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VERSIONEGOLD free university journal created by Starc Mantova



“Hey guys…we’ve got a suggestion for a cool university project we can all create together…” “..please, let’s talk about it in front of a mojito…it’s been a very long day!” So it was that sitting in a bar sipping our mojito, clearly at Cubano, we slowly started thinking about doing something for us students here at the campus. The next morning at 10:00 a.m., drinking a coffee near the lecture room, we already had the approval by the principal to create a student association, later on, at 10.30 a.m. of the same morning “Architecture… Students… Students…Architecture Arc…Stu…St...Arc…Starc… STARC!” for the first time this little wor(l) d came up! It seems meaningless, but try to think about how many times you’ve actually said the word “Starc”…! This is how our association became one, thinking about architecture students (unique creatures in their own way), our everyday life on the campus here in Mantua, our routine and all the aspect that characterize it. Starting from a first meeting with only three students, we’ve become a group of thirty-three friends, creating our little world made of orange. Our orange circle that invaded Facebook walls from time to time, that has been printed on bracelets that you’ve worn during those unforgettable nights, content of having classes full of students that were interested in our free courses, ‘til accumulating 900 people to celebrate together the beginning of summer. After that first meeting of only three

students, followed days of mobilization recruiting, of big tasks and above all many uncertainties; but our motto has always been “unity is our strength” and the will to help each other as students, but especially as people, has made us work together in a common effort in improving student’s life at the campus, each other growing in knowledge and passion for our future profession. The first big idea was to organize some free courses that could help in getting more familiar with some software that we use on a daily basis, not by presumption of sitting behind a desk, but with the motivation of having a chance to help others by giving them bites of our personal knowledge collected during these years and with the intention of organizing moments of gathering between students of different classes and different ages. With the second series of courses, new members stepped in the association delivering new ideas and projects, working on thoughts we’ve had in our pocket for a while, that today represent our “Starc production”. Courses, study trips, organizing expositions of some works of different classes, events and, let’s not forget, college parties so we can “live the city by night”: all of this is made possible thanks to our campus that believed in us from the beginning, but above all to Starc members that have chosen to give their time, personality and first of all their passion and heart to be able to appreciate life on campus. Versione talks about all of this, about us, about you.

Good architecture should be a projection of life itself, and that implies an intimate knowledge of biological, social, technical and artistic problems. Walter Gropius



VERSIONE GOLD 2 2017 part


Contemporary architects Silent architectures: Francesco Venezia Geometrical abstraction and complexity of the space while approaching Mansilla + Tuñon’s study The architecture of Alejandro Aravena, synthesis and partecipation 18

10 14

22 26 30

Contemporary architecture Building in Venice: Vittorio Gregotti and Cino Zucchi in comparison Le Corbusier in Mantova and the city on stilts The Albere

Architects in history The intense poetry of the absolute 34 The profane nature of beauty 38 The folly of insignificance 42

46 50 54

Architecture in history Studiolo: to grow the soul and satisfy the eye Castel Del Monte Villa Giacobazzi in Sassuolo

58 62 66

Modern architects Heinrich Tessenow The treasure of the shadows: Louis Isidore Kahn Alvar Aalto: mediator between nature and men

70 74 78

Modern architecture Chandigarh architecture as an expression of an indipendent and democratic India Pragmatism and study of the shape in the Jonas Salk Institute of Louis Kahn Technological meticolousness and laconic fastness: Villa Tugendhat by Mies Van Der Rohe

Rediscovered architectures Restoration and alchemy: when the deterioration becomes an opportunity of rebirth. Cultural center of San Francesco in Santpedor Archeology as recovery object: restoration of Borgo San Michele in Pisa 74 Landscape as a laboratory: the rigorous restoration of Cannatà & Fernandes at Guimarães 78


Urban spaces Lorsch UNESCO World heritage site: a place reflected in time 84 Patio das Escolas: a modern poem 90 PROAP: Silves castle, the song of the landscape 94

106 98 102



Events journal All the world’s futures Milano Buenos Aires: roundtrip

Jefferson and Palladio: how to build a new world Design process in brazilian modern architecture. Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi: a lecture of Gabriel Kogan Forms and Forces: permanent decades and italian evolution You must be obsessed with life! Design and dream cities Marmomacc: stone + design + technology. International trade fair In the head of Vincenzo Scamozzi: an intellectual architect in the fade of the Reinassance 77 million paintings for Palazzo Te: Brian Eno’s digital art in Mantua Brick, mortar, intellect and composition: Gabinete de Arquitectura Stefano Boeri, what does a forest in the city? The Japanese House: architecture and life from 1945 till today The Gelman Collection and the story of a crazy love Simple as all my life

122 126 130 122 126 130 122 126 130 122 126 130 122

126 130 122 122

Art and Architecture Peter Gentenaar, suggestions of paper poems Felice Varini: the space becomes a canvas James Turrell and the power of light Reflected horizons by Phillip K Smith III




136 138 140

A tecnological element Biomimethics: bones as anti-seismic structures Biomimetics: nature as design starting point Ancient architectures and new shining feelings

142 144 146

Design Vespa, the synbol of italian Dolce Vita Kartell, the plastic culture Gaetano Pesce: the design is female Art

148 150 152

Viva la vida! Edward Hopper, a film director without film Art is for everyone

154 156 158

Graphics Brand identity Which Pantone are you? Which type are you? Part 1

160 162 164

Fashion style Karl Lagerfeld, the dreamer prince of fashion Fashion advertising: between marketing and provocation Coco Chanel: a feminist fashionista

Contemporary architects Silent architectures: Francesco Venezia Geometrical abstraction and complexity of the space while approaching Mansilla + Tuñon’s study The architecture of Alejandro Aravena, synthesis and partecipation

Contemporary architecture Building in Venice: Vittorio Gregotti and Cino Zucchi in comparison Le Corbusier in Mantova and the city on stilts The Albere

Architects in history The intense poetry of the absolute The profane nature of beauty The folly of insignificance

Architecture in history Studiolo: to grow the soul and satisfy the eye Castel Del Monte Villa Giacobazzi in Sassuolo

Modern architects Heinrich Tessenow The treasure of the shadows: Louis Isidore Kahn Alvar Aalto: mediator between nature and men

Modern architecture Chandigarh architecture as an expression of an indipendent and democratic India Pragmatism and study of the shape in the Jonas Salk Institute of Louis kahn Technological meticolousness and laconic fastness: Villa Tugendhat by Mies Van Der Rohe

Rediscovered architectures Restoration and alchemy: when the deterioration becomes an opportunity of rebirth. Cultural Center of San Francesco in Santpedor Archeology as recovery object: restoration of Borgo San Michele in Pisa Landscape as a laboratory: the rigorous restoration of Cannatà & Fernandes at Guimarães

Urban spaces Lorsch UNESCO World heritage site: a place reflected in time Patio das Escolas: a modern poem PROAP: Silves castle, the song of the landscape



Contemporary architects

silent architectures:


venezia by Lorenzo Fravezzi english translation by Mateja Lazarević

The undiscussed master of architecture Francesco Venezia, very prolific in theories of architecture (for example “Che cosa è l’architettura”, Electa, 2011 and “Le idee e le Occasioni”, Electa, 2006 ) as in real projects, now designs something extremely measured and reflective, in which the equilibrium of spaces is the main point of the project itself. It’s an architecture built by elements not easy to see at once, full of references from structures of the past. Francesco Venezia was born in 1944 in Lauro, a little country near Caserta, where he strarted his long career in architecture, both theoretical and practical. In the mean time he used to be professor in architectural design in some of the most important international schools as

IUAV in Venice, the Naples university and the academy of Mendrisio. The design method of the architect can be captured from the results of his architecture which leave the visitor somehow with the desire of contemplating and reflecting about the architectural theme of the project. Venezia himself, in a short essay, writes: “One of the goals in our work of architects


Francesco Venezia. Source:


Contemporary architects it’s somehow to oppose to the main practical reason that leads to build a building. The goal is to give the building a timeless image which can exceed the time of its use and which will provide a new estetic reason that will be worth even when the building will just lay in ruin”. In this deepening about the work of the architect we will take as examples some of his projects of the last thirty years. We will see the emblematic example of the Gibellina museum (1981-87), a little city in Sicily that was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968; the restoration of the Buida district in Alcoy (1988-89), the materials laboratory building of IUAV university in Mestre (1995-2002), and one of his last projects, the interior design of the archeological museum of Naples. One of the most important works of Francesco Venezia is the Gibellina museum, disegned and built between the 1981 and the 1987. The architect defines this kind of project “architettura di spolio”, a structure where old elements from other buildings can receive a new life. As the architect said: “...buildigs that returns to the earth, to a natural condition, in a way to be re-built in a new building”. The Gibellina museum was built in the new city, the one that was born after the earthquake. The architect applies the theme of the re-building by posing in the new building a fragment of the Palazzo di Lorenzo, in memory of the old Gibellina city. The fragment was discompose and rebuilt in a courtyard, thin and long in a way that the courtyard can complete an urban measure and have an equal comparison with the fragment. We feel like invited to enter in this complex of walls and ramps made by stone, which define a promenade architecturale in just one introspective place, similar to the Danteum by Giuseppe Terragni. Another interesting work by Francesco Venezia is the reconstruction project of the urban limits in Alcoy, Spain, designed in the end of ‘80s. It’s an example of how a big building can be inserted in an already existing context and creating a relation with the urban elements

and the surroundig landscape. The architect worked on the morphology of the valley, designing a big structural system whose scale can be related to the San Jorge bridge, very close to the city. On the top, the structure ends with some platforms, an immediate recall to the Villa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera. The intervention connects the deeper part of the valley to the citadelle and create a relationship with both of them. Almost ten years later the architect started working on a very different project, the materials laboratory building of IUAV university in Mestre. Till now we have seen aulic themes as urban recomposition and the creation of a new museum from ruins, so that this two topics could obscuring an industrial project like the one in Mestre. However Francesco Venezia built a building with a great formality, designed as a stereometrical volume covered in stone that seems to fly. The trick is in the construction of a pool digged in the stone and from which the building stands. The pool it’s also a continuous transparent element at the basement of the building and can guarantee natural light also from the bottom. The interiors surround the central duplex volume covered by a big skylight which can guarantee a bright place for laboratory activities. The structure terms in a pensile garden looking at the sky. It was built around the central volume and characterized by the tectonics of the cubic skylights and the structural beams. The newest intervention of Francesco Venezia is the interior design of the Salone della Meridiana in the archeological museum of Neaples and Pompei. There were exhibited archaeological finds and artworks from the vusuvian eruption in 79 a.C. One of the most interesting parts of the intervention is the design of a temporary exposition near Pompei. The architect realized a wooden pyramid inside the old amphitheater of the roman city. Inside


the pyramid he inscribed a white dome to create an ethereal space with zenital light. The correct place where to put the moulds of the eruption’s victimes. Referring to the same project the architect repeats the words of Leopardi: “...Torna al celeste raggio - dopo l’antica obblivion l’estinta, - Pompei...”

on the right, from the top: 1. Gibellina museum. Internal courtyard. Source: “Le idee e le Occasioni” pag.74, Electa, Milano, 2006 2. Recomposition of the Buida Oli district in Alcoy. Source: “Le idee e le Occasioni” pag. 45, Electa, Milano, 2006 3. Materials laboratory building of IUAV university, Mestre. Detail of the facade. Source: “Le idee e le Occasioni” pag. 158, Electa, Milano, 2006 4.Exposiotion at Pompei. The white dome into the pyramid. Source: wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/07/ i-calchinella-piramide-di-francesco-veneziaanfiteatro-pompei.-foto-di-andrea-jemolo.jpg


Contemporary architects

Geometrical abstraction and complexity of the space while approaching

Mansilla + Tuñón's study by Lorenzo Fravezzi english translation by Aurora Biondaro, Giorgia Giuzio and Lorenzo Lodigiani

Undoubtly, the job of every architect would not exist if it were not for geometry. We often talk about form and volumetry as a result of it, also about the space that geometrical forms give back to our architectures, but we rarely dwell on the abstraction that defines geometry itself and the spaces that architecture naturally creates. In this closer examination about the Mansilla + Tunon’s architectures, we will see how this relationship is frequently used, giving birth to great aesthetical and spatial masterpieces. an international level, inter alia, plenty of first places on design contests and in 2007 the “Mies Van Der Rohe Award”, earned thanks to one of their best works: “Castilla y Lèon contemporary Art Museum” (MUSAC). Beside the professional activity, there is also the academical one: they became professors in several universities, such as the ETSAM of Madrid, the EPFL of Lausanna, the Städelschule of Frankfurt and lately at the architecture’s school of Princeton University. The nominee for the direction of the Spanish architecture’s “Biennial X”, in 2009, has been a further prestigious award.

The Mansilla+Tuñón Architects’ firm, has been named after the two co-founders Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón Álvarez [0], both from Madrid and both graduated at the ETSAM in the early 80’s. The two architects continued their PhD and later on, they published their studies, while starting their professional path. Starting from 1982, they had the opportunity to regularly cooperate in various projects with Rafael Moneo; by doing so, they got the chance to get better with their professional skills. In 1992, they opened their firm with which they obtained numerous prices on


Luis Moreno Mansilla + Emilio Tuñón Alvarez. Source : DIv1aOJRjFs/s1600/CF006408+CUADRADA+B&N.jpg


Contemporary architects They were also dedicated an issue of the renowned magazine “Croquis”, exactly issue 161, published in 2012, in honour of the architect Luis Mansilla, unexpectedly passed away on February of the same year. Inside the issue, drawn up before his death and published after that, the architectonical culture of the study is exalted by the analysis of a leading wire named “Active Geometries”. This is exactly what we are going to talk about in this brief essay: the geometrical abstraction and complexity of the architectonical space, which characterises the most the Mansilla + Tuñón’s works of art. One of the study projects’ traits is the connection established between the architectonical volumes’ geometrical composition and the internal spaces’ intricacy, which arises from that. Below, we are going to examine some of the two architects’ most significant masterpieces, accomplished during a period of 20 years: starting from the begging of the firm’s birth, until Luis Moreno Mansilla’s departure, which once and for all caused the end of Mansilla + Tuñón’s projects. The Archaeology and Fine Arts Zamora’s Museum, has been one of the first projects carried out by their firm. It immediately lets people gathering the core of the two architects, probably inspired by Ràfael Moneo. It has a very synthetic design but at the same time it is full of meanings and details that enables a non-so obvious enjoyment. The structure gratefully fits in the historic heart of Zamora: a stereometric volume dressed in local stone conceals in the inside a huge spatial complexity, in a succession of more reduced spaces and bigger rooms in which the zenithal light is the common denominator. The peculiarity of the internal spaces has been hidden on purpose, so that it could only shine through watching at the museum from the top of the old district, where the architecture, aimed to show the roofing as the projection of the complexity of the internal spaces, seems to be a sectioned shaft.

