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MA Eco-Social Design: Project 2 by Nicole Faiella, Vivian Rustige | SS 2021

Beni Conviviale. Collectively designed elements that bond territories and people throughout the stages of Rural Commons Festival

How do you create a convivial festival atmosphere? How do you bring different people together? How do you give participants a voice? Bieni conviviale is about collectively designed elements that bond territories and people throughout the stages of Rural Commons Festival working as an instrument of exchange that collects transvallive impressions, appreciations and imaginaries of all participants.


Rural Commons Festival is an itinerant and cross-valley event (organized by four interdisciplinary curators along with contributors and local partners) with the aim to collect, discover and regenerate rural collective practices. It is framed by three thematic tracks about community resources, economies, and heritage and takes place in three valleys of southern Trentino: Giudicarie (21-23.05.2021), Vallagarina (28-30.05.2021) and Terragnolo (04-06.06.2021). During three days on each territory a transversal program is covered in form of research symposiums, exploratory walks, construction workshops, artistic performances, and open dialogues.  

Our mission is to create spaces, find a common language, and enable formats to bond the territories and the participants throughout the stages of the festival. Given as a result, Beni Conviviali are co-created elements to welcome, identify, bond, and habilitate exchange: 

Common Bracelet gives a feeling of belonging, thought to be knotted by the help of another participant, as an intentional convivial interaction and act of communing and interdependency.

Guiding map helps participants to get an overview of the program at the festival, to orientate through space, and to sort out thoughts. They can map their route of the exploratory walk and are motivated to think and write their notions of commons. A QR-code connects to the digital common map, which ensures to follow future and past reflections.

Common map connects the three stages of the festival and serves as an interactive tool for participants to exchange and imagine - both analog and digital. It invites the participants to come along, discuss, and contribute their impressions, reflections, and imaginaries via three color-coded post-its: yellow to identify common goods, green to appreciate, orange to imagine how it can go on in the future.

Common flag serves as an identification testimonial that is passed through a curator at the closure of every festival stage and travels to the next one.

For the spatial design, we fudge together simple but outstanding elements like a hand-drawn tablecloth, a welcoming arc, sitting cushions filled with local hay; all of them using yellow fabric as the main and common material. By virtue of collective creativity, all the elements are reused in different ways every weekend of the festival, adapting to the event activities, locations, and weather with versatility.

As well, we collaboratively took care of the digital space, preparing content for different social-media channels to anticipate, narrate and document the moments of the festival. To change the sensual perception towards the space and create a joyful moment in a respectful way through music, we conducted a silent disco in the landscape of Terragnolo on the basis of a common playlist.


Our process = conviviality 
During every trip and throughout the festival we shared meaningful activities with extended and deepened relationships, defining and developing the outcome from within the community.  Due to the generative process of conviviality, the gap between research and design was imperceptible in the journey of our project. 

As a foreign team, everything started with the necessity to explore the territories before all else. Through careful planning during red zone restrictions of the covid-19 emergency, we accomplished a 3-day camping trip, in which we were able to sense the similarities and differences of the three valleys, find common elements and potential materials and to carry out interviews with the organizers and locals. Going forward with our exploratory research, we focused on sorting out the field trip observations and reflections, getting deeper notions and understandings on the topic of commons, researching festival assets, and brainstorming. In the framework of a participatory design process, we clustered 17 ideas into three categories: spatial design, communication, and experience design (joyful interactive moments) and presented them within the organizer team through an online meeting in which they voted for their favorites, shared comments, and suggestions.

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Once the ideas were collectively filtered we joined a trip to Giudicarie where we had the opportunity to visit Convento di Campo (the base camp for stage Giudicarie) and to meet more local organizers. We tried out two exploratory walks and handed out a probe kit. We did a second trip to Terragnolo where we commonly pictured the space and used this opportunity to digitally map in a participatory way the places and resources we should include in the common map. During both prototype trips, we were able to validate the potential interactions and tangible considerations (size, material, activities) of the maps.

We started to materialize the ideas, taking into consideration they had to be simple, feasible, transportable, adaptable and affordable, bearing in mind recycling and regenerating local materials. We synced with the graphic style to keep consistency throughout the whole festival. The main materials consisted of yellow fabric (100% cotton), yellow paper, cardboard, black paint, and reused local elements that were collaboratively collected. The most important ingredient was that all the ideas were made tangible through co-creation. Countless hands were involved in printing, folding, carrying, painting, imagining, screwing, assisting, suggesting, cutting, reviewing, documenting, and supporting; from the drafts to the final installation.

As a team we learned to step back on our expectations towards perfection to make something collectively perfect, giving more focus and value to the process than to the outcome. Nevertheless the co-created Beni conviviali elements fulfilled their role serving as a reference point, for bonding and habilitating exchange, as well as reminding the meaning of being present and together. Therefore, the festival’s format can be perceived as a proof of concept of commoning and that collective care is contagious. 

Visualizing the outcomes of the common map, we validated the power of the format that moderated in a simple language for the participants to rediscover what has been taken for granted and exchange imaginaries on desirable presents and futures. This will be taken in further reflections in the Rural Commons Festival’s Manifesto written by the curators to share future visions, to potentiate the network and enhance bigger transformations.


Nicole Faiella, Vivian Rustige

Teaching Team:
David Calas  (Object–Spaces–Services)
Kris Krois (Communication–Interaction–Services)
Secil Ugur Yavuz (Design Research)
Marie Beuthel (Social Interaction Design)
Aart Van Bezooijen (Design and Materials)

Rural Commons Festival

Supporters  & Stakeholders:
Cristina Dalla Torre, Bianca Elzenbaumer, Sara Favargiotti, Maddalena Ferretti
Camposaz (wood self-construction workshop)
All the contributors, collaborators, partners and participants of the festival.