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Eterotopia, a territorial research and planning collective, has published its first book of investigation into the Sardinian archipelago of La Maddalena, a model of manifold and complex relationships, seen through the lens of a collective laboratory

La Maddalena. Atlas of an Occupation

a book about the territory and the unexpected alliances between the land and its occupants

29 May 2022

A manifesto book

La Maddalena. Atlas of an Occupation, is the founding manifesto of a design practice at the intersection of research, design and the interaction between different disciplines, which aspires to shape the intangibility and imaginaries rooted in a number of territories. Established on the basis of a research laboratory curated by Eterotopia in 2018, the book strives to propose strategies that find their strength in the alliance of diversity.


Territories are fields of experimentation and they generate layers of histories, phenomena and mythologies. As receptacles of customs and exceptions, they hold great challenges for contemporary architecture and urbanism. In its first publishing project, Eterotopia explores the contemporary condition of the Italian territory and its complexity, interweaving manifest and imagined conditions to sustain the dignity of the intangible heritage of places and transform it into projects.

Far from being a tourist guide to the archipelago, this book proposes a multi-layered planning that takes into account the lived experience of the inhabitants, its legends, geographies and the anthropological occurrences that animate it, preferring an oblique and transversal gaze over the surveyed territory as opposed to the zenithal vision of satellites and cartographers.

The theoretical reflections introducing this work complement the design visions collected during the interdisciplinary research laboratory. The event brought together more than one hundred and twenty architects, archaeologists, biologists, photographers and artists to reflect on the invisible resources of the Sardinian archipelago of La Maddalena.

A territorial investigation of the La Maddalena archipelago

The La Maddalena archipelago is a complex model of interdependent and connected relationships, which, in its uniqueness, is representative of different types of isolated systems found throughout Italy. La Maddalena. Atlas of an Occupation is the first territorial survey by the architectural collective Eterotopia and explores several issues related to the insular territory, whose history is characterized by a succession of occupations.

From the Napoleonic army to the prolific presence of NATO , from the unsuccessful affair of the G8 complex to the seasonal anthropic load of mass tourism, from vegetal colonizations to the cultural cross-pollinations of the port of La Maddalena, this island within the island has

recorded a continuous flow of occupations and abandonments, which makes it a model for the study of different themes at the conjunction between local and global.

Three years after the territorial research workshop in La Maddalena, Eterotopia dives into the depths of these land-filled seas to resurface with a unified vision, at the heart of a design practice on a territorial scale.

Eight visions in the form of an atlas tell the story of the layering, the histories, the imagery and architecture that celebrate the unexpected alliances between the land and its occupants.

The structure of the book is divided into different sections: Perspectives brings together a large body of reflections on territory-making in the form of five essays; Atlas of an Occupation relates the authors' interpretations of the surveyed territory and the relationships of contamination and force between the land and its occupants while last but not least, the 8 thematic sections develop the visions of the collective workshop in a multifaceted variety of contents.

La Maddalena. Atlas of an Occupation, which will be in bookstores from June 9th, will be published by Quodlibet as part of the Città e Paesaggio.

Fuori formato series. The book includes contributions by Luis Callejas, Stefano Boeri, Pippo Ciorra, Annalisa Gulino, Nicolò Fenu, ENORME Studio, VacuaMoenia, Parasite 2.0, Giaime Meloni,

Something Fantastic, Paolo Patelli, Traumnovelle, Giuseppe Ridolfi, urbz, Alterazioni Video, Orizzontale, Cherimus, Openfabric, CEA di Stagnali, False Mirror Office, Pascal Arnaud.

The layout design is by Studio Natale, a Rome-based graphic design studio.

The book is curated by Elena Sofia Congiu, Matteo De Francesco, Carlotta Franco, Samanta Sinistri, Giuditta Trani and Mara Usai.

The project was supported by the Sardinia Region, the La Maddalena Town Council and Ceramica Mediterranea.