Leon’s auditorium, built-up between 1994 and 2002, is another very interesting project. The framework of this architecture is opposed to the previous one. As we can see, the building has two main kernels: the volume of the “bifocal” concert hall, which, depending on the necessity, can lodge 600 or 1200 seats, and the linearity of the milieu in which are accommodated various expositive spaces linked together by flights, directly leaned against the back of the major façade. Composed by windows different in their shape and dimension, the construction mirrors a great facade articulation despite a completely different internal composition, given by the flights that mutually alternate on the dissimilar structure’s levels. Landing on the 2000’s, precisely between 2001 and 2004, the “Castilla y Lèon contemporary Art Museum” (MUSAC), will be designed and then carried out. Thanks to this work, Mansilla + Tuñón’s firm in 2007 received, among others awards, the Mies Van der Rohe Award. The Castilla y Lèon contemporary Art Museum could be defined one of the most recognizable works regarding the concept that we used as a gateway of their architecture. If we try to analyze this great and complex building, we immediately notice that the spaces in the inside don’t follow the volumetric schemes of the outside, but instead we see how spaces are quite unvarying, using double or triple height spaces, and showing only the towers on the outside, used to diffuse light. The Lalín Town Hall in Pontevedra, built between 2004 and 2011, could be considered as the evolution of this language, with his shell that contains circular spaces whose planimetry seems to be independent from the one on the outside. Another example of the firm’s architecture is a famous restoration of an existing historical artifact, which is the “Atrio Relais & Chateaux and Restaurant”, fulfilled in Càceres between 2005 and 2010. It is an operation of receptive architecture in which the architects had to work on, an ancient


castle in the city center of a small village of Estremadura. It was planned to work on the shell of the small castle using different methods. Around the perimeter indeed, doors and windows have been closed so that the superimposition of different eras and architectural elements was clearly recognizable, while on the inner courtyard, the facade has been treated with a partition of vertical elements in two or three sets with the aim of filtering even more the internalexternal relationship already released by the court. The choice of a so stiff facade system has been made so that it can be better handled, since it is an historical artifact. This translates to a better distribution of the spaces in, whose faces the outward through the selected breaches on the historical perimeter.

on the right, from the top: 1. The Archaeology and Fine Arts Zamora’s Museum, Zamora, 1992-96. Source: 2. León’s Auditorium, León, 1994-02. Source: www.mansilla-tunon-architects.blogspot. it/2011/10/27-leon-auditorium.html 3. Lalín Town Hall, Pontevedra, 20042011. Source: 4. Castilla y Lèon contemporary Art Museum (MUSAC), León, 2001-04. Source: 5. Atrio Relais & Châteaux and Restaurant, Cáceres, 2005-10. Source:


Contemporary architects

The architecture of

Alejandro Aravena, synthesis and participation by Alessandro Peja english translation by Cristina Lonardi

“So that being the strength to build by itself, the force of common sense, or the force of nature, all these forces must be translated into shape and what is shaping and moulding that form is not concrete, brick or wood; but it is life itself. The synthesis power of design is just the attempt to put the strength of life in the deepest heart of architecture. “ From the October 2014 speech to TEDglobal Alejandro Aravena, born in Santiago de Chile on June 22, 1967, graduated in 1992 at the Pontifical University of Chile and attended postgraduate courses at IUAV and at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts. In 1994 he founded the Elemental Architecture Studio and, in parallel with his professional activity, he took up teaching at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and Harvard (from 2000 to 2004). Aravena, with its “Do tank” project and the

Elemental studio, works on architectural issues in the most synthetic way possible, always looking for the solution that most of all benefits primarily to the community, while keeping an eye on environmental and economic issues. In fact, his architectural philosophy is more focused on good practice than rigorous intellectual concepts, and that’s why he won the Pritzker Prize in 2016, accompanied by Tom Pritzker’s words “Aravena has been able to show


Alejandro Aravena Source:


Contemporary architects how architecture can, at its best, improve people’s lives”. The projects that follow will show everyone how the basic approach to Elemental is to find a simple, economical, sustainable answer and above all shared with the questions that architecture needs today. To understand how these principles are translated into practice, we will see four significant experiences of Aravena’s studio. The first project is the neighbourhood of Elemental Quinta Monroy, where the studio was supposed to respond to the requirement to build homes for 100 families with $ 10,000 available for each family to buy land, build homes and provide infrastructure. So the study proposes a simple and innovative solution: as the funds only cover a 40 m² home, half the area needed for a good quality home, the project includes modular homes containing all primary structures such as kitchen, stairs and bathroom, while the inhabitant has the possibility of expanding the house according to its needs up to 80 m². This participative approach has allowed a range of people excluded from the market to live in normal living conditions and built a small community that finds strength in collaboration. The second project is the Anacleto Angelini Innovation Center in Santiago de Chile, winner of a competition in 2012. The theme this time was office buildings, so Aravena studies how canonical models have a central structural core containing vertical links, seprate floors piled up one another and finally an outer glass casing. This, however, involves many environmental problems, internal living and sociality as every occupant of the building lives only its own floor.Thus the project overrides these principles by drawing a central cavity over which all the offices can be seen, which can better control the light while the mass is carried to the façade, without losing connection with the surrounding landscape, on the contrary Aravena creates large openings which become a collective place. This internal distribution gives the volume a definite and rigorous geometry

outside, a mass that stands monolithic and proposes an aesthetic that is not obsolete but timeless. The third project concerns the reconstruction of the Constitucion riverfront areas after the tsunami that struck it in 2010. The project starts looking at the most obvious solutions, leaving an area of ​​flow to the mass of water or building a great wall that hampers the natural force. The first solution creates a problem by occupying abusively the area, while the latter is irresponsible since Japan’s experience teaches how environmental disasters can not be avoided. So the study begins to involve the people, given the opportunity to draw a vast area of ​​the city from scratch. The consultation suggests that the issues involved are the lack of decent public spaces and the loss of water connection by the city. The analysis leads to a simple answer to the construction of a public park with the insertion of a forest, which is a collective space, giving quality to those areas of the city, and the trees serve as a friction for a possible tsunami. Here’s how the people involved could give a simple and concise answer to a complex problem. The last experience of the Pritzker Prize we will talk about represents the sum of Aravena’s thinking, so we speak of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale: “Reporting from the Front”. The Chilean architect has been chosen to be the curator and about the theme of the exhibition says, “It will cover sharing with a wider public in the work of people looking at the horizon in search of new fields of action, offering examples in which more dimensions are synthesized, integrating the pragmatic with existential, pertinence with audacity, creativity with the common sense. These are the fronts that we would like different professionals to give us news, sharing success stories and spectacular cases where architecture has done, makes and will make a difference”. Attending this meeting were the most important architects and studios in the world, including


SANAA, Mateus, Chipperfield, Tadao Ando, ​​TAM Associates (for the Italian pavilion) and many others. In particular, the Aravena installation interpreted the theme by reusing 100 tons of scrap material from the previous biennial of art, creating an entrance setting with downcast aluminium elements that act as a filter and prologue of the exposition. From these and from all the other Elemental projects, you can see how Aravena is the trait d’union between archistar and everyday life, responding to the needs of the contemporary world with simplicity and great architectural abilities.

on the right, from the top: 1. The neighbourhood of Elemental Quinta Monroy. Source: uploads/sites/6/2015/06/ELE-MON-002.jpg 2. Innovation Center Anacleto Angelini. Source: 2016/01 / Centro_de_Innovacion_UC_1.jpg 3. Interior of the Innovation Center Anacleto Angelini. Source: www.domusweb. it/content/dam/domusweb/en/architecture/2014/10/22/scientific_innovation_centre/gallery/rbig/Aravena-Scientific-innovation-Centre-8.jpg 4. Project for reconstruction of the long river in Constitucion. Source: Elemental.-Mitigation-Anti-Tsunami-Park-inside-PRES-Sustainable-Post-Tsunami-Reconstruction-Plan-Constituci%C3%B3n-Chile-201 0-2016-2-e1463039611519.jpg 5. Arrangement of Aravena for the XV biennale of architecture in Venice. Source: i m a g e / 2 0 1 6 / 0 5 / 2 5 / C u l t u r e / Fo t o % 2 0 Gallery/_AVZ4373.jpg


Contemporary architecture

Building in Venice: Vittorio Gregotti and Cino Zucchi in comparison by Tomas Maria Lopez

“Compatibility of the Modern Movement and its Principles with the Idea of ​​History. This is the fundamental theme of my generation and that is what we have been questioning every time we have faced cases of this nature. Venice was the best from this point of view.” Vittorio Gregotti How can a new construction project fit into a historical city with a secular stratification? In order find answers to this question, we don’t need to move to Portugal or travel overseas. Without going far way, in the seventies Venice was the subject of important architectural and urban experiments that marked the current conception of the project in historical context.

Since the 1960’s, Venice has begun a process of urban transformation aimed at saving the city from the increasing abandonment of its citizens. Many dismantled industrial areas are transformed into residences and whole new neighborhoods are built in the city’s historic fabric. Vittorio Gregotti first and Cino Zucchi later, will be responsible for the realization of two of these. Built nearly two


Top: view of public space in Gregotti’s project. Note the language unit of the different buildings. Bottom: one of the visible views from the public space in the neighborhood designed by Zucchi. The strong relationship with the lagoon is visible. Source: photo of the author

Contemporary architecture decades ago by two architects graduated at Politecnico di Milano, both Biennale’s directors, in the same city and in response to the same themes, but in different ways. Gregotti works in the area of ​​the ex-Saffa factory in Cannaregio West, a few steps from Santa Lucia Station, beginning the construction in 1981. Starting with the study of the city and the relationship between urban typology and urban morphology, Gregotti adopts a closed system, set on two main axes, north-south and east-west, defining the so called “Campo Lungo” (long field), the main public space. Two long courtyard volumes are settled north, aligned with the system defined by the Cannaregio canal curtain residences, which develop perpendicular towards the inside of the lot. A long “S” building defines the boundary of the intervention to the east, following the location and shape of an ancient canal. Other three compact volumes help to close the sides of the Campo Lungo. The arrangement of volumes generates a wide variety of open spaces that follow a clear hierarchy: the “Campo” (square), the “calli” (venetian streets) and the courtyards. Gregotti elaborates a language derived from the study of the elements of Venetian architectural tradition such as the “Altana” (wooden terrace on the top of the building), the use of Istrian stone, the treatment of plaster for the external covering and the crossed windows, applied by their rational interpretation with small variations in the different buildings of the Project, but maintaining a strong unity of the overall image. In homogeneous volumes, he combines different typological residences. In the courtyard buildings, for example, the ground floor houses senior residences while on the upper three floors develops a triplex crowned by the altana. Zucchi’s project is instead at Giudecca, built in 1995 replacing Junghans’s dismantled industry, which in the past produced clocks. From the planimetric point of view Zucchi chooses a mixed urban system, arranged in

relation to a central field overlooking the large building of the pre-existing school and the renovated building of the old factory, designed for theater. Four volumes to the east are organized to form one block while another four to the south are oriented perpendicular to the water, opening up important views towards the lagoon. A strong point in the project is perhaps the fact that the buildings to be built have been assigned to several architects, and Zucchi designed five of them, giving the neighborhood a great variety and a picturesque character. The architect maintains the same size of apartments within each volume and works on the image, he thinks to be a fundamental element of relationship with the city, assigning each building a different character, a different “mask”. “In the project of the Junghans area I was forced to confront with the myth of Venice more than with the real city: in that place of the island of Giudecca the existing buildings had little” Venetian “, meaning with this the pink image from Postcard that has overlaid the city until replacing it. But this literary image of Venice was a real problem, because it heavily influenced the expectations of the people who judged the project. “ Cino Zucchi A significant comparison between the two districts can be established between the urban system, the typology diversity management and the architectural language adopted. In the project of Gregotti the unity of the buildings language, is contrasted by the variation of the public spaces, which are modified to give hierarchy to the places. The complexity of the analysis and the richness of planimetric solutions seem to be contradicted by this language, which in spite of its ability to redefine traditional elements - been repeated on all the buildings of the project, extended over two hectares of cities - gives it an excessive unity, making the urban sequence monotonous and


giving to the neighborhood more the scale of a “palace” than the scale of the small residences. Cino Zucchi’s project is solved in an opposite way. The Public space maintains a very uniform, recognizable character, and the buildings become landmarks because of their peculiarities. Zucchi’s choice of arranging south-combed buildings and opening new perspectives on the lagoon turns out to be correct, strongly linking public space with the site. Trusting in the fact that the best analysis is personal, the invitation is to visit these neighborhoods. The ticket costs a little and the experience counts more than six thousand characters.

on the right, from the top: 1. Planimetry of the neighborhood designed by Gregotti to Cannaregio. In black the newly built buildings. Source: graphic authoring of the author 2. Planimetry of the neighborhood designed by Zucchi to Giudecca. In black the newly built buildings. Source: graphic authoring of the author 3. Aerial view from the south of the district in Cannaregio. Source: 4. Aerial view from the south of the neighborhood to the Giudecca. Source: www.


Contemporary architecture

Le Corbusier in Mantova

and the City on stilts by Tomas Maria Lopez

“... useless to determine whether Zenobia is to be classified among the happy or unfortunate cities. It is not in these two species that makes sense to divide the cities, but in the other two: those that continue through the years and the mutations to shape their desires and those where the desires or succeed in erasing the city or are deleted . “ Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino Outside the Mantua city Walls, beyond Inferiore Lake, among the poplars that were replacing the old swamp, a group of highly skilled intellectuals, architects and politicians dreamed of building an ideal city. Based on a chessboard, consisting of square blocks along a main axis, it would have hosted twelve thousand people, equivalent to a third of the inhabitants of the ancient city. Aerial pedestrian walkways would link the various blocks between them, free from the chaotic traffic that would have circulated

on the ground. A large suspended square, surrounded by shops of all kinds, would be built alongside a tall L-shaped building in the center of the district. A rational urban model, fully functional, expandable and replicable, where people could live happily. In 1974, the dream come true and the Lunetta neighborhood is finally built. As well as the projects of the great postwar dreamers, including Le Corbusier and Hilbenseimer, and later in Italy, Aymonino, Gregotti, Fiorentino and Rossi,


In the upper left: the Coprat group and the initial project. In the upper right: the district’s territorial framing at the present state. Below: a photo of the ‘L’ building where you can see the relationship between the road to cars at the ground and the aerial gallery from which you can access the residences. Source: photo of the author

Contemporary architecture the ideal city of the Mantuan “Coprat” group headed by Francesco Caprini and Giampaolo Benedini does not give the hoped results. Just after the construction of the first blocks, was noticed that the intervention was oversized compared to the real demographic needs and the construction was interrupted several times. But the factor that would define most of the neighborhood’s future is the perception that this will come about and spread in the historic center.Located on the opposite shore of the Inferiore lake, surrounded by tall poples that avoid visual relations with the context, and in the absence of efficient cycle-pedestrian links, the relationship of belonging to the ancient city is soon lost. The shops on the suspended square - on the foot of the central block - are abandoned apparently without reason and the expected inflow of people from the Old Town will never arrive.On the ground, under some of the aerial walkways laying on pilotis, drug trafficking and use happened, and while being located just a few steps from the center, the Lunetta begins to be seen as a perilous and dangerous peripheral pole. The utopia had to be:

In his studies for “Immeuble Villas”, Le Corbusier imagines the hierarchy of transport infrastructure in this way: heavy commercial vehicles on the ground, family cars at a higher level, and pedestrian flows on higher aerial passages that would link entire blocks between each other with an internal functioning similar to hotels. In the postmodernty of the seventies, the International Style proposed by the Charter of Athens acquires local trends and even in Italy traditional housing models are reinterpreted in a modern way. In ‘67 Carlo Aymonino and Aldo Rossi realized the Gallaratese neighborhood in Milan, inspired by the Lombardy Railing House. Here, the gallery has a strong architectural value as an element of social relation between the inhabitants, connecting the residences and expanding to become a suspended square. Below this, on the ground, the streets and car parks ran. The same system is resumed at Lunetta. In traditional architecture, an example of suspended public space is found in the houses on stilts, where the building rises to protect itself from tropical forest or swampy water. The problem of this solution, applied to a context in which the ground is not hostile, is that two public spaces are created, one suspended (along the galleries) the other on the ground (in the green). Among the two people prefer to use the second, while the activities placed on suspended squares are abandoned. The reason is probably that the squares are not recognized as public spaces; In fact, while the old town and near neighborhoods develop on a ground level, Lunetta reverses this consolidated urban logic. Another problem is the insecurity. Above, galleries are accessible at any time even by people who do not live in the neighborhood, while under the galleries there are dark and unmanageable spaces as they are out of the visual reach of the houses. Although in recent years the municipality has drawn up two neighborhood contracts that in 2010 have led to the demolition of

“... a neighborhood with houses of all kinds, those popular with those of private construction. Instead they built 400 popular housing, between the end of the 1970s and the 1980s and then they stopped ... “. The one described by Francesco Caprini, Lunetta’s designer, is just one of the main problems of the neighborhood, which is in fact incomplete with respect to the original project. However, some important previous urban and architectural choices are the basis of its failure. In order to understand these choices, it is necessary to return to 1934, the year in which the Charter of Athens is published, a document originated mainly by the ideas developed by Le Corbusier and signed by some of the most important architects of the 20th century, which will mark the future of the modern city.


the suspended square, the “on stilts” system is still in use for much of the L building. To further refine the district this year a new service center was also inaugurated, but it is disconnected from a recognizable and connected public space system. Nevertheless, several local associations organize neighborhood activities and over time they are building an increasingly solid and strong community. Perhaps, the design of ‘74 must be considered only the beginning of a long path that will bring a district that was born just in a few years, to acquire the identity of a city through progressive transformations dictated by the need.

on the right, from the top: 1. Photo of a typical Lombardy Railing House where the relationship between galleries inspired Aymonino. Source: G.Berengo’s photo 2. Aymonino’s sketch for the Gallaratese district of Milan, where the idea of the ​​ gallery is expressed as an element of relationship between the levels. Source: Drawing by Carlo Aymonino 3. Aerial view of the ‘L’ corner of the building where you can see the red aisle along the two sides. Source: 4. A type “L” type section showing the relationship between the levels and the double public space. Source: redesign of the author 5. View from above to the building block at ‘L’. Source: photo of the author 6. Visible from a passage under the L-shaped balcony of the building. Source: photo of the author


Contemporary architecture

the albere by di Matteo Pasini and Andrea Zuberti english translation by Tomas Maria Lopez

