Glenn Walls

Superlost: Prototypes for Sophisticated Living No 2, 3 & 4.

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Superlost: Prototype for Sophisticated living 2 & 3


Superlost: Prototype for Sophisticated Living No 2, 3 & 4. Exhibited as part of Broke, The Carlton Hotel & Studios Feb 2008


Italian architectural studio “Superstudio” was most active between 1966 and 1978. Based in Florence they saw the boom and bust of the Italian economy during that period. Everything in this work is related to that period. In (L-R) Superlost: Prototype for Sophisticated Living 2, the mirror sculpture is based on Superstudio “The Continuous Monument: an Architectural Model for Total Urbanization” project from 1969 – 1971. The Nike shoes were developed by Nike in the 1970’s. In Superlost: Prototype for Sophisticated Living 3, the Adidas skull is made from a replica of the Adidas Telstar 7406 soccer ball used in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. In Superlost: Prototype for Sophisticated Living 4, the shoes were developed by Adidas is the late 70’s (but here are hand made of balsa wood, rendering them useless).

The central theme of Superstudio’s agenda over the next 12 years would be its disillusionment with the modernist ideals that had dominated architectural and design thinking since the early 1900s. Once fresh and dynamic, by the late 1960s, modernism had hit intellectual stasis. Rather than blithely regarding architecture as a benevolent force, the members of Superstudio blamed it for having aggravated the world’s social and environmental problems. Equally pessimistic about politics, the group developed visionary scenarios in the form of photo-montages, sketches, collages and storyboards of a new ‘Anti-Design’ culture in which everyone is given a sparse, but functional space to live in free from superfluous objects. (Design Museum)

Behind the theory of Italian architectural group, Superstudio, the built environment should be an efficient minimalist space that provides an ordered existence that is not constructed on the whims of consumerism and fashion. It should be seen as a space that is ordered and its cleanness projects a sense of calm and order. That objects (furnishing) should have their status as trinkets for memories removed, for they merely become museum pieces that hold little relevance for very few. Its not that Superstudio are arguing for the complete eradication of all objects, but rather their status be relegated to that of mere function. Ironically Superstudio stated in the consumer driven pages of Italian Vogue in September – October 1969, “that every manual of spiritual exercises for serene living must suggest the abandonment of all desire to be always “in fashion”, or the desire to be always stylish, or amusing, or to be liked at once: that is, it advises an immediate abandon of false problems, manias, hysteria”. 1.

But is this really achievable? We may be able to achieve a degree of peacefulness and calm within this ordered constructed environment, but it is both our internal emotions and external factors and influences that will constantly challenge this state of serene bliss. Although Superstudio were not arguing that we completely ignore passion and desire’s, by doing so would render your life fairly boring, what they were arguing is that we place to much memory on objects. That we, as human beings, have placed the notion of status on basic objects, such as shoes, that a whole sub-culture has developed surrounding the collections of these objects. the home has become a consumer driven nightmare. It is this unquestioning need to materially remain one step ahead of each other that has driven us to deplete the earth of its natural resources. To allow the input of media, be it television or the internet, to be the drivers of our decision making when obtaining the objects that we feel will fulfil our emotional and physical needs.

What these works intend to show is that no matter how much we construct and minimalize our built environment to reflect an air of peace and calm, once human presence and activity is brought into this controlled environment the concepts behind Superstudio and that of sophisticated living are lost. A point occurs where the building and objects are no longer just a structure but becomes linked to lives and therefore to memory due to the activities that took places there. No matter how well designed these spaces and objects are every time we look in the mirror we are reminded of the happiness, pain, youthfulness, aging, sorrow etc, that inturn constantly challenges our ability to seek the utopian existence that Superstudio wishes all of us to achieve.


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Superstudio, The Continuous Monument, 1969 – 71


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For more images from the exhibition Broke please click on the Prototype for Sophisticated Living 2 icon on the right hand side


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