iLounge instant / interim / interactive / X-topia and CCA URBANlab / Marcella Del Signore and Mona El Khafif

Co-commissioned by Northern, ZERO1, and the San Jose Public Art Program, and presented with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. In collaboration with X-topia and CCA URBANlab

Public social space is all around us and permanently changing. iLounge offers a temporary social stage to create a temporary community for a minute, a hour or an evening. iLounge operates as a social catalyst and will be what the citizens of Minneapolis and San Jose want it to be. The user of iLounge is an active part of the spatial production. iLounge has the ambition of being an urban space that interacts with its inhabitants: a space that adapts to the needs of the citizens but also a space that stimulates citizens to look, listen, exchange, reflect, relax, and to gain something from the experience that they can take home. iLounge is instant, interim and interactive and predominately refers to “I” am. The configuration is intended to change the speed and the direction of its inhabitants, to get them to interact, slow down, look in different directions, and generate informal interactions to promote different types of urban life. The architectural modules offer a versatile surface that supports the occupation of the human body in multiple ways: lounging, standing, resting, socializing, exchanging, playing, observing, and being observed. As an interactive piece the modular nature of iLounge offers the opportunity to change the topography of the surface, to aggregate and rearrange its layout. The inhabitable social sculpture motivates the creation of a temporary community in flux. Live feed video cameras create a media echo of the spatial production. The media footage feeds into an incorporated projection station that will project the production of the interim social space onto surrounding urban surfaces and firewalls. The visitors are not passive spectators but become active participants in the production of art. QR codes spread through the city communicate the space far beyond its spatial dimensions. They encourage the creation of interim communities that live in material and digital space. Visitors are invited to reflect the concept of social space in flux and might also understand the importance social networks as a part of our everyday culture.

Fabrication Team: Matt Decotiis, Amir Afifi, Kevin Taylor, Cesar Lopez, Mona El Khafif, Marcella Del Signore
Media Team and Communication: David Gastaneta, Mark Campos, Cesar Lopez, Mona El Khafif, Marcella Del Signore
Design Research Team: Christopher Cox, Noah Conlay, Matthew Decotiis, Jill Godfrey, Daniel Kautz, Michael Keller, Will Rosenthal, David Merlin, Mona El Khafif, Marcella Del Signore
Artists in Residence ZERO1: David Gastaneta, Pia Jacqlyn, Cesar Lopez, Kevin Taylor, Mona El Khafif, Marcella Del Signore
Visiting Media Artists: Mark Campos, David Gastaneta

With additional support from: Tulane School of Architecture Dean's Funds for Excellence, Matarozzi & Pelsinger, and Regione Umbria.

The project will be presented as part of
the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial opening weekend
from September 13-16, 2012.
Free and open to the public

X-topia and CCA URBANlab / Marcella Del Signore and Mona El Khafif

live and work in San Francisco, CA and New Orleans, LA


Marcella Del Signore is an Assistant Professor at Tulane School of Architecture. She holds a Master in Architecture from University La Sapienza in Rome and a M.S in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. She is the principal of X-Topia, a practice networked in USA and Europe that explores the intersections of design with digital processes, urban space and art. Her research focuses on the understanding and development of the public / urban space through performative actions, applied technology, responsive systems and digital processes. She has practiced in Rome, Madrid, New Orleans, and New York and taught in Academic Institutions in USA and Europe. In 2010 she was awarded “Young Italian Talent“ in the Architecture and Design Category by the Italian Government.

Dr. Mona El Khafif is an Associate Professor of Architecture and head of the CCA URBANlab at California College of the Arts. She received a professional architecture degree in Germany and a doctorate in urban design from Austria. After practicing and teaching at the TU Vienna 2000–06, El Khafif joined the URBANbuild program at Tulane University in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She co-authored URBANbuild: Local/Global and published Staged Urbanism: Urban Spaces for Art, Culture and Consumption in the Age of Leisure Society. Her current design research operates at multiple scales, examining interdisciplinary aspects of urban regeneration and the production of public spaces. In 2010, El Khafif, with a group of URBANlab students, presented OPspace at the ZERO1 Biennial: an interactive installation designed to re-activate empty storefronts.