“Disasters and suburbs are not inevitable. They require slow work of mending. “ Renzo Piano Until the first decades of the last century, in Trentino the working tradition was almost absent as agriculture prevailed. At the end of the 1920’s, the French industry was set up, and the Michelin plant for almost eighty years represented the workplace for thousands of people; a wealth that has contributed to the economic and social growth of the territory and its population. Considering the importance of these places of work, from the second post-war to the early 1990s, important decisions on the city context could no longer be taken without a confrontation with the companies. Since 1974, the global industry has started some production relocation processes, organically linked to the globalization of finance, production and markets. On this trail, even at Michelin in Trento, production was reduced until the closing time. In September 2011, the town of Trento decided to upgrade the area, creating a new neighborhood for the city. “Le Albere” is a neighborhood designed to recover this urban void left by the abandoned factory in 1998, transforming it into an extraordinary social occasion. An example of sustainable development, well-organized and capable of integrating different functions that make

it a living space at any time of day thanks to its natural context. An ambitious project, designed to redefine city profiles and to give a more open air breath to Trento and its future. When designing “Le Albere”, the main feature was to blend elements of the past and the future. The new neighborhood is full of recalls from the old town, that beyond the railway no longer conceived as a barrier in this city. The project is also enriched with details projected in the future, according to a harmony that blends nature, liveability and sustainability. Nature is an intimate and vital component of the project: the mountain, the water, the park, the wood, the stone, the transparency and equilibrium in the relationship between built and open spaces. To this recipe it is also vital to add on one hand the liveability dense of variety and harmony, housing, offices, occasions of encounter in culture and sociality, on the other the sustainability, tangible sign of eco-compatibility and savings. The whole project converges on a target: to give Trento tomorrow not only a new, precious and welcoming heart, but also a new form, a new urban layout, a new conformation of its experiences. In the case of Trento, motivating the choice


View of the main street public space. Source: ARTICOLI/ARTICOLI/PROGETTO/LEALBERE/FOTO/Le-Albere-QuartiereMuse-Architettura.jpg

Contemporary architecture of this project are at least two elements. The first is the fact that it is a dismantled industrial area embedded within the urban fabric; the second element, which substantially contributes to convincing the architect, is the prospect of dealing with non-monothematic, but multifuncional, diffuse intervention. An intervention aimed at reconstructing a new piece of town. In November 2002 Renzo Piano Building Work-shop accepted the assignment and signed the collaboration agreement under the new urban initiatives. The assignment includes all the urban planning, the design of the buildings and the park. The first step was to generate a basic plot after analyzing particular views, main road axes, and creating ideal paths. This plot, on paper, has generated a rather regular grid made up of connections and areas to place volumes. The careful listening of the place, its structural and emotional value are the elements that were deemed necessary to start the design phase. Four guiding themes of the project are identified: the green system, the water system, the energy system and the built system. With the first one, the centrality of the park in the neighborhood economy is emphasized, “one of the founding concepts of the whole project” and “the element of connection between architecture and the natural landscape”. The second theme is motivated by the choice to use the water element extensively; in fact, in relation to the nearby river, the idea is to create within the park a network of canals and water mirrors that perform more functions, from the recreational to the technological, to the didactic-scientific one. The third theme is energy. In terms of efficiency and savings, a centralized energy production system is expected for the area, which optimizes plant efficiency, reduces pollution and reduces the operating costs of the new district. In the end, the theme of the construction is linked to the extensive use of local materials, Trentino’s stone and wood, and the identification of two main types of linear buildings, overlooking the boulevard, and courtyard ones, characterizing the substance of the neighborhood. Other volumes reserved for specific functions are then the two magnets in the neighborhood, the north

pole and the south pole, namely the Museum of Science, or rather the MUSE, and the one that was originally thought as a multifunctional center but during 2014 was converted into a university library. The first one is developed near the Palace of the Albere, extending with several bodies from east to west. The second is placed in the south of the district. In addition, vehicular traffic within the neighborhood is limited to a major road artery. The other inner paths, some of which wind up into the courtyards of building blocks, are mostly pedestrian or mostly reserved for residents. The intervention in Le Albere, as well as enriching the diversification of the functions of the historic city, offers a variety of different facets and orientations of the various buildings that represent the opportunity, as well as the necessity, to interpret in different forms the relationship with the external environment with which the plant relates. Court buildings are characterized by several “cuts” that allow people to have views of condominium gardens and that, in their development, follow a precise path of integration with nature. The green does not stop at the edge of the building but also permeates the built-in, slipping into the inner courtyards. For linear buildings, more marginal than the park and towards the city, the relationship with nature has declined differently. There is therefore an architectural landscape where nature can slip everywhere and light crosses the boundaries of buildings. All this is made possible by technologicalconstructive solutions and materials that interpret the unitary spirit of the intervention. The architectural project mainly focuses on the use of wood, glass and zinc. An alternation of elements that fosters harmonious dialogue between nature and built, between interior and exterior spaces, between functionality and beauty. The same materials and constructive principles are also used to define the volumes of the new Museum of Science, which is located at the beginning of the main pedestrian axis of t​​ he area, in close contact with the public park and the Palace of the Albere. The building is made up of a succession of spaces and volumes, full of voids, lying on a large water mirror that floats, multiplying the effects


and vibrations of light and shadows. All of this is held together at the top by the large covering flaps, supporting the shapes, making them recognizable even outside. If in the neighborhood grid it is evident that from east to west the built-in density gradually leaves a prevalence of green, even the MUSE follows the same philosophy of progressive dematerialization. Starting from a more dense and opaque structure, it gradually lightens up to the transparencies of the tropical glazed greenhouse that prelude to the park, to the impact with nature and water. A circular energy pervading the whole area and reconnecting to the south with the Library, creating a tension and an exchange between the two poles that bring vitality to the neighborhood, making it attractive from a cultural and recreational point of view. The south pole, with its public interest functions, will be with the museum, the motor for the cultural and social activity of the whole area. About the Library: “Here there was a factory that made wheels for cars,” reminded Renzo Piano in his speech. This is a different factory, a white factory. A bookcase - to recall the Greek etymology - of the word library. An architect is never alone, it is a narrative voice of an army of people. Thousands of people have worked. There has been firmness and political will, a continuity for decades, a municipal administration, teachers and a user, the university, with whom there has been a constant dialogue. “ on the right, from the top: 1. Aerial photo of Albere district. Source: www. 2. Renzo Piano sketch on the design setting. Source: uploads/sites/20/2014/12/LeAlbere_ C l i m ave n e t a _ A r ch i n f o _ d i s e g n i _ 0 5 . j p g cec23959681a4e64bcbfa0071d89cb2d.jpg 3. Volumetric articulation of Renzo Piano’s MUSE. Source: ARTICOLI/ARTICOLI/PROGETTO/ LEALBERE/FOTO/Le-Albere-QuartiereMuse-Cortile.jpg 4. Interior view from the gallery of Renzo Piano Library. Source: uploads/2016/01/MUSE-di-Renzo-Piano-aTrento-larticolazione-volumetrica.jpg 5. View of the residential area. Source: www-pbs.


Architects in history

The intense poetry of the absolute by Oreste Sanese english translation by Cristina Lonardi

Leon Battista Alberti would not have been if Brunelleschi had not previously determined his novelties of prospective representation, if the Vitruvian Treaty had not been rediscovered, if Ficino had not advanced Neoplatonic theories, as we can not speak of the Italian Renaissance without the fundamental, qualitative and quantitative contribution of the genoa architect. France and England faced the bloody Hundred Years’ War, Rome had no official papacy, the great competitor of Siena was no longer able to recover after the extermination of the black plague. Florence, on the other hand, during the 15th century is the cultural capital of Europe, a bourgeois civilization that covers itself luxuriously in gold, right when the most innovative and futuristic architectural realization of all times the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore has just been constructed. An environment that overcomes the past and open to every kind of experimentation, in which life was more enthusiastic. The great bankers, the Medici family, ruled and invested in technical progress as far as artistic innovation was concerned, using them as a means of controlling and spreading their political ideals. A colourful stage that featured a huge variety of actors so that the cultural and educational reform engaged during the renaissance humanism could have a profound meaning that still, in the 21st century, characterizes our way of perceiving reality. It is common to think about Alberti only as an architect, but we should begin to imagine him perhaps in a much more fleeting and inaccurate manner. His occupations, the passions he followed, the many cities he lived in do not allow us to analyse completely the figure. He lived in Genoa, Padua, Bologna, Venice, Ferrara, Mantua, Florence, Rome and travelled to France and northern Europe. He comes from a noble family, graduates in law, becomes a priest,

then an archaeologist of Roman antiquities, a great humanist scholar since his first studies, philosopher and mathematician, full-time critic, writes of painting, sculpture and architecture, but also of social themes with regard to the family, the management of power and finances without neglecting the poetics and novels, he is also a musician in fact one of the earliest organists of the time, and in the end an acclaimed knight with enviable athletic abilities.


The winged eye engraved by Matteo de’ Pasti on the back of the medallion dedicated to Leon Battista Alberti: a symbol that gathers all the ideals that have lived in the heart and mind of Alberti as tenacity, creativity, innocence, awareness, farsightedness. Source:


Architects in history From this long review perhaps the only possible thread is in his hunger for knowledge, in his aversion against tradition and the impetuous will to revitalize the present. He grasped a bit of everything in order to give new and personal interpretations of a new world, that of the Renaissance. Conscious and pleased of his pride he also named himself “Leo”; the first Nietzsche’s ubermensch was already born in the early 1400s. A Matteo de’ Pasti medal reminds us of his personal “symbol”, an emblem capable of explaining all the ideals embodied by Alberti: a large winged eye, with rays that familiarize it to a solar element, and the motto QVID TVM? (so​​ then?). Thousands of attempts have been made to try to find the answer to an image that triggers the enigma challenge. Perhaps we should simply try to compare it to the personality that we have talked about so far: a man who did not accept any limit, who wanted to understand everything that came before him, to assimilate it and to give it back to the world with his own hands. A man who has no fear of the abyss of the future, who lives day by day with the philosophical provocation of “so what is still to be learned?” or better yet “so what is still to be overcome?”. An intellectual artist who is able to possess the world from above, like an eagle, with his semi-divine, generalized and totalized gaze, but at the same time always succeeds in distinguishing all parts. Only approaching forty years old, he decides to devote proper attention to architectural matter, considering it to be the most important of the arts, since it is the only one to deal directly with life and also has social commitment. This conception was completely new because architecture as we recognize it nowadays did not exist yet. In fact, the buildings were pure practice of craftsmanship, who trained in craftsmen and goldsmith workshops. Today’s architecture actually starts only with Alberti, which elevates it to liberal art, philosophical activity directed at the highest aim. Every new building should pursue concinnitas, that is, that objective beauty achieved only through scientific harmony, that state of structured perfection in which nothing can be removed and nothing added. The aim was the intelligibility and crystallization


of a certain historical situation, of a specific commission, of a peculiar urban character; the construction becomes more of itself. The development of the broad architectural themes is dealt with in the first great treatise of modern architecture: the De re aedificatoria, written as a critical replacement of the theories of Vitruvian texts, considered too old-fashioned as well as difficult to comprehend. In line with metaphysical reflections and faith in reason also architecture stands on the pedestal of the world of ideas, it is a representation of the essence of the spirit of time, anticipating from this point of view also Hegelian thought. For example, it is well known that large portions of Alberti’s achievements never were followed on site but were only conception, often concluded without alterations or modifications. Leon Battista Alberti as the father, abstraction as mother, modern architecture as his daughter. Finally, the architectural project was born with perspective and other techniques that allow men to tame the space and condense it on/to a piece of paper. Planning offers the ability to anticipate the end result, manage any object, as well as the city itself. It is not by chance that the first large-scale urban planning will be proposed: wreckage of the old maze of medieval labyrinths, the geometrical regulations of the streets and the defensive walls; the first utopias will take hold and then be painted, as in the case of the Ideal City of Piero della Francesca. The analysis of the past is just as interesting as everything is played in the recognition of repetitive characters, in the identification of the components that remain, in spite of the passage of time, in those parts that tend to eternity. The bond between the old and the new is strong and evident but always nothing more than nostalgic. Thanks to the extended study of antiquity, he had acquired the tools necessary to pragmatically exploit constructive solutions, details, materials, embellishments, or functional systems. Learning from the work of the antiquity, he was able to read the tangible architectural data, to extract it and finally excerpt it from any spatial-temporal context. It is an instrumental use of history, considered as an example to be used ruthlessly, from

which to learn, from which to start but not to consider or use as a myth. All of his buildings are a powerful explosion of new relationships between the parts, yet delicately positioned, chosen with precision elegance and ingenious logic, according to rationalized aesthetic theories. The end product is an unpredictable global renewal, a wave of shapes and proportions never before seen and rich in new meanings; the exact answer to the needs of the Renaissance mentality, focused on the indiscriminate control of reality, exalted and legitimately ambitious of the same classical magnitude once used by Greeks and Romans. Now you can begin to see better the reasons for the immense massiveness and spatiality in its facades, with the interplay of solids and voids and the depth given by programmed lights and shadows, or the unusual manipulation of the architectural elements of tradition, in order to give new splendour to classics, freshened up in a millennium by means of a syntactic and paratactic revolution altogether. It is like a Demiurge, chaotic in action and ordained in the beginning, Dionysian violence and Apollonian poetry, perhaps in this unstable balance resides its greatness. A free, gentle and brutal spirit, who had to strip his identity from every type of mask to be able to assert himself and his values, to discover the beauty of his contemporaneity, to reinvent the role of the architect and to give new content on which to base a new humanity. But are we still able to grasp the meaning of our present, to interiorize what we should already be, to feel at least once appropriate? Can we still believe in the overwhelming creativity of the dimension of “madness�, to put everything in doubt, to ignore the established formalities and all other mental deception together? Do we still want to make the effort to pick up a crumpled pen and start writing a new chapter? From the top: 1. The firm gaze of tenacity. Source: 2. The doubtful gaze of creativity. Source: masaccio-autoritratto-1424-25-720x380.jpg 3. The marveled look of innocence. Source: 4. The strong look of awareness. Source: 5. The wise gaze of foresight. Source:


Architects in history

The profane nature of beauty by Oreste Sanese english translation by Cristina Lonardi

Andrea Palladio represents the figure of the architect in the Western imagination, everyone knows him nowadays and they knew about him all over the centuries, the most imitated over and over, in Europe and overseas. Certainly he had had a forethought by first promoting his own monograph, “The Four Books of Architecture�, in which he cites his works by mixing it with ancient testimonies. He compares his villas, with the most important buildings of the ancient classical style, comparing them hierarchically to the same level. Along with the so marked symbolic force, he works alongside with a set of precise constructive details that give readers the practical solutions to reproduce them. It is well understood why the rapid success of its publication and the widespread diffusion of a new way of seeing construction, not only due to the grammar of a few columns but rather to a new aesthetic, so precise and true, to allow new customs and behaviours. The route starts a few centuries before, in the late Middle Ages, when the poet prophet par excellence, Francesco Petrarca creates the villa in the countryside. Probably the gothic spires were not very sympathetic to him, and the spaces, the odours, the sounds of the labyrinthine and cramped citadel repressed his creative intellectual faculties; his refuge was the Latin world, it was a true passion for him, he wanted to feel like one of them, to be able to cure the senses of the body again, to rediscover his solitude and silently to his own person. Thus he built one where he went to live, in the name of the productive literary otium. The stance of an artist with the halo, as important as

a noble one, to refuse an elegant palace in the square to distance himself from the attentions and courtesy disturbances, first influenced the approach of the still dreary Renaissance sensibilities towards the revaluation of the modus vivendi of ancient Romans. Here we talk about the same Roman qualities of which the Venetian aristocracy felt inherited, especially the one of the hinterland that claimed its own identity with respect to the Venetian. Between the fifth and sixth centuries, the secular equilibrium of the Republic was soon overcome due to the loss of all financial and merchant assurance in the East. The Turks conquered


“Fu il Palladio nella conversazione piacevolissimo e facetissimo, sicché dava estremo gusto alli Gentiluomini e Signori coi quali trattava, come anco agli operari, dei quali si serviva, tenendoli sempre allegri, e trattenendoli con molte piacevolezze faceva lavorassero allegrissimamente. Aveva gran gusto d’insegnare a quelli con molta carità tutti i buoni termini dell’Arte, di maniera che non vi era muratore, scarpellino o lignaiuolo che non sapesse tutte le misure, i membri et i veri termini dell’Architettura.” (Paolo Gualdo, 1615) Source:æt_(Portræt_af_arkitekten_ Andrea_Palladio).jpg


Architects in history Constantinople and together they gained full control of the Mediterranean; not to forget that after a while the Genoese Christopher Columbus returned to Spain with a little novelty. All strong authorities are now involved in the run to conquer the ocean. Venice loses the original Byzantine stamp and re-invent it by promoting an economic policy centred on its territory. The Vincentians were advantaged: they felt they were now the real protagonists of the historical scene, being the most important silk producers all over Europe and having, for a long time, opened their doors to an international policy with the French and Dutch markets. They were an active class and full of resources, those who filled the headlines of the country’s daily newspapers with their repetitive quarrels, murders, disputes, lustful intrigues, jealousies, and favouritism. With the good or the bad they made diplomacy and gave in this period peculiar city liveliness. This is the world in which a young mason grows, named Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, who would never have thought of becoming the hero of his lords and many successive generations.

