Rationalism in the Province of Como: more than just an app!

Davide Orlando, Italy

Author: Davide Orlando and collaborators, as a commission by the Culture Department of the Province of Como
Proposal type: Demonstration
Reference website: http://rationalism.albegor.com

Rationalism in the Province of Como

We created a multimedia tour about Rationalist architecture in the Lake Como area, including the towns of Como, Cernobbio and Tremezzo. This area can be considered as a real “open-air museum”, mainly known to historians and people with a passion for architecture.

The purpose of the initiative was to promote and disseminate knowledge of the main points of interests about Italian Rationalism in the Lake Como area among tourists, locals and students, as part of the communication actions planned in the P.I.A. Ecolarius project, managed by the Province of Como.

The focus of the first part has been the release of an universal app for the iOS platform, which means for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.
The design of the app is based on the audioguide usage model, with audio tracks in the three languages (italian, english and german), enriched by current and contemporary photos, as well as original drawings provided by the archives of the architects Terragni, Cattaneo e Lingeri.

The challenge, which actually became a strong point, was to present the user a pretty specific cultural theme of the Lake Como area such as Rationalist architecture, in a simple and appealing way.
Working together with different professionals, we combined texts made according to storytelling techniques and recorded by professional speakers, with an important photographic section and an intuitive user interface, in an holistic way: the value of the final result had to be superior to the algebraic sum of the components.

The iOS version of the app was launched in late September 2013, at the end of the touristic season, thus giving us time to plan the promotion of the tour for the next season, as well as starting a debate about initiatives aimed at de-seasoning the tourist flow in the Lake Como area, looking at Expo 2015 and beyond.
Although it’s a specific cultural theme, we got positive feedback so far, also thanks to local media that helped give visibility to the project.

In the first part of 2014 we’ll complete it by releasing the Android version of the app and by adding new contents to improve the tour of the so-called “Rationaslist district” in the town of Como, including buildings designed by Gianni and Enrico Mantero.
We’ll also start a series of related services, such an audio podcast and rentable audioguides. In this way we’ll be able to offer a complete and accessible service to anyone, not only to tourists traveling with their smartphone or tablet at hand.

The demonstration at MWF2014 will focus on the main design features used to make the app and its contents, such as storytelling techniques, gamification elements of the user interface, accessibility features such as multilingual subtitles, geolocation and geofencing.

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