The unMonastery: the space and co-design in Matera

A great START!

WoW! So much material and interesting conversations you had put down. You arose such good questions, crucial around the project and important to develop the space co-design! What will help us is to find the main aspects / activities / kind of people we wanna host inside the space and through it find the best layout putting together the different pieces and point of views. Then working with furniture that can be modular (Matthias, Ben, Darren awesome stuff u showed us! thanks), flexible and also beautiful (what does it mean to be “beautiful” for unMon?).

@Noemi we don’t have a proper garden at unMon Matera but full of open space that we can transform in a urban garden.

Hi guys,

my name is Antonio, I’m a MIMERS involved in unMonastery project; all you have written is fantastic and the reference that you have proposed are really innovative.

I agree with Bembo and Ben when they say that the spaces must be the expression of a new way of living, a new way of doing community.

The references of Matthias on the reversibility and disassembling of the furniture is very nice. These reflections coincide with a new vision of contemporary design: “Contemporary nomadism”.

Finally it’s also nice the starting point of Immaginoteca to create a hybrid space that can be continuously transformed.

Now focusing on the project unMonastery, the interior’s division proposed by MIMERS is just an outline fo us to understand the proportions of the spaces and furnitures (the bed or a desk dimension, for example). Therefore the first step is try to understand what to do and put in this spaces considering the proportions between space and furniture.

Another important theme is how to find or build the furniture that will be used in unMonastery.

Do you think that this can be a good reference?

I wait your feedback, thank you!



In my opinion, in the picture there’s too much objects, too much furnitures.

I think the space should give the idea of an empty space with very few things inside.

I also beleive that furniture should be movable as much as possible (here some exemples / photo below)

Also, perhaps we can think about reciclyng some furnitures the citizens are giving away.

Another possibility is to ask occupants to build things (or a part of them). This is what we did in Paris for Tous a Table :

Hope it helps!

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Trying to figure out how to help

Hi there.

As said before, I would be glad to take part as designer to the design process but I still can’t figure out how. If I understand MIMERS studio is in charge of the project and we can make some comments or give them ideas.

It would be useful to me and the community to understand where the design process started, how and why.

When Mimers started working on the design, did the Unmonastery project already exist?

Or is something that came afterwards?

Please let me know how can I actively get involved in the process.

If it can be of some inspiration, here is a video displayed at the Venice Biennale of a public space codesign project In which I worked as a collaborator of Ecosistema Urbano.

GRAZIE :slight_smile:

Dream your city!

@immaginoteca the video and the overall project you shared looks incredible even on brief inspection it seems you’ve already built many of the tools the unMonastery desires to, I haven’t come across anything that so clearly articulates the possibility of online/offline co-design and collaboration. I’d be very keen to understand where the project struggled, what the uptake was like by the local population and where you experience difficulties working between different stakeholders.

If you have the time it’d be great if you could write a short blogpost focused on ‘What unMonastery could learn from dreamhamar!’ - since I get the impression that you recognise the clear overlap in the approach.

To respond directly to your questions of how you can get involved; it can be devised here in conversation how collaboration should work, this was the initial step in beginning the co-design process. Andrea has subsequently posted the file online, so that anyone can download it and suggest design implementations. But if you would like to get more hands on and know others that would like to also, perhaps we should start a dedicated online workspace? Or? entirely open to suggestion.

Perhaps a community call/google hangout is in order!

we start the collaborative process…

@ Immaginoteca the references you posted are outstanding. In general unMonastery rise in the Sassi of Matera in a historic building: “Il Palazzotto del Casale.” Inside the structure will be carried out restoration work of deteriorate parts, modification of the wiring and water and sanitary system. Now we’ve got to focus on spaces equipment. The deal is to imagine convertible furniture as a result of reuse and recycling, cheap and easy to be assembled. The bed made with pallets I posted earlier is an example of how a poor material and easy to obtain can be used as an element of furniture inside unMonastery.

Very interesting video you posted. In the process of co-working and co-design could you give us a hand, especially to provide a method and an approach to the collaborative project.

Coworkind and codesign

@antonioelettrico thanks for your message!

I would be glad to help you with coworking, codesign and collaborative methodology.

If it can help, in this presentation I talk about how to design space for emergent phenomena, using some case of study I’ve visited or worked on.

I’d need more details about the schedule of the project, but I think it would be interesting to somehow live the space when it’s still empty, perhaps by occupying it for some days without furnitures. I’m thinking to this because of an artistic project I’m working on right now about creating and experiencing living spaces without objects. (photo below).