The “Palladio” was nothing but a statue depicting the goddess Athena, who served as the protector of the city. Here is his new function explained: saviour and protector of Vicenza by old corruption and the ugliness built. The Vincentian architect did not stop at rural dwellings, widening the influence of his interventions to the widest structures in the city and the area. His way of thinking only small parts at a time, derived from his original work of marble block cutter, it allowed him to describe the house as an aggregation of completed spaces, the city as a network of individual interventions creating an exciting reconciling language and the surrounding landscape as a satellite system, incorporating villas and urban palaces together, as a result of the common reckless vitality of the Veneto of Renaissance. We must therefore imagine a boy with a great manipulative experience of physical reality, capable of providing any kind of technical solution to every will of representation, and awakened in the spirit by a strong sense of renewal. “Those who know how difficult it is to introduce a new custom, mostly of fabricating, I will be very adventurous, having regained gentlemen of such noble and generous spirit and excellent judgment, who believe in my reasons and have departed from that aged practice of fabricating without grace and without any beauty”. (Andrea Palladio, The Four Books of Architecture, 1570) The volumes, the white, and the perfect geometries must have been a stunning combination in the eyes of those who were accustomed to two-story, deformed and narrow palaces. His are new cathedrals, now made for men, which bring the sacredness among the mortals, removes the throne of the religious world and places it in the silkworm industry. Palladio is the Robin Hood of the 1500s, releases the dignified frames from the symbolic power of the Church and gives them under earthly clothes to rustic life. He introduced a new spatial magic within the houses, built imperial staircases for us to enter, place domes on the heads of lords and labourers who work the earth, measured the distances between the rooms and the vast outer plain with the columns that before defined the façades of God’s temples.

He was born with the dirty hands of the craftsman, without fancy clothes nor books. He worked and studied on materials, trained in an important Padua workshop, where he probably also had the opportunity to admire some sketches of Sanmicheli and Sansovino. But working the stone had never fully satisfied his ambitions; he showed interest in drawing, as a tool for inserting the small parts produced by labourers into a complete set. A proof of this, stands in his various studies on the military formation right at the start of the battles, steady in their line-up squares and equally positioned. It will be the cultured Gian Giorgio Trissino to show him the light and start him into the highest world of art. He presents the Vitruvian treaty, takes him four times to Rome, makes him acquainted with the theories of Alberti, the grace of the Michelangelo Code and fills him with awe of the change of a decadent cultural reality, their, so despised. What comes out is a real ideological criminal named, by the same noble literate, as Palladio.


His true revolution, then, is not so much in the use of perfect proportions given by Platonic mathematics, in defining absolute beauty, because before being sculptural objects commendable from all directions, these villas had become synonymous of new customs. It is a beauty capable of overcoming the visual perception of the image, which integrates all the inevitable contradictions, is the supreme aesthetics, so high that it becomes ethical. He would like us to understand that you can go to sleep peacefully on a hill away from the inhabited centre, that family wealth can be initiated even without direct ecclesiastical dependencies, that is not terrible to glorify the carnal pleasures, that erotically the countrywoman is not so bad, that you can’t live without fresh meat and vegetables in meals, that the authentic odours of the earth are not much better than the openair latrines in medieval alleys. All this is finally legitimate, the previous values​​ are reconsidered under a new key of reading, that of profane beauty derived not from celebratory fanaticism but from the sensuality of the world around us. Above all, the abandonment of old moral formalities has given rise to a new physical concreteness, a face that becomes an instrument for representing a new way of life before building it. It is an architecture that has generated enthusiasm prior than harmonious compositions. It would be nice to still be able to revitalize the values of ​​ a past that seems so far, to understand the refinement and the strength of the classic myth, in order to keep up the hope that our world could also be transformed into a present mythology, that also we will raise up statues depicting us, that we will also establish something lasting for the coming tomorrow.

On the right, from the top: 1. Standardized handicrafts work. Source: 2. Calculated geometric composition to hierarchize and balance the parts. Source: di_polibio.jpg 3. The design to control the single parts as a collective one. Source: 4. Spaces are modules of fixed proportions, assimilated according to the case in the unitary, balanced and calculated structure of the villa’s composition. Source: graphic redraw of the author


Architects in history

the folly

of insignificance by Oreste Sanese english translation by Riccardo Bravi

“Man, listen! If you want the world to go on, we must hold each other’s hand. Today’s evil is that there are no great masters any more. Somebody must cry out that we are going to build pyramids and even if we don’t, we must still nurture the desire. The eyes of all men are staring at the gorge mankind is precipitating into. We don’t need freedom. If then you haven’t got the courage to look into our eyes. It is the so-called sane people that leave led the world to the brink of catastrophe. Great things end, small ones last for ever. Society must get together again and stop being so fragmented. It’d be enough to observe nature to grasp that life is simple and that we must go back to square one where you took the wrong path. We must go back to the origins of life without muddying the water. What kind of a world is this. If it is a madman who tells you: be ashamed of yourselves! And now, music!” Opening scene of the film “Nostalgia”, Andrej Tarkovskij, 1983). What is the whole work of Piranesi if not a moral denunciation? It seems he was striving to shout something like the fool at the beginning of the film of the Russian author. He was never an actual builder apart from some isolated experiences like the Church of Santa Maria del Priorato which he created at the age of 45. He devoted himself primarily to studying and revalorizing the Roman heritage he was in contact with every day and which he could recognize the deep roots of the entire Western culture in. The young man from Veneto was introduced to chiselling and to architectural

studies from an early age. Nevertheless, he found his path as a draughtsman only after he moved to Rome seek a fortune, not without difficulties, and after cooperating with painters and scenographers and subsequently with cartographers working to the urban redefinition of the city. “Deliberately embracing the profession of engraver, he realized he could fulfil his ambitions as architect, archaeologist and painter” (Henri Focillon) To outline his historical period is crucial in order to contextualize his protest. The first half of the XVIII century was characterized by the renewed interest in archaeological sites, the systematic study of ruins but also


Ichnographia Campi Martii antiquae urbis, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1762. Source: P.V. Aureli, The possibility of an absolute architecture, pp.88, MIT Press, 2011


Architects in history superficiality it is surrounded by, which is cynical and bored with cultural strains and social attentions. A dance of insignificance imposed by consumption’s advance and dynamism. This is the reason why we feel involved in Piranesi’s tables more than ever: because we see ourselves constrained in the Imaginary Prisons, we feel doomed by our own choices and tortured slaves of the same world where people are “reified”, they lose their original significance. Modern man is prone to live in these prisons, these nameless gloomy houses, these places one identical to the others, where the experiences are indifferent. They are limited cities like these vast spaces whose parts cannot be distinguished, whose lack of one-point perspective results in lack of landmarks. Constructions accumulate what has already been forgotten, what should be destroyed to abide by production deadlines, they occupy the whole depths, they do not suggest any recognisable and long-lasting direction or form. They are abandoned, forgotten since their birth: failures produced as wrecks which will not endure. The magnificent composition of Campo Marzio in Ancient Rome was nothing more than an attempt to safeguard the remains of the great Empire. They would have been destroyed in compliance with the urban development project of Pope Sixtus V as victims of the economic and political regeneration aims for the city in order to connect Cristian centres felling trees and building avenues whose scale had never been seen before. Piranesi wants to raise his voice because he sees the landscape beauty and his only hopes for future beauties exposed to threats. Rather, he proposes to redefine the ancient form of the city with its monuments and its innate authenticity. In his Vedute di Roma he wants to highlight the essence of architecture perceivable in those fragments which are still able to tell us much, to raise enthusiasm after millenniums. They are still part of us. He indicates these as the examples to follow in order to found something which

by the formulation of the first restoration theories and the trend of Grand Tours throughout the Mediterranean countries. Those were the years of Enlightenment and of the breakthroughs which enabled the absolute soundness of reason to assert itself and triggered the purification from the 17th Century aesthetics. It was a world in which redundancy began to leave the categories of vice officially and to find its very first unanimous applications in Baroque abundance firstly and in Rococo afterwards. It was a changing world: from the Counter-Reformation to what seemed a total ideological revolution. Enlightenment became what God had been until then: the object of worship. The breakthroughs of modern science were giving birth to a new faith, kneeled before the new promises of well-being and progress. Humanity discovered the invisible rules of nature and began to create a world independent from it as men could then control and dominate it more than ever. A world born by human imagination deprived of materialization. An increasing relocation of values out of the self towards something abstract. Jean Paul Sartre goes straight to the point in his work “Being and Nothingness”. He argues that we live too much time building up images in our mind, which he calls “Nothingness”, rather than acting to get to know the world object, rather than having to do with concrete things in front of our eyes. Our unconscious desire is to be able to go beyond the world object to imagine the impossible. We cannot avoid recalling that the “delirious” Manhattan of the early 20th Century embodies this human “folly” which defines new rules, denies the deeply-rooted meanings of things and of architecture and generates new ones, mixes right and wrong, confuses the separation between rational and irrational. It justifies the exuberance caused by financial success, it respects exhibitionism pointing up to the sky. It rolls out the red carpet to the absolute liberty, freed of any responsibility and pleased of the


could challenge the rules of time in like manner. Thus, he draws stones and stone constructions, buildings whose decorations and surfaces are all gone. They are left bare to show their mass, their volumes sustained by very deep disproportioned foundations, metaphors of their intention to remain. Do we know how to “live”? We should not ignore the feeling of fear and vacuum the artist wanted to convey and the nightmare of an indistinguishable, monotonous and all-encompassing reality. Let us try at least to go back to the human scale, to the scale of vivid and pulsating perceptions thanks to which we can take part to the world we live in, we can feel part of not indifferent places and of spaces which at last are appropriate. The modern man should perhaps find his dimension again, try to appreciate his limits and to enjoy soul relief, to forget the anguish of uncontrollability and at last to rediscover himself.

on the right, from the top: 1. The folly of insignificance for Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Source: photograph by the author in Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, exhibit “Tutankhamon Caravaggio Van Gogh. La sera e i notturni dagli Egizi al Novecento” 2. The folly of insignificance for Mario Sirioni. Source: Photograph by Oreste Sanese in Museo del Novecento, Milano 3. The folly of insignificance for Hugh Ferriss. Source: H. Ferriss, The Metropolis of Tomorrow, pg.58, Ives Washburn Publisher, New York 1929 4. The folly of insignificance for Michelangelo Antonioni. Source: M. Antonioni, L’ Eclisse, 1962 5. The folly of insignificance for Giorgio de Chirico. Source: photograph by the author in Tate Modern, Londra, permanent display. 6. The folly of insignificance for Aldo Rossi. Source: M. Tafuri, Architecture and Utopia. Design and Capitalist Development, MIT Press, 1976


Architecture in history


to grow the soul and satisfy the eye by Federica Morgillo english translation by Cesare Varesco

“Solo e’ libri e le scritture mie e de’ miei passati a me piacque e allora e poi sempre avere in modo rinchiuse che mai la donna le potesse non tanto leggere, ma ne’ vedere. Sempre tenni le scritture non per le maniche de’ vestiri, ma serrate e in suo ordine allogate nel mio studio quasi come cosa consacrata e religiosa, in quale luogo mai diedi la licenza alla donna mia ne’ meco ne’ da sola v’intrasse, e più gli comandai, se mai s’abattesse a mia alcuna scrittura, subito me la consegnasse”. “Only my books, my writings and my memories, then and now, I always liked to keep them closed, that any woman could never read and not even look at them. I always kept the writings, not in the clothes’ arms, but closed in their order, placed in my study room, almost as an holy and religious thing, in such a place I have never allowed my woman, alone or with me, to enter and furthermore I ordered her, in case she find anyone of my writing, to give them immediately to me.” Leon Battista Alberti, I Libri della Famiglia. Inside the most important creations of the Italian humanism, there are to consider, without any doubt, the studioli (small study room), little spaces reserved to the work and contemplation of the work of art. The diffusion of this peculiar architectural typology consists in an integrative part

of that varied revolution which, starting from the second half of XIV cent., took its origins from the rediscovery of romangreek literature and art. In the classical books there are not precise indication about the shape of the rooms that the ancients dedicated to their literate


Studiolo of Federico da Montefeltro at Palazzo Ducale of Urbino. Source:

Architecture in history leisures, and therefore, at the end of the Middle Age, intellectuals and princes were inspired by two architectural typology, already known from centuries, which satisfied their cultural needs: the treasure’s chambers and the monastery’s writing rooms. The first were small rooms, well protected, in which the princes and the governors were preserving their most precious goods: money, stones, jewellery, golden and silver jars, damasked tissues and other luxury objects. The second kind, instead, were usually cells were the monks could isolate themselves from the exterior world and meditate, study and copy the holy books. One of the first known examples of studiolo is the one of Francesco Petrarca, who reserved for the literature and the writing, a room in his own residence in Arquà, near Padova. This studiolo had floral decorated walls, niches for books and a window opened to the countryside. The relationship between intellectual work and nature, which is able to maintain an healthy balance between active life and contemplative life, was since the beginnings a essential feature of the studioli, that for the whole fifteenth century and over, continued being placed facing a garden or the landscape. An image of the Petrarca’s studiolo has arrived to us thanks to a fresco credited to Altichiero, in the Sala degli Affreschi degli Uomini Illustri (Room of Frescos of the Illustrious Men) of the Carraresi’s Palace in Padova. Beside the books, starting from the beginning of the Fifteenth century, there were recorded also works of art, at first especially trace of the classical world. A new generation of humanists, put beside the literal works also images and objects that were able to establish a direct visual relation with them. During the XV century the progressive imposing of the humanistic culture and the institutionalisation of new social virtues, determined an increase of the interest in the artistic collecting. This interest found in the studiolo the most suitable place for its showing: this cultural space was marking the cultural updating of

the owner and at the same time it allowed him to place in evidence his tasted richness. Around the middle of the XV century, from chamber exclusively dedicated to the literature, to the study and the meditation, the studiolo took the features of a proper chamber of collecting. The most famous and brilliant example of humanistic studiolo, survived till nowadays, is the one commissioned during the first 60s of the Fifteenth century, by the duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, man of weapons and letters. Behind the façade of the Torricini of the Ducal Palace of Urbino, Federico made setting up his own studio and made decorating the walls with carved wooden panels and a series of twenty-eight portraits of ancient scholars. When she arrived in Mantova to marry the marquis Francesco Gonzaga in the 1490, Isabella d’Este certainly was knowing about the Urbino’s studiolo and, inspired by such examples, she immediately arranged to create a similar space also in her own residence in San Giorgio’s Castle. Isabella dedicated herself to gather in that small space, which she was the absolute queen, the bests that the art of Italy could offer. Close to the end of the XVI century, the big noble collections, by now too extended to find space in little chambers, are progressively transferred in new spaces, specially intended to expose them: the galleries. In this phase, the studiolo, far from disappearing, from one side it specialised as a space dedicated to the investigation of the natural world, instead on the other side it seems recovering its own original feature, being a room dedicated to the meditation. A symbolical example of this last tendency, has been reposted by the studiolo of Farese Palace, in Caprarola, significantly called Stanza della Solitudine (Room of the Solitude). It has been decorated by Taddeo Zuccari, based on a detailed iconographical program, designed around 1565, and showing a long series of characters of several ages, which shared the common choice of devoting to a contemplative life. The diffusion of the gallery at the


beginning of the Seventeenth century and the substitution of a public concept of the collecting over the private one, intimately linked to the studiolo, marked the opening of an new epoch, in which the art collections first of all assumed a social and political value. The deep change of the function of the studiolo, is an aspect of the great European season of the princely and royal collecting that, in turn, anticipated the creation of the big national collections, get up to present days. Bibliography: Wolfang Liebenwein, Studiolo spazio e tipologia di uno spazio culturale, Modena, Franco Cosimo Panini, 2005.

on the right, from the top: 1. Studiolo of Francesco Petrarca. Source: www. 2. Grotta (cave) di Isabella d’Este. The cave is an enlargement of the studiolo of Isabella d’Este in the San Giorgio’s Palace. Source: home-of-the-tenth-muse-the-collection-ofisabella-deste/ 3. Second studiolo of Isabella d’Este, placed in the Corte Vecchia. Source: www.susanvanallen. marvelous-mantua-aka-mantova/ 4. Studiolo of Lorenzo il Magnifico. It became famous, because it was working as a container of many precious objects. Source: m=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgwYTnn77MAhVCOBQKHY8QCAcQ_AUICSgD&biw=1366&bih=599#tbm=isch&q=studiolo+lorenzo+il+ma gnifico&imgrc=qihS4ErWz7V8qM%3A 5. Decoration of the Stanza della Solitudine, at Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola. Source: www.


