The troublemaking activist UFO group incarnated a trend in Italian radical architecture that was especially involved in reality and its re-appropriation. In the late 1960s, UFO came up with the idea of freeing creative behaviour and the imagination through the use of techniques (pasteboard, polyurethane, inflatables) and areas of expression (comic strip, advertising, film…), well removed from the traditional architectural language. Close to the semiological theories of Umberto Eco, who was then teaching at the faculty of architecture in Florence, UFO saw its architectural and design projects (Ristorante Sherwood, 1972) and objects (Paramount MGM lights, 1969, and Dollar, 1969) as “signs”, at the service of a counter-communication. Their “narrative architecture”, imbued with a pop vocabulary, displayed an obvious irony by recycling and hijacking the codes and symbols of consumer society. Their urban activities were intended to bring about a spectacularization of architecture, in the hope of transforming it into urban and environment “guerrilla” action: the “inflatable” actions of the Urbo-éphémères (1968), the territorial and typological analyses of the Maisons Anas (1970) and the Tour d’Italie (1971), a demonstration of the impossibility of designing in capitalist society.
UFO, initially called “Group 67”, was created in 1967 by architectural students at Florence University, gathered around Lapo Binazzi (Riccardo Foresi, Titti Maschietto, Carlo Bachi, and Patrizia Cammeo, who were joined in 1968 by Sandro Gioli, Massimo Giovannini and Mario Spinella). In 1973, the group was involved in the creation of Global Tools, a laboratory for alternative design. During the 1970s, they took part in numerous exhibitions, shows and competitions, and contributed to several art and architecture magazines. From 1972 onward, the group’s activities were directed by Lapo Binazzi and continued in various forms until 1978.