On May 7, 2020, MIARD invited three leading practices – Formafantasma, Cooking Sections, and Counterspace – to take part in an online symposium with the first year students. Each of the three was asked to present a recent project, after which the students had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with them. The three participants were selected as they all share a strong commitment to critical spatial work, which challenges the usual boundaries between design, architecture, and art – as well as a focus on linking architecture to ecological processes. This has resonated with the MIARD 1 work both in the TDP and History and Theory programs, and has a chance to be an inspiration for students as they think about their own future practice. 


Andrea Trimarchi (1983) and Simone Farresin (1980) are Formafantasma, an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Their interest in product design developed on the IM master course at Design Academy Eindhoven, where they graduated in July 2009.

Since then, Formafantasma’s practice has been characterised by experimental material investigations and detailed explorations of the history, context and implications of the transformation of natural resources into commodities. Their work has been presented and published internationally and museums such as New York’s MoMA, London’s Victoria and Albert and New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Most recently, their solo show Cambio opened at the Serpentine Gallery in London. 

>>> Reading: Web exhibition Cambio


Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners based out of London. It was born to explore the systems that organise the WORLD through FOOD. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. Their work has also been exhibited at the 2019 Los Angeles Public Art Triennial; Sharjah Architecture Triennial and 13th Sharjah Biennial; Manifesta12, Palermo,Tate Britain and elsewhere. They currently lead a studio unit at the Royal College of Art, London.

>>> Reading: “Littoral Ambiguities”“Boundary Gazpacho”Climavore


Counterspace is a Johannesburg-based collaborative architectural studio, directed by an all-woman team of Sumayya Vally, Amina Kaskar and Sarah de Villiers. Counterspace is inspired by their location – Johannesburg – and aims to work with developing design expression particularly for Johannesburg and the continent – through urban research, publications, installations and architecture. They also teach at the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witswatersrand. 

Counterspace has been selected to design the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion. 

>>> Reading: “Golden Plateaus”