h… aiazzone


oct 2004 (Biella, Italy)


The Aiazzone guided tour was a project that was conceived, developed and executed during the annual UNIDEE in residence programme at Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto during july – october 2004. During this period, fellow residents Beatrice Catanzaro, Matteo Ferrario and Margarita Vazquez Ponte, formed an art group named F.lli Fortuna. they collaborated on joint art works over the 4 month period and continued working together into 2005.  F.lli Fortuna investigated strategies to reactivate empty and abandoned spaces. The research focused on the appropriation of these sites by a local transient population who have subsequently utilised the structures. Moreover, on the transition of a space from functional to discarded, and its subsequent morphing towards a more subterranean existence.One of the chosen sites was the vast Aiazzone complex, which lies south of Biella in part of the town’s industrial outskirts. The internal structure alone occupies approximately 50 000 square meters but was never completed due to the sudden death of Giorgio Aiazzone. The building mirrors the optimism and ambition of the economic boom that was so prevalent during the 1980’s and still survives, defiant, despite various plans to raise it to the ground and build something of a less daunting scale in its place.
This intervention consisted of an audio guided tour, the only physical intervention on the building itself were some red squares placed strategically around the complex for orientation purposes. Each visitor was furnished with a kit that consisted of a map and audio CD which gave instructions of how to move around the building and reconstructed the events that happened since the site was abandoned in the form of a narrative (part fact, part fiction), in turn based on layers of narrative from the discarded site. The audience was introduced to a shifting from a physical exploration of the building into a pseudo historical and poetical experience.

the site…



The vast Aiazzone complex lies south of Biella, in part of the town’s industrial outskirts. Situated on Trossi St, it was built between 1986-87. Constructed during the Biella’s second phase of industrial development (the first being the textile companies, one hundred years previously, situated by the river) the industrial landscape then moved to the other side of town to be near the Milan – Turin motorway.




the building was peppered with a random and ever shifting lanscape of contents, objects would appear and disappear only to reappear again in another location, even the caravan (inside which we found a receipt of ownership belonging to Giorgio Aiazzone himself), which had lain on its side for the first two  months of our visits, was one day mysteriously returned to an upright position…





maps were printed onto 1980’s computer paper found on site


the tour…

in all over the period of a couple of months we took around 200 visitors on the tour



The aiazzone complex is currently boarded up and no longer accessible. It is protected by security guards, and in 2008, it was cleared of much of its removable ephemera. It was said to the the site of a new monolithic supermarket complex, however very little movement has been witnessed in the last year. The structure however remains…

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