For the first time in its 12-year history, MoMA PS1’s Young Architect Program has gone beyond New York, collaborating with MAXXI in Rome to host a summer installation by Roman architecture firm stARTT.
Now open to the public, Whatami is the winning entry of the inaugural international edition of the YAP competition. Designed by Rome’s stARTT, the summer installation transforms the concrete piazza of Zaha Hadid’s museum into a green space of rolling grassy islands and towering sculptural flowers.
Similar to its American counterpart, now in its 12th year, Whatami serves as the setting for various events throughout the summer.
The installation features an archipelago of eight individual islands built on a structure of straw bales and earth and covered in Astroturf. In some ways, the artificial landscape resembles a golf course with its varying green hills. Poppy-red fibreglass flowers poke five metres up from the grass, providing shade during the day and illumination at night. The flowers as well as seven of the islands are on wheels, allowing visitors to move them around and create their own space.
When the project wraps up in October, the materials will be donated to the municipality to be reused by the community. (Holding Pattern, the installation running concurrently at MoMA PS1 in New York, also focuses on sustainability and the objects that went into it will also be donated to local businesses once it’s dismantled.) Until then, the playful installation provides a perfect landscape for the museum, rejuvenating the monochromatic piazza with its vibrant colours.
Whatami runs until October 16.