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Architecture Contours East Africa

“After the end of the road” by Studio ICAI and Taosaina Lab [Antananarivo]

Tana Design Week

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In late 2022 Quentin Clémence and Alice Weil of Studio ICAI undertook a research trip in Madagascar focusing on housing structures in Zafimaniry county in the south-eastern highlands. During this trip they also had the opportunity to connect with Malagasy architects and designers, notably Sandrine Raveloson and Domi Sanji of Taosaina Lab. From this meeting, the two studios have been invited to develop a joint project for Tana Design Week, which will take place in Antananarivo from 11-18 March 2023 under the theme “Shaping a school is shaping a society”.

The project, “After the end of the road”, will present the two studios’ proposal for the rebuilding of a primary school in Mahitsy, a rural area 40km north of Antananarivo. The school is located in a very isolated area, after the end of a paved road, at the end of a track, difficult to access. It is currently in a state of disrepair and in the long term, the objective is to offer a new innovative school able to respond to the needs and challenges of the area.

The project considers a school as an ecosystem anchored in its cultural and geographical context. The installation will advocate for a return to traditional materials and an architecture emancipated from the rectangular form that takes into account users, their activities and needs. Combining local know-how and bio and geo-sourced materials with contemporary technological advances, the installation will create a space in brick masonry. A spiral form will house a screen showing a video of the groups’ reflections on building a school. Next to this space, an undulating bench, also in brick masonry, will provide furniture and symbolise the design and learning journey. Both the spiral and bench will be made by the school’s local masons, as well as the public through workshops during Tana Design Week. 


Tana Design Week was launched in 2022 by Johary Constellation to support and promote Malagasy design, and advocate for the establishing a design college in Madagascar.  Since April 2022, the Johary Constellation has been conducting design workshops with young Madagascans, students and professionals showing an interest in design. The project to provide Madagascar with its first design college draws inspiration from the new alternative models of social organisation that are emerging on a small scale. It also draws inspiration from the ecosystems of sustainability that coexist alongside institutional models. During design week, the school will be recruiting students and is scheduled to open in September 2023. The second edition of Tana Design Week aims to open up Malagasy design to the world. Participants for the 2023 edition will include pairs of Malagasy and international designers, who will each lead a team of students and/or professionals in creative workshops. The results of these workshops will constitute the content of the exhibition that will take place at the Gare Soarano. The projects are in the fields of architecture (reconstruction of a school), textiles, urban mobility, ecological materials, graphic design and design research.