in dakar, senegal, MOST monti studio has fused two distant cultures together to create the italian institute of culture. the new intervention involved the transformation of an existing 1970s villa, which was redesigned around the core concept of two cultures – italian and senegalese – co-existing in harmony.
all images © andrea ceriani
arranged over a single story, the floor plan of the former residence has been rethought by MOST monti studio to cater for the functions of the cultural institute. from the street elevation there is a considerable wall surrounding the site, which helps provide privacy and shading. from here, passersby can catch a small glimpse of the colorful building that lies inside.
upon entering the main gate, a façade of color greets users. combining the zigzags of italian fashion house missoni with the typical hues of senegal clothes, the design provides a perfect fusion of the two cultures. the rhombus shape, which was hand-drawn with pencil and scotch-tape, is a clear nod to the craftsmanship of both italian and senegalese tailors.
the entrance and garden porch – a typical example of italian architecture – is inhabited by local geometric shapes. providing welcome shade from the hot sun, the wooden verandas use timber in an artisanal way, as each piece is unique and nailed by hand to the structure. these elements pay homage to the resourcefulness of working by hand rather than technology.
inside the cultural institute, the colors from the exterior continue into the interior. contrasting against the white of the building, the selected hues give the project its unique character. the italian cultural institute of dakar was inaugurated in january 2020.
project name: italian cultural institute of dakar
location: dakar, senegal
design: MOST monti studio
client: italian cultural institute of dakar
company: SICREA dakar
photography: andrea ceriani
cristina di giorgio, director italian cultural institute of dakar
ambassador francesco paolo venier, italian embassy in dakar
livia satullo, first secretary italian embassy in dakar