Architecture in history

castel del monte by Federica Morgillo english translation by Cesare Varesco

“D’altra parte il numero 8 e la forma a ottagono hanno un significato particolare come numero della resurrezione, della compiutezza, del nuovo inizio (come ottava in musica), della rinascita spirituale […] significato che tornerà a svolgere in seguito un ruolo in Leonardo.” “On the other hand, the number eight and the octagon have the peculiar meaning as the number of the resurrection, of the completeness, of the new beginning (as the octave in the music), of the spiritual rebirth […] meaning that will come back again to further play his role in Leonardo.” Hermann Kern, Labirinti, 1982. Castel del Monte is a fortress from the XIII century, that was built by the governor of the Kingdom of Sicily, Federico II in the area corresponding to the plateau of Western Murge in Puglia, around eighteen kilometres far from the city of Andria. It consists in a construction having an high architectural and artistic value; indeed, in the 1936, Castle del Monte became part of the Italian National Monuments, and during 1955 it entered in the list of the World Heritage of Unesco. The origin of the building is officially

from January 29, 1240, when Federico II Hohenstaufen ordered to Riccardo da Montefuscolo, Giustiziere di Capitanata (Capitan’s Lawyer), to prepare the material and the things necessary for the construction of a castle next to the church of Sancta Maria de Monte (today disappeared). This date, anyhow, is not accepted from all the scholars. Also the assignment to a precise architect, is uncertain: somebody link the work to Riccardo da Lentini, but many others sustain that Federico II himself designed the building.


Castel del Monte in a view from above. Source:

Architecture in history From the age of the emperor Federico II till Giovanna I, queen of Naples, the fortress was called as Castello di Santa Maria del Monte (Castle of Holy Mary of the Hill). The first time it has been called without the reference to Santa Maria (Holy Mary), thus simply Castel del Monte (Castle of the Hill), it was in a decree of Ferdinand of Aragon, dated December 1, 1463. Starting from the XVII cent., a long period of abandonment has been registered, in which the castle has been deprived of furniture and wall’s decorations, as well as becoming a jail and also a refuge for shepherds, robbers and political refugees. In the 1876, being in unstable conditions of conservation, the castle has been bought for the price of 25.000£ from the Italian State, that planned its restoration starting in the 1879. In the 1928 the restoration, directed by architect Quagliati, didn’t stop the decay of the fortress and it has been necessary a further restoration between the 1975 and the 1981. The castle is built over a hill 540 meter high on the level of the sea, and it is constructed over a rocky bench. Its notoriety is mainly given by its plan, that has eight sides. In correspondence of each of the eight corners, there are grafted eight towers, with octagonal shape too. The building is made in local lime stone, light coloured, and a frame marking the storeys is intended to give the rhythm of the external façades. Eight monofore (single hole), seven bifore (double hole) and a trifora (triple hole), directed to Andria, underline the partition of the façades. Despite the use of bright stones, there are produced interesting aromatic contrast, derived by the use of the coral breach and marbles, as well as the lime stone. Moreover, at some time there were also ancient sculptures; nowadays it remains only a stone slab showing the Corteo dei cavalieri (Parade of the Knights) and a fragment of anthropomorphic figure. It is particularly suggestive the internal courtyard, with octagonal shape too; the visitor can perceive in a very clear and

immediate way which is the the planimetric shape of the courtyard and the building. From the courtyard are well visible some openings occupying all the first storey’s height. Below them, there are some prominent elements and some holes, perhaps intended to sustain a wooden balcony useful to make the rooms independent between each others. They are all communicating each other thanks to a circular path, except for the first and the last, which are separated by a wall in which a large rounded hole opens on the top, probably used to communicate. For each of the two floors are present eight rooms with trapezoidal shape. The solution adopted for the covering become quite clever; the space is defined, indeed, with a central squared span covered by a framed cross vault. Moreover, there are half-columns made of coral breach in the ground floor and trilobate pillars in marble at the upper floor. In the end, the residual triangular spaces of the vault are covered by ogival barrel vault. The keystones of the cross vault are different between each others, decorated with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and phytomorphic elements. The link between the two floors, take place trough three spiral stairs, sited inside three different towers. Some of the towers host tanks that collect the raining water, partially addressed to the tank excavated in the rock, under the central courtyard. In other towers, instead, there are located the bathrooms, equipped with latrine and sink, with on the side a small space, probably used as dressing room or perhaps intended to host tubs for ablutions, since the body care was very practiced by Federico II and his court, according to the typical custom of the Arabic world so much loved by the governor. Very interesting is the sculpture collection that, even though strongly damage, give us a significative testimony of the original decorative system, once it was also characterised by a various chromatic scale of the applied materials: mosaic tiles, glazed


pastes and wall’s paintings. Actually there are still two anthropomorphic shelves in the Torre del falconiere (tower of the falconer), the telamons supporting the umbrella vault of one of the scalar towers and a fragment of the floor’s mosaic in the eighth ground floor room. In the Pinacoteca Provinciale of Bari, instead, have been temporarily deposited two important sculptural fragments depicting a head and an axial bust, found in the course of long restorations, which have not returned any traces of the octagonal bathtub placed in the center of the courtyard, quoted by some scholars of the last century. Bibliography: A.VV., Castel del Monte - Un castello medioevale, a cura di R. Licinio, Adda Editore, Bari, 2002. H. Gotze, Castel del Monte, ed. Hoepli, Milano, 1988. R. Licinio, Castelli medievali di Puglia e Basilicata: dai Normanni a Federico II e Carlo d’Angiò, con presentazione di G. Musca, Bari 1994.

on the right, from the top: 1. Upwards view of the inner courtyard. Source: 2. The cross vault that cover the squared span. Source: castel-del-monte-un-tesoro-da-scoprire/ 3. The entrance of the fortress. Source: www. 4. View of the interior of the fortress. To notice the interesting chromatic contrast existing between the different materials. Source: www.


Architecture in history

villa giacobazzi in sassuolo by Federica Morgillo english translation by Cesare Varesco

In the heart of Sassuolo, a place in the province of Modena world-wide known for its ceramic district and for its football team, south of the historical center and jealously guarded by Vistarino Park, there is a jewel dating back to the 17th century. element and the ordering and generating core of the whole composition; starting from this, in fact, during the 18th century, the two lateral wings began to develop having a decisive effect in modifying the shape of the villa, making it a C-shape. The two lateral bodies hosted the service functions and determined the birth of a yard closed on one side and opened on the other, towards the surrounding park. From a first view, it is easy to perceive how the central body is the one dedicated to the most important functions; the prospect is characterised by a curious staircase and a timpano that frames the coat of arms of the family, giving it a sense of Holiness. To make the faรงade even more impressive, a symmetrical altana stands above the

Today, the villa and the surrounding park are still visible thanks to the determination demonstrated by the owners during the 1930s when the threat of being destroyed buried the poor building due to a public expansion plan of the city, which by the grace of heaven was not activated. About twenty years later, in fact, the value of the little villa and the surrounding site, has been considered to be invaluable, thus to be recognised by the Ministry of Education as a product of high artistic and historical value. As often happens for many buildings, even in this case the architectural ensemble has gone under changes over the centuries. For example, the central part, dedicated to the representative functions, is the oldest


Central body of the Villa, degraded by the time. In foreground, the staircase. Source: Anna Maria Nalini Setti (a cura di) Modena nell’arte, Emilia Libri, Modena, 2009.

Architecture in history timpano and it is preciously connected to the underlying volume through two lateral wall extroflexions settled at the base. On the ground floor there are several representative halls, a studiolo and a library, which shows, in correspondence of the ceiling, finely decorated wooden beams. Great attention has been paid to the decoration of the ceilings of the rooms, which show recurring floral decorations. To those latter, are added rosoni and garlands in correspondence of the doors, which sometimes have peculiar elements, such as musical instruments within the music salon. Another recurring decorative detail is the presence of Latin words or sentences placed once again near the door jambs. The architectural ensemble has several valuable elements, such as the altana, finely decorated inside, and the chapel located in the south wing, reachable both from the inside and from the outside that is a treasure of precious late 19th century decorations. The lateral wings are home to service rooms, in particular environments used as storage facilities for gardening and beekeeping, which represented the Count’s hobbies. Some document papers from the late 17th century, attest how the central body represents the primitive core of the composition and the altana that crown it, was the private casino of lawyer Giovanni Andrea Moreali, lawyer of Sassuolo in the second half of the 17th century. But unfortunately, the family was forced to deprive themselves of the majestic dwelling at the end of the century; caused to the death of the owner, the premature death of the son and the incoming debts, the women were forced to sell several goods and rent the villa at the Marquis of Modena Guido Foschieri. Towards the beginning of the 18th century the property of the building passed to Abbot Domenico Maria Giacobazzi, who resolved the incoming tax rates on the villa and began to buy parts of neighbouring land. In this regard, it should be remembered that thanks to Aachen’s peace treat, symbol of the beginning of a

period of peace in European territory, and to the eccentric government of Francis III, Sassuolo enjoyed certain prosperity so that it could receive the title of “Noble land”. At this idyllic setting of wellness was the new owner of the villa, who was concerned with renovating the villa by updating it through improvements. On the other hand, this was an almost compulsory choice, since the dwelling was located immediately close to Via Vandelli, the city’s director axis, and the city’s Palace. It was during this phase that lateral bodies were built, merged only later to the central block. At the east and west elevations, were inserted the timpani, the refined link of the altana to the underlying body and the window frames added. Summarising, through the renewal of the dwelling, the latter was given such a splendour that impresses the illustrious guests. When the Giacobazzi died in 1770, the villa was inherited by his son, together with the office of Governor of the city of Sassuolo, which his father had held. Also the son, Onorio, as his father had done years before, decided to apply some changing to his home; between 1770 and 1786, the main entrance of the residence was moved to the east and marked with a majestic rows of poplars. As was the case with Domenico Maria, the house was inhabited only during the summer season and throughout the year some renters kept the maintenance and took care of the orchards. In 1819 the property of the house passed to his son Luigi, year which are dated back the nineteenth-century’s tempere signed by Valentini and Braglia. The dwelling passed from generation to generation, being able to avoid subdivisions or sales. At the beginning of the 20th century a series of interventions took place, first of all the sinuous external staircase. During the war period, the villa hosted a workshop for making items for mutilated people and in the 1950s the house was transformed into a free “Mafalda di Savoia” dispensary for tuberculosis patients. About twenty years later, Countess Rosanna


Giorgi of Vistarino and her husband Count Ambrogio Caccia Dominioni made Villa Giacobazzi becoming their permanent residence. The couple disappeared here, leaving no heir. In 1991, after a public auction, the furnitures jealously kept for centuries in the villa, were sold. The ancient and precious ceramics, produced in the area of ​​Sassolo, were bought by a private person, who with great generosity decided to donate them to the municipality of Sassuolo in order not to be lost; a sad fate that instead happened to all the other objects of the dwelling. Today, the restored villa, houses the “Libreria dei Ragazzi” of Sassuolo. Bibliography: Anna Maria Nalini Setti (a cura di) Modena nell’arte, Emilia Libri, Modena, 2009.

on the right, from the top: 1. Villa Giacobazzi today, after the restorations. Source: aree-tematiche/cultura-sport-e-tempo-libero/cultura/luoghi-storici/villa-giacobazzi#null 2. The library inside the villa. Source: www. cultura-sport-e-tempo-libero/cultura/luoghistorici/villa-giacobazzi#null 3. The villa before the restorations. Source: 4. The central body of the villa marked by the time. In foreground the staircase. Source: Anna Maria Nalini Setti (a cura di) Modena nell’arte, Emilia Libri, Modena, 2009. 5. The leisure of the musks on the entrance’s staircase. Source: Anna Maria Nalini Setti (a cura di) Modena nell’arte, Emilia Libri, Modena, 2009. 6. The majestic portal of the entrance to the villa, which anticipate the elegance and refined of the dwelling. 7. Anna Maria Nalini Setti (a cura di) Modena nell’arte, Emilia Libri, Modena, 2009.


Modern architects



"The simplest form is not always the best one, but the best one is always simple." by Massimiliano Sisti english translation by Ludovica Severi

In 1913 Karl Scheffler wrote: “ (...) for architecture – and for life in general – is not so important indiviaduality and originality, but the fact that the biggest number possible of individuals could reach a level of awereness to achieve results of general validity.” ; to make it possible, our individual awereness should become a collective need. The historical period in which Tessenow lived helped the individuals upgradings of the innovators, sure talents and real artists, that faced up to architect problems with the enfasi of their personalities, even with great results. volontary give up, to the exstraordinary, original, individual element, in order to reach with his works a character of general validity. The premises of Tessenow architecture are founded on the previous logical and ethic searches (he learned the handmade principles of building being a carpenter apprentice) and the talent is focused on looking for the “right volume”. “If we imagine a comparision between Tessenow and van de Velde, we could

If we wire architecture to logic terms , to fondamental principles of the objectivity, of the practicality, of the sincerity of the materials and the forms and to the right sense of the volums and dimensional relationships, as to the rithm and musicality and to all those efforts used to reach beauty, to find the forgotten secret of art, here the distinction between Tessenow and the colleagues borns. Tessenow knows, in this process, how to


Heinrich Tessenow. Source:


Modern architects recognize to the Belgian a deeper vivacity and sensitivity, a genial maturity, a rich and whimsical temperament, a marked originality and a passionate tendence to modernity; on the side of Tessenow, there’s a general validity that exceeds any originality, something quintessential. Tessenow buildings offer the artistic honesty of the pure sound, the noble relationship, the musical precision, beginnig this way, a road that one day, for Scheffler, will become a new canon and a collective fact. Tessenow built long lines of terraced houses for workers, uniform, cheap and strict; a result that could be poor of architectonic quality, however, Tessenow has the necessary mastery to define the high of the walls, to measure and to dispose with precision the openings, and knows how to logically develop a house plant, if work on stone steps and unite them to the bricks, the most modest building get a character of nobility. His thought and his work go, with criticisms and misunderstanding, through the national- socialist period on one side and the new architecture of flat roofs and ribbon windows on the other side. Tessenow exceeds elegantly, the temporal contingencies that he meets, because he puts in the architecture issues essential and elementary cencepts, that are indispensable and necessary; he was talking about jobs and architecture as a handmade job of forms used to be far away from strict simbolism. In Tessenow there’s an architecture theory, rooted on trasmissibility of the project, on the idea of architecture as collective fact. Tessenow style is informal but refined. Tessenow is not afraid of obviousness in architecture because he knows that it is the best tool to get away to retoric suggestions and slogans. The rural world, evocated by Tessenow, needs the farmer to respect nature, the seasons’ laws and imposes him to work strictly, without nullity and complaints. The farmer is not an automaton , he has his own creativity, but beforegetting lost in his dreams, he knows

he has to respect the times, the place and the experience passed down. In particular Tessenow says: “... Think in a global way as farmers. It’s a shame that we are unable to think as farmers...the farmer just cares about what it’s practical. I strive myself to penetrate the thought, but I don’t go far away”. Tessenow, a man that brought his humanity into works, teachings, questions that architecture make and into doubts that obviously come. It’s an attitude that brings to comparison, to the relationship with someone else, and at the same time to the reflection with ourself first. A baby able to reasoning. A baby creates a momentary value and the adult , who understands that there’s nothing serious and beautiful in the reasoning. Two phases that are sequential and simultaneous at the same time; the “colorful” period, the first one, that Tessenow defines the moment of the caos, in which everything is important or without importance, beacuse there isn’t the capacity to create a stable relationship between one thing and the other one. This doesn’t mean that we are incapable to create, in this infantile phase is missing the creation of a wide and solid base that supports our work in order to make it big and useful. In the next period, that goes to the collective work too, there’s the compensation of the basic gaps of the “colorful” to arrive to the phase that Tessenow calls “artistic creation”, based on the cognitive, practical and theorical foundations; so , in the “handmade work”. This is the moment of the fusion of this evolutionary phases that get us being declaratively baby, but even deeply adult: an high moment were the job is born. “ I don’t want a right thing , neither a crooked one, not a smart one, neither a stupid one, I don’t want a coarse thing, neither a fine one, we have to know anything , to take from the whole just what it’s important and essential. To get as close as possible to the right things, always being careful; nothing will be our enemy as superficiality, we


should always repeat to ourself : if this is necessary, even if it’s little, it has to be the essential from every point of view.” Sources: From Karl Scheffler, Heinrich Tessenow, in Die Architektur der Großstadt, Berlin, 1913. Heinrich Tessenow, Osservazioni elementari sul costruire, by G. Grassi, Franco Angeli, Milan, 2003. Heinrich Tessenow, ibidem.

this page, from the top: 1. Heinrich Tessenow, project for an abode for workers of the Deutsche Werkstätten in Hellerau, 1908, published in Der Wohnhausbau, 1909, Plan. Source: Tessenow-lago-e.htm 2. Heinrich Tessenow, Project for a lake house, 1903, published in Deutsche Bauhütte 1903, External view. Source: Tessenow-lago-e.htm3.Heinrich Tessenow, Foundation for gymnastics -- Emile JacquesDalcroze, Hellerau, 1910- 13, @King’s College Centre for Computing in the Humanities, London, UK. Source: www.commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Festspielhaus_Hellerau_1913.png 4, 5, 6. Pictures concerning the exibition. Heinrich Tessenow. La ricchezza della semplicità. Disegni dall’archivio della Kunstbibliothek di Berlino By: Vittorio Uccelli, Silvia Malcovati, Michele Caja. Voltoni del Guazzatoio, Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma. September 2005.


