Text by – ALESSANDRO PANERAI

Translation by – NICOLE SYLVIA BOURIS

 

From the Official Catalog of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition:

 

Sufficiency / sə’fiSHənsē/,

  1. The condition or quality of being sufficient, 2. An adequate amount or quantity, 3. A modest but adequate scale of living. The state of self-sufficiency, where only necessity is required for survival.

 

Sustainability and economy: these are the key words needed to begin to deeply understand Objetos Da Floresta (Objects of the Forest), the courageous research project hosted in 2012 by Brazilian designer Andrea Bandoni. The plan is ambitious: a 2000km pedestrian path in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest with the aim of helping to understand the true meaning of the word “sustainability”, by visiting local communities, which have always interacted with the forest, sometimes in very interesting ways. An exquisite e-book was born, which is an actual design piece itself. The e-book can be downloaded freely here (http://objetosdafloresta.com/download/).

 

Bandoni is convinced that by analyzing the indigenous tribes habits, used to manage only with what the forest gives them, to live in total harmony with nature and to use only what they find in nature to build what they need for daily life, one can better understand the lasting bond among the human kind and the environment starting right from the customs of the “primitive” indigenous people. With the etiquette “primitive” they mean “not (yet) westernized”, due to the fact that the Brazilian tribes have very little of anything primordial…

 

The native populations not only live in perfect osmosis with Nature but they also have spontaneously refined many activities which many companies, that call themselves developed, have yet to interiorize: recycling of used materials; maximum exploitation of the resources leading to creative results; and learning craft practices. All of this starting from palm leaves, maracuja skin, or even fish tongue (!). Nothing gets wasted, and each natural element finds a way to be used.

 

Here is how various objects can be created from a simple palm leaf: a bag, a flower vase, a bowl for cooking and to store food…

 

 

1 2

 

“Objetos De Floresta” collects plenty of similar examples, daily smart uses which glorify the majestic art of managing autonomously, in which, Italians still represent the ancient maestros but today less and less at the practical level. A nation that was born and lives on the excellence of its craft knowledge, a knowledge which new generations tend to ignore, attracted by other, maybe more ephemeral, careers… each of us can make his or her own opinion about what has been said. But let us go back to discussing the main object of the article.

3

In the Amazon Rainforest, an inhospitable and inaccessible place, one is surrounded by a very particular atmosphere, in which every natural element can swiftly become a design piece and where life’s spontaneity corresponds to making art in a creative and collective way. A place, like Andrea Bandoni underlines in the introduction to “Objetos Da Floresta”, which is among the most sophisticated in the world, where every organism can become a decorative element, and unexplainably rich.

 

This prosperity, unfortunately, is in danger. The e-book, in fact, makes us think about the present state of large forests. Every 60 seconds, in the world, an area equivalent to 25 football fields is cleared. 33 out of 100 of the biggest cities in the world depend on forests in order to be able to benefit from running water. 60 million people live in forests, mostly belong to native tribes, but the products they create feed more than one and a half billion people generating a 330 billion dollar trade network to which you can add 77 billions connected to the forest ecotourism (UN REDD+ data: to know more you can check out this report: http://www.un-redd.org/portals/15/documents/IRPBuildingNaturalCapitalthroughREDDMarch2014finallowres_EN.pdf).

 

The aforementioned statistics portray an imminent danger and Brazil remains one of the nations which today is majorly being cleared of trees, even though some people think things are improving (http://www.vox.com/2014/6/14/5808548/brazils-fight-against-deforestation-has-been-a-surprising-success). Elsewhere instead, illegal clearing activities have been steadily and quickly increasing in recent years; these satellite images show the Indonesian situation in the last 15 years:

 

4

In a world which is gradually more characterized by business models patterned by growth longing, maybe we have to start asking ourselves what sufficiency means, and how much we can be satisfied with what we need rather than with what is accessory and useless. The greedy appetite that accompanies the majority of us, and, consequently, motivates the majority of our choices is not, as we have seen, neutral towards the world that surrounds us and weighs on the life style of the community like the Amazon, one that has made the brotherly relationship with the natural richness their own reason of existence. The consideration continues at the Malaysian stand at the Biennale di Venezia: all of you are invited to visit.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.