This is an experience that can help people and communities to understand what they need, a perfect methodology to avoid overdesign and allow spaces to be defined bottom-up.

I will be around Italy in August and October, where are you working?

Are you part of Mimers team?

Let’s keep working! :wink:


RE: Coworking and codesign

@Immaginoteca, I live and working in Matera. I’m a MIMERS.

The structural work must be completed by the end of October and we also hope for the furniture.

Your artistic work is very interesting. If you can come in Matera before Lote3 would be helpful for you and for us.

Let’s keep working! ;D

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Great discussion

I really like what I’m reading, guys. I don’t have much to contribute, I am no designer, but I look forward to learning more.

Also we might have a new meme: LET’S KEEP WORKING!


Hi Guys, as suggested by Ben I wrote a post about my thoughts.

Do you think it is published in the right group?

Please let me know.



and then on to also co-designing the social body (structures)…

Just want to mention that the same principles Francesco uses for the design of physical spaces can apply to the design of social bodies and structures, ie. edgeryders as a potential body (structure) alongside materans as an existing body (a group of people living among each other in certain relationship to one another) trying to learn from and potentially reconfigure each other into new patterns of being. My interest is in helping hold various types of ‘space’ for this particular learning, design and alchemy to take place. Given that we’re coming from all over the place, speaking many different languages, it would help simply to tap into various forms of body-based wisdom as way to start collaborating, learning from one another. Initially allowing ample space for dreaming (using for example, bodystorming) we start the process of creating new patterns, new languages, prototyping new forms (so-called UnMon rituals) and eventually allowing to emerge new types of relationships and the necessary community structures that will keep the social, personal and spiritual wheels balanced and humming along.

Wow, this is a really interesting thread. I agree very much that the space should facilitate a structure of spiritual progression, as well as work and living. I am glad you have included a meditation space. I don’t feel meditation should necessarily be limited to one-two people as group meditation can be a great way to introduce people to the practise and can really create a good atmosphere. In this light perhaps every unmonk plus guests, should have a sitting pillow.

A couple of practical points; it would be good to combine washing area (eg sink) with hanging racks above as cleaning up will be a daily thing that will not want to be a distraction. Having hanging space for cooking equipment will help insure that it is not left out dirty or damp or put the wrong way up, and there will be no need for drying, or many cupboards to keep things in (which will also require cleaning).

Also I think the rooms should be divided by gender. Perhaps people who will struggle sharing sleeping space should have there own if possible.

I have many examples of re-purposed materials in my computer as it is a big interest of mine. But like the true design of how a work space works I doubt the helpfulness of sending these ideas in, because the use of waste materials should be dictated by those materials. So if there are pallets, oil drums, water barrels etc then it is obvious that is what you use, if there is old furniture from residents they would like taken away then that is what you use. If you have an email and are interested maybe I could send you a folder of small pictures to inspire.

my opinion is that unmonks will need very little in the way of furnishings. To take into account ergonomics, I took to using a board of wood on my lap as read or write as the semi reclining position is better for your spine that upright at a desk. Also soft things like tube shaped pillows should be used at the spine if sat working for any period of time. Any sustainable model for a way of being must include attention to the mind body and ‘spirit’ (sorry if you have problems with this word it is hard to find the right word for this). So perhaps many desks is unnecessary. Having said that work tables and/ or a workshop would be incredibly useful. It would be great to have a stockpile of old rubbish and a workshop, it would be cool to invite Matera’s to have a go.

Am still confused about the ‘garden’ will there be a move to make an ‘urban garden’ then in land that is not part of the un-monastary, or does that mean urban garden as in roof and boxes? Could be very interesting.

think all of this is very exciting, will be watching beady eyes.

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Good points, yet…

[Jessy Jetpacks], these are really good points. Minimal unForniture seems to find almost everybody in agreement, so that’s that (good hing aboit a wooden board in leiu of a desk! I am trying something similar.

Other things are more difficult. For example: I completely agree about gender separation, yet this issue needs to be tackled not in the abstract, but looking at the actual map of the unMonastery. It seems sleeping quarters should be on the first floor, which is where the bathrooms are… have you checked the slides? As for the urban garden: perhaps [antonioelettrico] and [andrea.paoletti] can answer you.


Long interesting conversations here on board!

About this comment I do not agree about gender separation. I have had so many experiences about sharing spaces that I like the idea that partecipants will choose what to do.

