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Presented by Arts Council Malta & Open Square collective

Re-contextualising the traditional Maltese village core

Urban Fabric re-contextualises the traditional Maltese village core by merging two elements – traditional city planning and the Phoenician-Maltese tradition of fabric production and dyeing. The installation uses wood, recycled stone and organic fabric that is sustainable and certified eco-friendly as its main components. This is in accordance with the artists’ ethos of recyclability and eco-consciousness. These components create a ‘street-like’ layout that enables the viewer to interact directly with the installation.

About the project

The project was conceived through a fusion of art, architecture and innovative design

The wider context in which the original concept and ideas are located is based on research that was carried out at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. Here, the team retraced the footsteps of the Phoenicians, experiencing the fine fabrics and artefacts of the time and using this experience as foundation.

A creative journey

The installation

The installation uses as its source material documentation about how the Phoenicians used to dye wool and linen garments using (mainly) two types of sea-snail species which are common along the Mediterranean shores – the Murex trunculus and the Murex brandaris. The installation piece draws on eco-friendly methods as an alternative to ancient practices.

Thus, Urban Fabric strives to encourage discourse about the environment by presenting a well-researched, thought-provoking creative installation that combines aesthetic and spatial awareness with activism.

The installation will enjoy a prominent showcase during the London Design Biennale at Somerset, in London. Audiences in Malta will also be able to engage with the installation via this website, as we invite you to stay with us on this journey as Malta’s ambassadors at the biggest design event on an international forum.

The Team

Open Square Collective
The people behind the project

Open Square is an art and design collective consisting of four members: Luke Azzopardi, Trevor Borg, Matthew Joseph Casha and Alessia Deguara. These four professional artists are known and respected names on the local and international artistic circuit, having already collaborated on high-profile projects.

Each specialised in their respective field – ranging from architecture to visual art, spatial design, textile/fashion design, project management and creative direction – together they drive the Open Square collective, the first Maltese representative taking part in the prestigious London Design Biennale via the project Urban Fabric.

The team also includes two support members – veteran journalist Ramona Depares on communications and Gilbert Micallef as external advisor on all financial matters.

Matthew Joseph Casha

Matthew is an Architect and Civil Engineer specialising in architectural and spatial design. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Architecture in Malta, Matthew pursued his studies with a Masters Degree in Construction Project Management in Aberdeen, Scotland. Before founding his own studio in 2016, Matthew worked on several major national projects, which involved integration of spatial planning with high end detailed design. Matthew is also experienced in project leadership, as well as in the organisation of local design exhibitions and festivals. Today, through his studio, Matthew has been exploring and undertaking new and innovative design projects using modern technologies, such as 3D scanning, drone and 3D printing technologies.

Trevor Borg

Trevor Borg is a multi-disciplinary artist and Head of Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta. He holds a PhD in Fine Art practice from the University of Leeds and his work spans across a diverse range of media from drawing and painting to sculpture, film, and installations. His work has been shown in numerous museums and galleries internationally, including the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale, the Beijing International Art Biennale 2022 and in various other countries. He is a member of the creative practice-led research network LAND2, curator of various exhibitions and author of a number of articles and academic papers.

Luke Azzopardi

Luke Azzopardi is a couturier and multidisciplinary artist from Victoria, Gozo. After studying at Central Saint Martins (UAL) and the University of Malta (UM), Azzopardi launched his eponymous brand. The Luke Azzopardi studio focuses on the idea of timeless elegance stemming from Azzopardi’s academic background in costume history. The creative director was awarded the prestigious ‘Premio Cultura e Moda 2016’ by L’Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the ‘Fashion Designer of the Year 2018’ award by LovinMalta, and has most recently been shortlisted for a number of Premju ghall-Arti by Arts Council Malta. The nature of Azzopardi’s work looks to fashion as an art object.

Alessia Deguara

Alessia recently graduated with a Master in Architecture (Architectural Design) from the University of Malta with a focus on anthropology and community driven architecture. As part of her Bachelors Degree in Built Environment, she also attended the University of Politecnico di Milano in 2018. Currently Alessia is a Junior Architect at Createit Studio, where she specializes in local residential spaces and landscaping design projects. Spatial interior architecture is an area which Alessia is particularly interested in, especially when it responds to and reflects the needs of the individuals.

Support team

Ramona Depares

Ramona Depares is an award-winning veteran name on the Maltese cultural landscape, active both as an award-winning journalist and artist. For close to a decade she was the editor of the Arts & Culture pullout on the Sunday Times of Malta, responsible for cementing the first fully-fledged cultural section on mainstream media. Ramona has published two books under the Merlin Publishers imprint – Beltin: Stejjer Minn Nies Minsija and The Patient in Hospital Zero. Today, she runs her own digital portal, focused on arts and culture, working with high-profile players on the cultural landscape and PCOs like Teatru Malta, Manoel Theatre, Spazju Kreattiv and others.

Gilbert Micallef

Gilbert Micallef has been working in the field of accounting and auditing for 19 years. He set up his private practice in 2014, advising clients on different aspects of business ranging from compliance, financing, start-ups, restructuring, state aid opportunities, tax obligations and more. He is also a registered and practising auditor. Gilbert services various sectors including tourism, EU funding, arts foundations, artists, media companies, insurance, finance, retailers/wholesalers and medical suppliers. He is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Malta Institute of Accountants and the Malta Institute of Management.


3D Urban Fabric