Modern architects


LOUIS ISIDORE KAHN by Marco Mangiamele english translation by Mateja Lazarević

“A thresold between light and silence. Here is Architecture. In the thresold meet light and silence and here rises up the Shrine of Art, the only Language of the Human Being. It is the Treasure of the Shadows. The work of the architect is an offer to the Spirit of Architecture. It is made of shadow, but it belongs to Light. It is drawn in material, in the light. Because matter is light exhausted. Light is the life of matter. In this way it communicates its true nature through a prototype language of matter and form, light and order. The project is a score on which we can read the harmony of the spaces in the light; beauty that gives access to wonder and from here revelation. Poetry.” L. I. Kahn new essence, that the inconscious nature doesn’t understand, or completely ignores, while the human being is the conscious desire in nature”. As we can notice, the Order, reminds the origin of the cellular organisation of an organic tissue, it describes how is it composed. The human mind desires to experience those laws and faces nature in building something inexpressible, something incommensurable, something without matter, namely love-hate, nobility. This because Order has no will to Be, will is in psyche. A big building, according to Kahn, has to born from misure-less values, to be built through a misurable process (the project) and in the end remembers to the community the incommensurable, the language of the spirit. Here arises the work of art, that is a noplace, called Form.

Manfredo Tafuri and Francesco Dal Co defined the thought of the master Louis I. Kahn (1901- 1974) as an ‘ideology of the selfreflection’ concerning to the juxtaposition between the physical- natural dimension and the human spiritual dimension, and with this last in the exhausting research to impress its sign on the other. Human actions are made by dreams and are filtered by universal laws before being tangible. In this moment happens the comparison with the nature’s laws, the law’s law called Order. Order is the harmonious summation of the laws, in juxtaposition to the human world that instead tries to produce differences in order to better understand the universe and raise its desire/spirit. “The Universal is actually just something that regards the physic world. While the eternal is a kind of completely


Louis Kahn at Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, 1966, photo © Robert Wharton. Source:, Stylepark AG © 2001 – 2016.


Modern architects In this phase, where the needs of the human institutions born, the first thoughts and the passions that make what the Architect calls Poetry of the beginnings. “The beginnig, I remember it as Faith. It’s the moment of the fulfillment of the shape. It’s feeling in terms of Religion, thinking in terms of Philosophy. Then, materials, arrangements and dimensions don’t exist. Therefore, I remember the adventure of the project, when, inspired almost in dream, the Shape, in order to achieve itself it’s obliged to undergo to the order laws”. But the more considerable structural corpus of this philosophy is based on the bond between Order-Form-Design. If, as said before, the Order is the Universal, the unlimited architectural possibilities and possibilities of materials of the project, the Form is the creative moment, what every space ‘requires to be’, an armony of spaces suitable for certain human activities. In conclusion the Design is the planning process that leads to the construction of the architectural work. The dualism between form and design reinvokes platonic ideas, in the relationship between the ideal world and the real world. Therefore, the project, is an interpretation of the ideal form filtered by the Order, that is the matter put in place, a presence that realizes itself through the light (essence). Essence and matter, spirit and tangible, product Silence and Light, an architectural work exists and produces meanings. The work of art is detected in that silenced beginning, in that state of mind for whom doesn’t exist words to express those feelings. The Light, in the kahnian language, is the material instrument of the immaterial sense, that wise game of the volumes under the light that relates to human desires through natural laws. In conclusion, we can say that the lights produce materials, that in turn are made so that they can project shadows, the shadow belongs to the light. It represents the fundamental element of the project, a ‘material’ infinitely expressive indissolubly connected to the Order laws, in fact the structure produces the light and the structure is matter. So, Louis Kahn compares the Form to the Light through the structure that contains itself a bright character: the vault, the cupola or the


archway are some exemples of this idea. Architecture is a question of spaces, the meditated and substantial creation of spaces. Architecture is transforming dreams and experieces in places in which we feel comfortable. In conclusion we can affirm that the Shadow includes in itself the character of the light that is structure, a structure that has been made itself matter thanks to the laws inspired by the shape, in that urgent and necessary beginning in which the human being goes in search of the Eternal, asking itself: ‘why everyhing?’. The architecture of the Master has always been very little consedered by the intenational critic, for his foreign character compared to the trend of the time, to the styles; an Architecture that disturbs the Ancient and re-discovers their ideals (the beginnigs) and brings them in the XX century. This makes his works Eternal Works, inside the ‘Shrine’ of all Architectures. “Architecture has no presence, Music has no presence; I refer, naturally, to the spirit of architecture and to the spirit of music: Music, in this way, as Architecture, doesn’t lean towards any style, any method or technology. That spirit is accepted as truth. What really exists is an architecture work or a musical composition, that the artist offers to his art in the shrine of all expressions, that I like to call Treasure of the Shadows.” L.I. Kahn previous page, from the top: 1. Louis Kahn, intenal view of the assembly hall ambulatory, National Assembly Building, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1962-83. Source: 2. Louis Kahn, National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, 1962-1983, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source: 9499849188559916/ this page, from the top: 3. Louis Khan, view of the Phillips Exeter Library, Exeter, New Hampshire, 1965. Source: www. 4. Louis Kahn, view of the staircase. Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 1951. Source: www. 5. Louis Kahn, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1966, picture: Scott Norsworth. Source: php?p=130379817, Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.


Modern architects

ALVAR ALTO mediator between nature and men

Architecture as improvement of the landscape by Kristal Virgilio english translation by Mateja Lazarević

‘The aim of our research is a sistem that allows us to realize houses according to a functional variety and in specific environment conditions. The houses have to be different from each other, but in an organic way, not in a random way. Architecture has to guarantee to the building, and to the men in particular, that it’s the most important thing, an organic contact with nature, in every moment. ‘ Alvar Aalto places of his country, among which water and uninhabited forests and this proximity will influence his future projects, because it will stay an element of continuity in his planning approach, independently of the intervention scale or of the treated theme. The ensemble between the building and the nature doesn’t limit itself on the research of an armonic coexistence. It takes place a real re-placement and reinvention of the territory, in which the structure is totally included, becoming the missing element that completes the environment. Those characteristics were part of Aalto’s personality, he probably developed them during his permanence among his originating finnish lands. The opera that best represents all the aspects previously described is the Villa Mairea

Bruno Zevi defines him as the major representative of the post-rationalisic generation. There aren’t real ‘Aaltian rules’, he was himself suspicios towards some theorical fundamentals, this is the reason why he didn’t want to write books: ‘I don’t write, I build’. In his long and wide designer career -we count approximately 300 projects, 200 of which have been realized- there are some notable changes in his modus operandi, thought as the crossing and the growth of his previous achievements. Beyond it goes against the futurist myth of the industrialism, the idea of nature as a positive element with whom relate is permanent in Aalto’s projects. Alvar Aalto was born in 1898 in Kuortane, a small town in the south-west of Finland. He was constantly in touch with typical


Picture of Alvar Aalto in his office. Source:


Modern architects (1937-1939), placed in Noormarkku, in the west part of Finland. The structure represents the nordic version of the organic architecture and, in some of its elements, it makes itself a metaphor of land of memory, with references to the scandinavian land. The aaltian element that marks his works from the other architects is the curve linean unvaried in his ‘mature’projects, free from the stiffness and the severity of the functionalism- also originated from the rediscovery of the traditional materials and from the experimentation of a new form that characterizes most of his works. This element makes his structures much more ‘soft’, in appereance less studied but more natural. Going back to the structure of the villa, the plant is very simple, made of 2 volumes arranged in ‘L’ shape, that define a sort of court, a micro-cosmos that works as a filter between the structure and the sorrounding nature of the forest. In the middle of the garden is placed a swimming pool with a sinuous shape. There’s a functional difference between the 2 levels: the ground floor is reserved to the social life- the space is studied in order to make it so fluid that we have the feeling to be at the same time in the interior and in the outside- and the first floor, strictly private. The almost total difference between the 2 floors in terms of the planning arrangement, orientation and character, exemplify his strategy of separation. The residence was created in order to get in touch the inhabitants with the surrounding nature, while volumes, spaces and openings were thought with the only aim to use every possible approach with the natural surrounding: “Architecture doesn’t have to build neither forests neither farms, it should have the purpose to complete both of them”. In Italy, Aalto designed a church in Riola di Vergato, near Bologna (1966-1978). We are stricken by the armony between light and shape of this church, in an almost unreal environment. From this project shine through an extremely simplicity and balance, despite the materials actually were very heavy. A place of worship, at first sight almost unconventional, but totally in compliance to a subjective idea that


probablyAalto had about religion: space and mankind are in harmony thank to the element of light, that symbolises the goddess, untouchable, intangible, but clear. Aalto hasn’t just designed ‘good architecture’, but he had tested techniques and materials in order to accomplish a mission, essentially civil and social, of improvement of life’s quality. That’s why in Aalto is visible the passing of a functionalism meant in a technical way: modern architecture opens itself to the inclusion of emotional and psychological aspects, important causes for the ‘humanisation’ of the modern architecture. Nature, man, architecture: 3 ideas that can reach a balance. Between man and nature exists a variety of diversities, and architecture, has the role of the bridge between nature and man, and it also satisfies the necessities of both. Bibliography: “Alvar Aalto 1898-1976” , by Peter Reed, Electa Architettura Paperback, Milan, 2007; “Alvar Aalto” by Luca Gelmini, Motta Architettura, 2007; “Architettura Contemporanea” Manfredo Tafuri, Francesco Dal Co, Storia Universale dell’Architettura, 1976; Andres Duany, Principi compositivi di Aalto, online documento in PDF

on the side page, from the top: 1. Villa Mairea, Noormarkku, Finland. External detail. Source: images/5037/e752/28ba/0d59/9b00/039d/ large_jpg/stringio.jpg?1414231 227 2. Villa Mairea, Noormarkku, Finland. Detail of the windows. Source: www.ripullulailfrangente.files. 3. Maison Louis Carrè, detail of the ceiling. Source: this page, from the top: 4. Villa Mairea, Noormarkku, Finland External detail environment. Source: www. 5. Villamar Gallery, De Viipuri Library, internal detail, typical ‘ wave’ ceiling . Source: www. 6.Internal space of the church in Riola di Vergato. Source:


Modern architecture



as an Expression of an Independent and Democratic India by Veronica Rigonat

The hand of Le Corbusier is chosen for a tough task: to declare the energy of a community through the design of a new city and, in particular, of its most important administrative buildings. Entrusted to Le Corbusier by Pandit Nehru personally, Prime Minister of a finally independent India, is the most complete urban plan ever realised by the architect. An architecture, such as the La Tourette convent in 1953, or the project for the Venetian hospital in 1964, whose characters are far from the first Le-Corbiusier projects. Complex events preceded the definitive hiring of Le Corbusier for the urban plan. Initially, Alber Mayer was taken into consideration, then Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. Drew and Fry were actually the one suggesting the French architect. It was the first and

only time a public administration building was required to be design by Le Corbusier, moreover not even in France or in the US but in India. The poor and technologically backward state, moving its first steps away from independence, entrusted Le Corbusier with the task of setting a plan for the city of Chandigarh and designing four of the most representative government buildings. At the same time, a number of institutional and residential structures were also commissioned in Ahmedabad. Considering the total amount, only Paris has an equal number of buildings credited to him.


Aerial view of Chandigarh Campidoglio. Source: Assembly.html/cid_1249330506_2467924611_f7198bf40b_o.html Photo: © Julian Weyer

Modern architecture enjoy such privilege. The Palace of Justice is characterized by an umbrella-cover and three vertical strong elements. They mark the entrance, which is not central but asymmetrical to offer a separate and independent access to the offices space. Much more impressive is the structure of the Secretariat. Forty-two feet tall and two hundred and fifty-four wide, is divided into six sectors on ten levels, hosting ministries and offices. Two of them are underground, the first less than five meters. Inside, the huge ramps dominate the room. The complex typology is declared outdoor by the elevation which declares the location of offices, ramps and the duplex-developed ministries. The intensity of the volumes, the use of light as a design tool, the analogies to the nature, the choice of materials - such as brickwork and rough concrete - to conjure up primitive and archaic feelings make Chandigar Parliament one of the most representative works by the architect and lay India on the same layer of Europe and its contemporary. The façade rhythm is controlled by a texture based on the Modulor. A rhythm interrupted by three innovative elements: the brise-soleil, the ondulatoire and the aérateur. Eight large walls, sixty-meter-long seam at the same time to support the large gutter and to define the gateway. The building is closed on only three sides and permeable along the main facade. The two parliamentary rooms face a large internal courtyard, one circular and one squared which Louis Kahn is going to use as benchmark for the Parliament of Dhaka. The cover of this court is supported by pillars whose is larger at the top than at the bottom, similar to mushroom-pillars. However, this is just a structural need, not a formal choice as in the Johnson Wax Building designed by Wight, who compared the architectural element with the natural one. At the centre of the assembly hall is present an hyperbolic shell, an autonomous figurative element that recalls a thermoelectric power plant, a clear reference to Nerhu’s policy

A completely new challenge for the architect: to translate his idea of ​​modernity, a building conceived as a machine, within the decisively limiting reality of a developing country. It is not just a matter of exporting a global model, but adapting it to different climatic conditions, site technology and constructive knowledge. Le Corbusier understood in a short time that he had to become the engine for a new expression of an ancient civilization that was rapidly evolving towards modern democracy and seeking to get closer to its origins after the colonial period. Located on the slope of the Himalayas, the city takes its name from the Hindu god of power: Chandi. Although the marvellous landscape was the perfect background of the new city, on the other hand, it was also setting the challenge of a boundless horizon, so wide that he wanted to frame with his architecture. Le Corbusier looked for an optical cohesion, producing a design with strong geometric control. The structuring scheme identifies fifteen sectors, divided between residential area and management area. As you move northward, the density of dwelling decreases to the area of ​​the Capitol. The ruling structure recalls the study of Ville Radieuse, presented during the Brussels CIAM in 1930. Sector separating axes are due to circulation. These are identified by the letter “V” and a number. The principle of flow division was respected, distinguishing between low and high speed trails. The main one (V1) is vehicle accessible and connects Chandigarh to Nova Delhi. Infrastructures V2, V3 and V5 are pedestrian-only roads. Incredibly, Le Corbusier was not interested in designing the city’s housing units, but rather the urban layout and the directional area, divided into units but conceived and functioning as a unicum. In a first proposal shown to Nehru there were four buildings: the Parliament, the Secretariat, the Palace of Justice and the Governor’s Residence. The Prime Minister declared his lack of interest about the latter: in a democracy he did not consider as necessary for a governor to


and his determined conviction that the country must be industrialized to avoid its full decline. This is not the only symbolic element. The open hand, Chandigarh’s icon, is a metaphor for the redistribution of wealth and the willingness to dialogue. With Chadigarh Le Corbusier realizes his dream of designing a city, an urban settlement for three million inhabitants. Although the plan regarded the whole city, just the directional quarter followed his guidelines. This is the defeat, the limit that the architect met in fulfilling his aim of controlling all the urban activities. The world was changed, it couldn’t be framed in the CIAM grid scheme Le Corbusier set, it wass no longer controllable in its complexity. Bibliography: Le Petit Journal du Syndicat de l’Architecture, Le Corbusier de A a Z, n. 25, Fédération des syndicats de l’architecture, Montreuil Paris 1987 W. Boesinger, Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete. Volume 5. 1946-52, Edition Girsberger, Zurich 1991 W. Boesinger, Le Corbusier. Oeuvre complete. Volume 6. 1952-57, Edition Girsberger, Zurich 1991 W. J. R. Curtis, Le Corbusier. Ideas and Forms, Phaidon, London 1992 W. J. R. Curtis, L’architettura moderna dal 1900, Phaidon, Londra 2007 M.Biraghi, Storia dell’architettura contemporanea I, 17501945, Einaudi, Torino 2008

on the right, from the top: 1. Inner view of the Secretariat shoot from the ramp toward the bearing walls which give rhythm to the facade. Source: projects/India/Chandigarh/High%20Court/. Photo: © Bruno Vanbesien 2. Detail of the elevation bearing walls of the Parliament. Source: www.greatbuildings. com/cgi-bin/gbi.cgi/Palace_of_Assembly. html/cid_1251542382_20080107-17_ CHANDIGARH.html. Photo: © Adrián Mallol 3. The Chandigarh Hand, metaphor for the redistribution of wealth and the willingness to dialogue. Source: carolyn-odonnell. com/2012/09/29/india-chandigarh-modernistcity-planned-with-the-help-of-le-corbusier/