@Francesco spoke about how to DESIGN EMPTY SPACES and I think this is crucial! It doesn’t matter now if men and women will sleep together or not, they will choose by theirselves > this is part of their co-design.

It’s more important, from my point of view, to understand if TO SLEEP at UnMon means only to SLEEP or work, live and sleep in the same space.

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I agree on this.

It shouldn’t be decided in advance.

It might happen that during unMonastery, some month as one kind of agreement different from the next one…

or even all at the same time, I mean, in one room gender misture, in another separated. who knows?

But the basic concept is Co-present people agree on something, just like we are doing here. Right?

andrea zittel

oops, forgot to mention for anyone interested one of my favourite artists andrea zittel. she has done a lot of work around living spaces and desinging people lives for them :slight_smile: . desining comfort units and relax pods. she also uses the idea of uniform, which is illuminating. i really cant reccomend looking at her stuff enough. it has a relevance to this, but requires apreciating on a meta level which isnt as practicle as an answer to a question about design. but food for thought.

Wheels, Cooking area, the Kitchen and the Outside!

Hello to all!

I’m truly delighted to get on board Edgeryders!

And excited about participating in LOTE3!  :- D

Great work happening! I’m impressed, surprisingly great!

I believe that the design concepts and what as been said above, reuse and recycle approach plus creating flexibility in the use of space through furniture, by allowing the Space to happen and to change as different programs are required or suggested, is really necessary for promoting the process of co-living and co-working.

Thought that beside the idea of modularity (loved the links that have been posted) in adition, it might be a good idea, having the furniture and the modules on wheels (with brakes :wink: ), when not being suspended on the wall. It is adaptable as one more piece of the puzzle modules and hopefully in a package might be bargained at an acessible price.

The advantage apart of the ability to be easily modified into different schemes in space, it’s also, in practical terms, incredibly handy when one is vacuuming or cleaning the floor.

About the approach of the outside space, once there is a open field nearby, some of the movable furniture can step outside accompanying the movement of the individuals or the community… if transportable.

It would be great thinking about a light and transportable module for protection of the Sun (?) and/or the rain, it´s just an idea, but the open field could work as an extention space for co-working. (easy to lift for transportation, but it had to be in anyway fixable in terms of not being windblown…).

Another thing is about the Kitchen, I believe, as the Pasta event is making a point, this space is really an important one, kind like the internal patio in the houses of roman architecture, as here there is no central outdoor space (in the unMonastery), the Kitchen should be nurtured like a Queen, I say! and given importance as a space of meeting and promoting the creation of relations and consequently possible good ideas! I believe there is be the possibility to have a big table for meals… and that is really good, I think.

I would like to understand better the ideas for the cooking area, the working place of a kitchen, might not be so flexible, I mean, it will probably need to be design at a more deep level than the rest of the furniture, just like the case of WCs… right? in this drawings (don’t have enought info - I’m at the moment with a technical detail that doesn´t allow me to open the dwg), but the cooking area doesn´t seem to be spacious enough… and might be equipped in a way to better promote this collective yummy ritual of basic nutrition.

(One more detail… sorry! Maybe the bathroom in the kitchen, could be acessed from the corner of room 3, don’t know if this wall is a structural one, but if not possible, wouldn’t it be important not having a strait relation between the WC door from the area where the cooking and food are circulating… again, if I well understood the drawing…)

I’m really interested in participating in the activity “Venue”, but maybe because I’m new here, and still trying to keep up with the struture of the website it self, couldn´t find exactly where I can express this availability! (if anyone could help me, it would be great).

Let’s keep working! ;- ) 


Wheels yay! (and welcome)

Hello [pacheca], welcome to Edgeryders and thanks for these excellent points. I am no designer, but everything you say makes plenty of sense to me. Wheels on everything would be a fantastic idea, as it makes the space easy to reconfigure on the fly; and kitchen centrality is a given in every home – especially in Italy. So, why not in the unMonastery? In fact, it would be great if it were possible to move some kitchen elements outside to cook in the open (though the unMonastery prototype phase will start in February, it will be possible to eat outside in May, and perhaps April too).  I wonder what [immaginoteca] thinks!

However, the space itself is pretty much a given. Walls tend to be half a meter thick and in stone: there is no way you can alter the disposition of the rooms. We need to be creative… let’s keep working! :slight_smile:


Ups! sorry, I meant room 4 when I said room 3.


Ups! sorry, I meant room 4 when I said room 3.