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Lea Garofalo
Community Garden

Turning the fuctions and perceptions of
a fence from a physical barrier to a place
to meet and share

Project by
Adipa Klomchitcharoen

Year 1 MA Social Design, 2024 
Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Product Design

The Lea Garofalo Community Garden is located at a busy area of Milan, in Viale Montello, 3. To the community, the garden is perceived as an oasis of peace at the heart of the city.

The garden was born from the will of a group of citizens, who is now called the Giardini in Transito association, with the goal of redeveloping this municipal area that is abandoned to decay, and returning them to the city as a space for meeting, culture, leisure, new sociality and new integration. Lea Garofalo Garden is initiated as a contribution to Lea Garofalo’s passing and her story on the violence towards women and girls. It is a shame to see that the garden is now perceived as unsafe for many people and its own community.

This project and proposed the design of product that is focused on the problem of safety and the feeling of abandonment atmosphere that the garden is currently experienced, due to the tall old bricked fence that is placed around the garden. The old fence in question is tasked by the Municipality to be reserved, as it is a part of Milan’s historical history. While it keeps the place safe at night, it could also act as a physical barrier and reduces the visibility making the garden looks unwelcome and abandoned, the visitors feel trapped and reduce utilise space of the garden.

This proposal aims to turn the fence and its function from a physical barrier to a space where visitors can meet, socialise, share and enjoy the space. As the fence cannot be removed and renewed, the design aims at turning its function. With the used of recycled and low-cost materials, and easy production processes, the community gets a chance to be involve in the production process and create positive changes for their own neighbourhood. Fostering a sense of ownership and pride in their public spaces, and bringing the enthusiastic and the spirit of this communal space back to the Montello community.

The design creates a domestic atmosphere where the visitors can feel like home, and spend their time to relax and feel as ease within this space. Public space are an essential part of life — by prioritising the creation of safe, accessible, and engaging environments, we can foster a sense of belonging and well-being among the community.

This proposal includes the how-to manual book guiding the process of the productions, as well as the proposal of what the creation can turn into and can be used for many activities and programs.

The paving production increases inclusivity, allowing people with disabilities and wheelchairs to be able to also use this shared space with comfort. The Mini Library operates according to the garden's ethics -- recycling and sharing. The books can be donated by visitors or schools around the area. The donors themselves can also take a book home and exchange them. As the garden is located in Viale Montello, which is a diverse community that made up of Italian, English, and Chinese speakers, the library can bring the community together through their collections and different languages of book available, allowing the community to exchange and interact. Furthermore, lunch time visitors can also flip through the books instead of skimming through their emails during their breaks.

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© Adipa Klomchitcharoen 2023