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This project was a submission for the annual art festival ‘Stazione di Topolò’. This festival takes place in the Italian village Topolò, which is situated near the Slovenian border.

Il passaggio per il mulino

Topolò is one of the countless villages in the north of Italy which is fallen into decay to a certain extend. Only a few inhabitants remain. Every summer the village awakes for two weeks during Stazione. The festival originated in 1994 and was founded to celebrate, enrich and continue the culture of the mountain village. The contributions of artist, designers and musicians are not tended as self-centered expressions, but mainly as an interpretation or dialogue with the existing culture, population and environment.


Down by the riverside there is a beautiful ruin of a small watermill. After a short downhill hike, you will find two small houses joint by a dam. Eroded by time and the elements the dam has transformed into a small waterfall. On the other side of the river a stacked slate wall embraces the site.

The stories of the local inhabitants, eroded rock formations, and overgrown far stretching terraces echo traces of a rich culture and history. The Mulino is one of the strongest beacons showing shatters of lives which were ones lived, it is a ruin of a watermill complex. It lies in Topolò’s valley next to the Koderjana stream. It used to be one of the most important parts of the village. It provided flour, but more vivid are the memories told by the older villagers.

Two parts of the dam are still intact. The middle part has collapsed, through which a waterfall emerged. The core structure of the dam exists of natural stones, adjoined with a mix of smaller stones and mortar finished with a  kind of plaster. Seen from the top it seems like the original dam was somewhat bent.

The Mulino shows a strong history and has a rich presence. Our project ‘Il Passagio per il Mulino’, consists of a research, a series of texts and drawings and resulted in an architectural sculpture. The purpose of the sculpture is to strengthen a now fading dialogue between the village and Mulino, as a contribution to the way ‘Stazione di Topolò’ aims to connect Topolò with new people and ideas.

After visiting Topolò, analysing the village and its outskirts, and discussing its history with those who grew up in and around the village, we started to formulate an intervention, addition or extension to the Mulino site.

When visiting the site, the remains look convincingly enough to believe a dam has stretched across this river in earlier times. Nowadays it is quite daring to cross the water, but in the heydays this structure must have provided a calm passage.

The Mulino was once an indispensable part of Topolò, providing food throughout the year, and a gathering point in summer for families seeking coolness of the water. With our sculpture we like to reopen and strengthen the connection and dialogue between the village and the complex.