Modern architecture

Pragmatism and Study of the Shape in the

Jonas Salk Institute of Louis Kahn by Veronica Rigonat

“Into [the project of] the Salk Institute constant care of Kahn about the construction materials turned into an overwhelming passion about the design of the details and the finishing. The performance quality they could reach in using in-situ cast concrete has never been overcome and very rarely has been equalled. The concrete, applied as an elegant material, appears protagonist, overshadowing even the beauty of the Travertine paving.” (trad D. B. Brownlee, I luoghi delle ispirazioni, in Louis I. Kahn, Rizzoli, Milano 1995, p.99) Almost contemporary to the 1959 CIAM in Otterlo, during which the architect introduced his thoughts about the relationship between Shape and Project, Louis Kahn was entrusted with the design of the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, San Diego, California. Louis Khan was born in Estonia in 1901. Then, he moved to the United States, he studied in Philadelphia, attending a Beaux-Art schools. “Monumentality”, his paper dated 1944, is a complaint against both rational and modern movements, reporting their incapacity of designing monuments. Despite of the common tendency Kahn

was researching in history the fundaments of his architecture, he was looking for everlasting images which could express imperishable values. Jonas Salk wasn’t only the client, he was an American doctor and a scientist who discovered the polio vaccine. Impressed by Khan’s work about the Institute of Research A. N. Richards (1957 - 1965), his request was not just a research laboratory but a space that could accommodate a community. The meeting between the architect and the scientist was crucial for the conceptual


Laboratori Salk, view of the square. Source:

Modern architecture and thematic development of the project, making possible to development the theme of the relation man-workplace. The client was at the same time pragmatic and showing a sensitivity about arts, these characteristics are shown in the requirements about the office spaces. Nine-thousand square meters for ten scientists: 900 square meters each, whose spatial quality must nevertheless be “suitable to host the works of Picasso” or Picasso himself. The complex had to meet three demands: a conference centre, accommodations for researchers and a laboratories area. The three themes were initially conceived as edges of a triangular system, placed at a few hundred metres distance one another. The highest area of the land is inscribed into the triangular shape. The whole complex includes the laboratories at the top, towards the ocean, the East and West housing, the Meeting House, a very interesting design object located at the northernmost point. In one of the study sketches of the conference centre, dated in 1960, Kahn draws the Villa Adriana in Tivoli plant. His project preserves the allurement of the ancient Hadrianic design: different volumes develop around a central room, the pin of the whole system. In the end, the only part to be completed was the research block. It seems as if project was developed following the same concepts which ruled the Richards Institute. Architecture is the tool used by Kahn to describe a common soul between scientific knowledge and humanistic knowledge. The labs are a meeting spots. Thus, the models are collective buildings from past, such as the convent of Assisi, visited by both Salk and Kahn, in 1954 and 1929. The project development lasted from 1959 until 1962, when the construction site was opened. Sketches, plastics, designs and design reflections testify the active debate between the architect and the client, as well as Kahn’s commitment to finding the most convincing solution, driven by his will to overcome himself, his enthusiasm and his intelligence.

Kahn defines a square, bordered at the two sides by blocks, hosting the laboratories, and opened on the short sides, and the strong relationship with the ocean is emphasized using games of heights and waterways. The two symmetrical bodies are connected only to the basement, through a large local plant that acts as a connection between the two and crosses the square. The development is elongated rectangular and subdivided into three bands. The central one hostes a large laboratory area of ​​20 x 75 m, 1500 sqm per floor. Blocks break into a turrets system overlooking the central empty space. Those have their own independent vertical connection which also plays the role of separation element between common and private spaces. There are located the researchers’ studios, on the second and fourth floor. Their particular geometry is due to a careful use of the shapes to guarantee the maximum comfort to the users. The architect devoted special attention to these units which he conceived as contemplation cells, places of meditation, almost monastic cells that look to the ocean. “I visited the lab researchers who are going to occupy the building, and I perceived them so sensitive even to the slightest noise, so that I realized how much, once in their offices, they show themselves allergic to anything strange to their Research.”- Louis Kahn. The outer sector, on the other hand, is occupied by five volumes, hosting the vertical circulation for “service-spaces”. Looking at the sections it appears clear that the cavities created by the Vierendeel beams, 2.75 m high, covering almost twenty meters of lights, give space to service floors, which are all practicable. The relation between “served” and “serviced” spaces which was vertically organised in the Richards Lab, is horizontally developed into the Salk Institute. The facades are in exposed concrete, with the exception of the tombstone facing walls of the Pacific, teak and glass. The square, initially, was conceived in slate, later used for Bryn Mawr College. Though the choice of travertine depended on economic reasons, the harmonious approach with the exposed


concrete gave a monolithic monumentality, as Marina Fumo and Gigliola Ausiello wrote in Louis I. Kahn. Architecture and Technique. However, since his first drawings it appeared clear the intention of defining a lawn square, after the encounter with Luis Barragan in Mexico City, a Mexican architect and engineer, Kahn decided to complete the square in stone and elevated it as main community place. It’s so defined public space characterized by the sound of water: milder when it flows out of the fountain and flows through the grooves on the pavement, more intense when the track approaches the ocean. Each of the materials applied declares its belonging to the design process. The joints describe the assembly and modelling methodologies: the formwork module is evident, untouched the jet smudges. “The articulation is the principle of decoration, because I am convinced that joining points is the principle of decoration.” - Kahn. The celebration of different elements belonging to a solo organism defines the concept of Order described in Kahn’s writings. Bibliography: M. Fumo, G. Ausiello, Louis I. Kahn: architettura e tecnica, CLEAN, Napoli 1996 W. J. R. Curtis, L’architettura moderna dal 1900, Phaidon, Londra 2007 A. Trentin, Louis I. Kahn, Motta Architettura, Milano 2008 R. Di Petta, Louis Isidore Kahn: la misura dell’eterno, Aracne, Roma 2010

on the right, from the top: 1. Laboratori Salk, view of the square. Source: 2. Researched offices, view from the outdoor. Source: louis-kahn/ 3. Fountain detail. Source: www.archdaily. com/61288/ad-classics-salk-institute-louiskahn/5037df6028ba0d599b00011a-ad-classicssalk-institute-louis-kahn-image 4. Detail of the niche between turret and main body. Source: home/2014/06/24/the-salk-institute-forbiological-studies/


Modern architecture

Technological Meticulousness and Laconic Fastness

Villa Tugendhat by Mies Van Der Rohe by Veronica Rigonat

“I have experienced similar architectural impressions only at the Kiefhoek quarter and at Parthenon for ancient architecture. Of course, it is difficult to talk about these things, since many different factors need to be taken into account; you should know Greek and be pervaded by the propthetic character of Mies. In American jargon, Brünn’s house is Extra. “ Philip Johnson, lettera a J.J.P. Oud, 2 settembre 1930, Stichting Architekturmuseum Amsterdam, Archivi Oud The exhibition hall in Barcelona, ​​ 1929, declares strongly Mies’ architectural choices, which are confirmed by his work of Casa Tugendhat in Brno in Czechoslovakia, between 1928 and 1930. The two projects began in 1928, in a short time two great assignments were entrusted Mies Van der Rohe’s atelier. The two were, at the same time, quite different one another and yet incredibly close to many aspects, so that Julius Bier would portray Tugendhat’s as “exhibition architecture” in “Die Form”, in 1931. The choice fell on Mies because of the admiration that Fitz and Grete

Tugendhat had for his works, seeking for “lustre, airiness and transparency”, characteristics they considered fundamental for their house. Although, the architect hasn’t realised a large number of works yet, he has already gained a great reputation thanks to the Werkbundausstellung realization, in 1927 in Stuttgart, and to the entrustment for the Barcelona pavilion in the summer of 1928, then built between April and May 1929. The pavilion together with the project fìin Brno are considered the results of research and experimentation conducted by the architect


View of Brno from the living room. Source: Tugendhat_interior_Dvorak.jpg

Modern architecture since his work for the exhibition space of the German glass industry, the Glasraum, which could be visited in Stuttgart between 23rd, July and 9th, October, 1929. Moravia was considered the center of modern Czechoslovak architecture. The spouses Tugendhat represent the category of well-off and progressive clients, who support the development of the Czech Modern Movement. However, this home would raise a few doubts, even among the supporters of the Neues Bauen: it is not a minimal and reproducible home, indeed, far from the experimental unit of Le Corbusier at Weissenhofsiedlung. Although similar in some respects, in this case the house is luxurious, proved by the Lilly Reich’s decorations and the metal furniture designed by the architect. The house of Fitz and Grete Tugendhat was to rise on a hill facing the city: Black Field, a property received as a wedding gift from the Löw-Beers, bride’s parents. The North side, facing the street, is closed and reserved, while the South Front opens onto the city of Brno. The road leads to the back and to the caretaker from which you have access to the residence. The staircase is a translucent glass volume that hides the entrance and invites you to continue to the living area. The building is developing over three floors. The mail entrance is on the third level, the only one that exits at the road section, on the same level as the sleeping area. The spaces are quite unusually organised considering the period during which the house was realised. This decision was declaring Mies’s architectural thinking. Julius Posener, in Bauwelt in 1969, also emphasized this arrangement contrary to the traditional rules. From the sleeping area you descend into a large and bright room, fifteen to twentyfive meters, which is organised by two walls only, one in ebony wood curve and one in golden onyx, avoiding traditional closures. The environment was characterized by iridescent curtains and glazed surfaces of different opacity and colour. Chromeplated cruciform pillars, supporting the

structure, are not enlined to the façade, they are backward. The compositional elements are the same of Barcelona pavillion. However, in this case one of the walls is curved, proving that the architect is now designing a house, not a pavilion. Therefore, the wall curves to create intimacy, to offer a gathering space to the family. With this element comes the reference to Villa Stein of Le Corbusier, which Mies carefully studied. The windows are retractable: if open, the frame is completely hidden by the floor, eliminating any division between the interior and the exterior. Winter light can penetrate easily, but summer rays are blocked by a curtain system. The opening frames a view of the city. Complex and dramatic, this house has several degrees of intimacy and visual protection: from the valley view to the library. The winter garden is devided from the living area by a glazed wall. Mies placed the greenhouse at the meeting point between interior and exterior, taking indoor the wonderful park that surrounds the villa. Frampton described the greenhouse as a third element, capable of mediating between the crystallized structure of the onyx surface, insidoor, and the vegetation, the nature outdoor. The decoration is conceived as a part of the nature, rather than an artistic invention. The garden is divided into two parts: a graded area dedicated to flowers and small shrubs and a meadow area from which the decline of the house begins on the hillside. Franz Tugendhat described the effect the house exerts on him: “When I allow these spaces, and everything in it to exercise their influence on me, I have a clear impression: this is beauty, this is truth”. In the sleeping area, the rooms look like first-class cabins of a transatlantic, overlooking one side on a light corridor and on the other, on the upper terrace. The rhythm of the pillars marks the space both insidoor and outdoor. However, once in contact with the outdoor they change: from chromium electroplating to galvanization. It is thought that the architect was influenced by the study for


the Berlin house of the painter Emile Nolde. The two met when in the Riehl, so Mies was entrusted to design a dwelling for the artist. Similarly to the case of Brno, the flat plan developed starting from long full walls. However, this study never found fulfillment: the house was never realized. Villa Tugendhat comes from the combination of steel, glass and stone, evoking a bright world generated by alignments and focal points. The luxurious idea of ​​machinism and sense of classical nobility are represented by this unit: it is a celebration of industrialism which, as Biraghi wrote, under the wise control of Mies Van Der Rohe, can be enhanced by both clear control of proportions and transparency and through sublimation of materials. Bibliography Peter Carter, Mies van der Rohe al lavoro, Phaidon Press Limited, Londra 2006 Jean-Louis Cohen, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, Editori La Terza, Bari 2011 Marco Biraghi e Alberto Ferlenga, Architettura del Novecento. Opere, progetti, luoghi, Einaudi, Torino 2013 W. J. R. Curtis, L’architettura moderna dal 1900, Phaidon, Londra 2007 M.Biraghi, Storia dell’architettura contemporanea I, 17501945, Einaudi, Torino 2008 Claire Zimmerman, Mies Van Der Rohe, 1886-1969: The Structure of Space, Taschen, Cologne 2009

on the right, from the top: 1. Living room detail, armchair designed by Mies. Source: www.ripullulailfrangente.wordpress. com/2013/08/21/ 2. Bed-room. Source: www. aaaarchitetturacercasi. 3. Living room view. When open the windows disappear in the floor. Source: www.arkitalker. 4. The ebony wall and the golden onyx one. Source: 10/11/luxurious-less/ 5. View of the winter garden and the park from the living. Source: www.aaaarchitetturacercasi.


The transformed faรงade of the San Francesco Monastery in cultural center ,Santpedor, Catalonia, Spain. Source:

Rediscovered architectures


CULTURAL CENTER OF SAN FRANCESCO IN SANTPEDOR by Kristal Virgilio english translation by Mateja Lazarević

In Japan, when a jar breaks, Japanease people use to fill the cracks with gold to underline and enhance them: there is not the will to hide the damage, actually, the broken and then repared jam shines, litterally, of a new light. The cracks aren’t seen as breakings, but as huge opportunities. This simple principle, applied to architecture, makes reborn history, giving it a name. The same attitude is used by David Closes y Núñez, catalan architect, born in 1967, gradueted in ETSAB, Escola d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, in his restoration project of the requalification of the remaining part of the Monastery of San Francesco in Santpedor (Catalonia), in Spain. The building site started in 2005, the restoration of the Monastery of San Francesco and his transformation in a Cultural Site was completed in 2011, and in 2012 received the Catalunya Construcciò

Prize and in 2014 it was chosen for the Spain Pavillion for the Venice Biennale. It had a great success and the reason doesn’t surprise us. The Monastery of San Francesco was built on franciscan priests’ request in the second half of 1700, it was ransacked and destroyed in 1835 and then it was abandoned. It hasn’t been touched until the 2000’s, when a big part was demolished. The only part that survived was the church, even if it underwent serious structural damages.


