Our interest expanded towards the urban-rural condition. The two words are only seemingly an oxymoron. In-fact, urban areas depend on ecosystem services which are often far from the city itself. Amongst other services, food production in many cases is located in distant landscapes; gastronomy, for instance, can be key to reestablish a link between food, cuisine, agri-production, people and places, bridging usually disconnected territories. Understanding the relations between territories in terms of these systems of dependencies is critical, in our opinion, to generating responsible plans and strategies that can take in account complex dynamics of cause and effects.