Modern architecture Basically, this is the story of the decay of a bulding of which remain only the ruins. Despite this, in this ruin, Closes saw a great opportunity and transformed a set of old bricks, giving them a new life, a new identity. Closes kept entirely the original plant, the architect picked up this historical ‘box’ without changing the spaces and the structure, transforming it in a multipurpose center entirely contemporary, just gently including modern elements, mainly using glass, a material that completely separates from the historical ones. The space of the central nave has been mantained as the original one without internal divisions of the spaces, while the spaces ‘strangers’ to the religiuos structure (as servicesan Closes’ aim is clear: the restoration shall not affect the history and the soul of the wreck. It is demonstrated by the collapsed roofs, that are original and untouched, but instead, they are reused throught the realisation of skylight for the filtration of the natural light from the top. In addition, inside some stairs have been settled in order to enter the upper floors, developing a museum path whose subjet is the building itself. The treatment that Closes reserves to the historical architectures is special, as if the building has its own and untouchable purity, and he brings back to its original brightness: we talk about the respect for what had been, with his own raison d’être. Between the new inclusions we found the glazed façade, that includes the first staircase, visible from the outside, that takes to the upper floors. This part comes out from the façade, and it is intentionally detached, underlining the implant of the ‘new’ into the existent. The lateral elevations introduce other elements in glass and metal that distinguish themselves from the chromatic point of view. Unexpectendly, the additions seem to coexist with history with harmonic naturalness. The endless discussion between who restores a building producing a fabrication


of history whatever it takes to save it and who lets it sadly decay in order not to affect its authenticity, here comes the compromise. Closes proves to show that history and modernity can coexist, interact, enrich each another. He surrenders to the action of the time, to the becoming, to the transformations, to the decay, and where others see deterioration, he finds opportunities. This attitude can be assimilated to broken jars, to historical structures to restore and, mainly, in everyday life. Linkography: www.ristr

Previous page, from the top: 1. Internal structure. Source: www.davidcloses. 2. Detail of the stairs. Source: www.davidcloses. 3. Detail of the building roof. Source: www. convent-de-sant-francesc-2/ Current page, from the top: 4. External detail of the contemporary inclusion to the structure. Source: www.davidcloses. 5. Entrance scale seen from the inside. Source: convent-de-sant-francesc-2/ 6.Glimpse of the external part of the building. Source: www.davidcloses.wordpress. com/2012/05/18/convent-de-sant-francesc-2/


View of the borgo. Source:

Rediscovered architectures

ARCHEOLOGY AS RECOVERY OBJECT: RESTORATION OF BORGO SAN MICHELE IN PISA by Kristal Virgilio english translation by Mateja Lazarević

“Actually, ancient architectures show up to our eyes like the sum of the infinite actions of generations of custumers, inhabitants, architects; this is architecture, son of many architects, that often are unknown. All this generated in those buildings a big value, a rare beauty, difficult to catalogue and often dictated by circumstance or by contingency; our ultimate purpose is to preserve and give back that beauty, not only in terms of documentary heritage, but also in terms of aesthetic combination” Massimo Carmassi Actually, architecture is the mirror of the human mind in comparison to his historical context, and this makes the act of the restoration very difficult and fragile. What’s important it’s how the architect perceives the history. Massimo Carmassi’s approach concernes including the ‘new’ in the historical

buildings, suggesting elements as discrete as possible, characterised by handmade and not industrial elements, with simple and gently shapes. In order to preserve the integrity of the structures and of the existent decoration system, the few implants that integrate in the complex are completely indipendent;


Modern architecture they configure as indipendent cells, neutral, that aspire to lost, disappear in the ancient architectural text, without interfere with it. This is possible also because Carmassi every time tries to achieve a distributive strategy of the spaces that reduces as much as possible the necessity of dividing the spaces and to add new functional elements. The modern restoration is often characterised by a powerful presence of the ‘new’, covering the ‘old’ with materials like iron, slabs, runways and new floorings. By contrast, the priority of Carmassi is the History, unquestioned incision in the human mind and in its material attestation, among whom architecture, that among the artworks, it’s the most admirable. The borgo of San Michele in Pisa is a structure of the XIII century. It was partially destroyed during the Second World War, the restoration by the architect Carmassi considers the tissue of the ruins, re- establishing the structure of the strictly medieval matrix. The idea of the architect was re-using the remaining walls as base for the recostruction of the structure, to re-use it as housing buildings and offices. The solution that he adopted proposes the completation of the remaining leftovers on the north and south side of the area and the recostruction ex-novo of a building on the east side, in order to mend the lacerated urban area, beside obtaining a new square of regualar shape, characterised by the evident sign of the apse of stone of the church that opposes to the uniform walls of the new structural inserts. The north building hosts 2 apartments composed of 3 bedrooms, leaned over the 3 free sides, provided with terraces. The east batch establishes on the gound floor a single volume, used for commercial purposes, the upper floors welcome in total 5 apartments. The diaphragms that separate the openings of the triple volumes are drawn according to broken lines to obtain the best spacial fluidity between the street and the square and they are built in ironand glass on the

ground floor, in order to obtain a completely trasparency from one side to the other. The upper floors are, instead, made by double panels of larch boards that absorb the openings and the shutters. The apartments look out on the square and, even if their surface is reduced, they are designed to obtain pleasant spaces and rich of functional opportunities. Some parts are rickety, so they’re not available, they were demolished, other that are still stable were restored, considered historically important. The use of the materials is repetitive (people from Pisa called it Borgo ‘brickwork’) but coherent with the historical context , in the chromaticisms and in the materials. The modern nature of his work exists especially in the quality of the intenal spaces, where the bonds with the modernism are clear: ‘In an historic centre, the old buildings often seem like neautral boxes where the architecture is completely assigned to the interiors, I think that Borgo San Michele responds to this characteristics’. It’s a work based on a pacient fact finding survey of archeological nature and the use of traditional constructive practices: ‘For us, the representation of the state of affairs of the building and of the project of restoration has to be strict, rich, elegant; it has to proof the validity of the action that we’re going to execute. The action appears so natural that probably won’t be possible do it in another way. The kindness and the softness with whom Carmassi treated the material is apsolutely visible in the simplicity of the result, thanks to the sensational confidence with whom he includes new elements using the ancient as a base. Blunt and polite, his restore is one of the most interesting for a reflection on destruction and transformation.


Bibliography and linkography: Massimo Carmassi, Pisa. Ricostruzione di San Michele in Borgo, Il Poligrafo, 2005; Interview, Il restauro secondo Massimo Carmassi, a cura di Davide Turrini. Online pdf document; Ricostruzione di San Michele in Borgo. Complesso di residenze economiche, negozi. Pisa 1979-2001. Massimo Carmassi. Online pdf document.

on the right, from the top: 1. View of the square facing the reconstructed part of the borgo, integrated on the ancient mediaval walls. Source: www.carmassiarchitecture. com/ 2. View of the square facing the reconstructed part of the borgo. Source: 3. View of the internal spaces in the new structure. Source: images/012carmassisan-michele-in-borgopisa1991-2001.jpg 4. Project axonometry by the architect Carmassi. Source: 5. View of the internal spaces in the new structure. Source: mattonaia/1979-2002SanMicheleinBorgo.jpg


Prospective detail of the project. Source:

Rediscovered architectures

landscape as a laboratory:

the rigorous restoration

of cannatà & Fernandes

at Guimarães by Kristal Virgilio english translation by Marco Lodi Rizzini

“We must always remember that making architecture is building buildings for people, universities, museums, schools, halls for concerts: all these places have to become places against barbarisation. They are places where people can stay together, they are cultural and art places, and art has always shone in the eyes of those who were prone to it.” Renzo Piano the natural scenery with the building. Within the new buildings, on the east side, there’s a wide and bright conference room. On the west side, another entrance leads directly to the laboratories for architects and town planners, which spaces and rooms are divided from services blocks. From a certain perspective, the first volume, reconstructed in white concrete, seems suspended in the air: it represents the main entrance of the first room. The access was made thanks to the demolition of one of the original roofs and, through a walkways, leads the visitor

In 2010, the Portuguese architecture firm Cannatà & Fernandes arquitectos won the contest for the project of Landscape as a laboratory at Guimarães, retraining an old factory in a national ecologic reserve, by the reuse of its interior space, in order to create research laboratories for young architects and town planners. The main facade overlooks the river Ribeira de Selho. The morphology of the area is characterized by an important height difference and by thick vegetation with dirt road paths, on which it’s possible to admire the landscape. An ancient stone bridge links


Rediscovered architectures at the most solemn and stunning part of the building: the façade in front of the river. Part of this facade is constituted by the big blocks of the original bricks, cleaned up and repositioned by architects. The most degraded parts were rebuilt in white concrete, in order to create massive but soft and rigorous volumes. These volumes, in particular, stand out in contrast with the ancient bricks, forming a continuous dialog between the old and new, which are in coexistence, in order to recall what architects define “the indisputable contemporaneousness of a rehabilitation”. This prospective view has an irregular rhythm, which is not defined through a new rule of the Portuguese designers but through the ancient; this choice tells a lot about the behavior of Cannatà e Fernandes towards History. This rhythm, that apparently seems illogical, however makes the internal space distinctive, which is also neat in chromatisms, but unique in its shape and in its impact with the light. Within the structure, it’s perceived a harmony between light and matter, bathed in a contemporary unrivalled freshness. White, that is the most used color concerning the chromatisms of ceilings and walls, but also concerning the plain and functional furniture, thanks to its elegance, emphasizes the importance of the surrounding landscape, that can be seen through the wide glass walls. Moreover, the light-colored wood pavement underlines further the delicacy of rooms. We can also mention the choice of artificial illumination, that is placed in order to bring out further pace layers of roof. The outcome is a perfect harmony of choice, some of which were made in order to highlight others. This model of contemporaneous restoration it’s particularly interesting, given that the architectural historical matrix remains unaltered, although the new function is completely different. However the building wasn’t so “particular” but only a structure belonged to current building, a mature critical capacity, that implies the discretion of a previous choice, can be seen.


In his work “La reintegrazione dell’immagine”, Giovanni Carbonara says: “The restoration has educational and commemorative functions for future generations, for young people; it ultimately is concerned not with satisfaction with research per se, but the preparation of all citizens and their quality of life, viewed in the widest possible spiritual and material sense.” Nowadays, the restoration matter is rather complex. On one hand, we can observe an attempt to give back the architectural building to its historical-determined world through the replacement in its own space, considering the original function and structure in the purest form; at the same time, there’s also an attempt to make the building (itself) throbbing and current again, in quality of integral part of the contemporaneous world. Between the different ways to implement the respect of the architectural work, the reapplication of some of original materials was chosen, which were cleaned up and reused in the creation of a structure where, in totally opposition, present and past are melded, although they are separate from each other. Bibliography and linkography: G. Carbonara, “La reintegrazione dell’immagine”, Bulzoni, Roma, 1976.

on the side, from the top: 1. View from West of the new project. 2. View from East of the new project. 3. Detail of the interior. 4. Detail of the conference hall. in this page, from the top: 5. Detail of the interior one of the study halls. 6. Detail from the interior of the pace layers. 7. Original structure. Images’ source: built/laboratorio-da-paisagem/


View of the park with the grooves on the ground. Source: Photo: Š Hanns Joosten


Rediscovered architectures


unesco world heritage site

a place reflected in time by Stefano Sarzi Amadè english translation by Sebastiano Marconcini

Historical testimonies of different cultures are always able to raise emotions and reflections moved from the awareness that enjoying cultural heritage is a huge privilege. But how many times do we wonder if what has arrived to these days is everything or just a part of what history could have imparted to us? And how to make those testimonies that we have received only in part to live again , perhaps in an intangible form? On this topic, the project for the Lorsch Abbey is one of the most elegant and evocative example of landscape architecture in contemporary history. Nowadays, the only buildings of this complex that are still intact are the church, the old access door and the Torhalle, which represents the oldest monument of German Franconia, while the entire site was declared Unesco World Heritage Site in 1991. Unfortunately, since a very small part of the ancient complex has remained, the main issue of the site was related to the knowledge of the history, the comprehension of the structural volumes

The Lorsch Carolingian Imperial Abbey, built in the town of the same name near the banks of the River Rhine, in Germany, was home to one of the most important Benedictine monasteries thanks to its library and the art in writing manuscript performed by its monks. The historical complex, whose construction began in 764 AD, was consecrated in 774 AD and after years of decline, during the wars with Luigi XIV, it was burned down by the French soldiers.


Modern architecture and the whole complexity that wasn’t nearly perceived, even risking to be forgotten over time. In 2010, the Administration of State Palaces and Gardens Hesse and the Lorsch Municipality announced a competition for the redevelopment and the enhancement of the historic site, won by Topotek 1 and HG Merz Architekten team. The design concept, which realization ended in 2014, developed the idea of working on the great spatial void made of wide, graceful and majestic green areas, through the topography and the motion of the ground, which follow the edges of the ancient buildings to avoid losing their memory over time. It was not a matter of physically rebuilding the volumes of the ancient palaces - an operation that could have been expensive and difficult to realize, since there is no accurate knowledge of the features of the ancient buildings - but to entrust the landscape with the task of evoking and commemorating the historic heritage, in harmony with the current natural environment. Thus, some key elements of the ancient complex have been identified: the edges of the buildings, the central axis, the cloisters and different signs were translated into movements of the ground, which draw the void by emphasizing the history and the emotional memory. With simple gestures, the landscape has been physically “engraved” through grooves on the ground, about 35 centimeters high, that symbolize the trail ideally left by the buildings, and through pleasantly perceptible lines. They look like random signs on the ground, but if carefully observed they reveal an original reading by making again recognizable the historical signs through their imprints on the ground, in a continuous and poetic harmony with the nature of the place. Reading the topography is made easy by the uniformity with which the lawn is treated and the spaces become an open-air museum that gently hosts the visitors and closely shows its own story.

If in the past the ancient Torhalle represented the main entrance to the monastic complex, it now becomes the element of connection between the urban environment and the natural landscape of the park through a gradual and communicative language from the stone element, which symbolizes the urban fabric, and the lawn, which symbolizes nature. It has been used a pavement made of stone bands which, dense at the entrance, are arranged with a gradually greater distance towards the inside of the park. The alternation between urban and natural carries the visitors by leading them in perceiving the passage from the city to an environment that progressively becomes more and more natural. The paved elements are used to highlight some significant paths within the park and the entrance to the ruins of the church, as well as to enhance the reconnection between the green and the public spaces of the city; in fact, the gradual system of stone bands has been used to realize the pavement of the nearby Benediktiner Square. The system of the green paths is designed to link some of the site’s nodal points: these “cultural landmarks” represent emblematic places whose history is closely tied to the one of the ancient monastery. Museums and spaces for multidisciplinary activities are arranged in the green space, allowing the visitor to perceive the distant dialogue between the various activities od the entire area next to the Abbey. In the park there’s also a new space designed by Topotek 1 and HG Merz Architekten team: the “forgotten herbs garden”. The garden, designed following the studies of the Lorsch Pharmacopoeia - the oldest medieval manuscript on medicinal herbs, inserted in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register - is located on a natural hill limited by dry stone walls and it collects a variety of plants, typical for their colors, perfumes and flowers, arranged according to the natural morphology of the ground. The archeological evidence found during the construction are located in the exhibition


spaces. Here the whole area is treated as a project to become, since it can be enriched whenever new recovery activities, for which the site has been prepared, bring new finds to light. The overall look of the park is also imagined as a space able to transform, adding new elements to the morphology of the ground whenever new historical features are discovered. The will to not rebuilt the past but to introduce it through a modern language reflected in the present, linked to the ductility with which the place can be transformed, makes this project an efficient window towards the future, from which, looking the man’s ancient signs in the contemporary space, everyone can perceive the expression of its own time, through which read and protect history , in a new environment full of beauty and meaning reflected in a poetically exciting atmosphere.

on the right, from the top: 1. The Torhalle. Source: index.php/2015/11/unesco-world-heritagesite-abbey-lorsch/. Photo: © Hanns Joosten 2. View of the park with the grooves on the ground and the strips paved with stone. Source: Photo: © Hanns Joosten 3. The forgotten herbs garden. Source: www. Photo: © Hanns Joosten 4. Detail of the grooves on the ground. Source: Photo: © Hanns Joosten 5. Panoramic view on the landscape. Source: unesco-world-heritage-site-abbey-lorsch/. Photo: © Hanns Joosten


Patio das Escolas. Detail. Source: Photo: Š Fernando Guerra / FG+SG

Urban spaces

patio das escolas: a modern poem by Stefano Sarzi Amadè english translation by Sebastiano Marconcini

The courtyard redevelopment of the ancient Portuguese university of Coimbra, designed by the architects Gonçalo Byrne and BB Arquitectos, is a project that sees its language rooted in the reading of the place, preserving its identity and enhancing its prestige. The politeness with which this intervention fits into the environment becomes an example of design elegance that enriches the poetic meaning of making architecture. The city of Coimbra, Portuguese capital of around 140.000 inhabitants, houses one of the most ancient and still open European universities, certainly the most important one of the entire country. This institution, founded in 1290 and which now is hosting numerous faculties (Letters, Psychology, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Economics, Psychology, Education Sciences, Sports Science, Science and Technology), changed its location four times before it was definitely established, in 1573, in the current campus in SÊ Nova district, in the city of Coimbra.

During the period between these years, other than the university, the prestigious palaces of this architectural unit houses the ancient royal residence. In this context, the image of the architectural complex, which reflects the stylistic complexity due to the evolution of the various historical phases, is a very important element, since it represents the aspect with which the university show itself to the world and because, thanks to its role, it enjoys a first-level visibility. It is for this reason that, in preparation of the recognition by UNESCO as World


Urban spaces Heritage site, title given to the University of Coimbra in 2013, it was considered the redevelopment of the public spaces of this complex, with the aim of focusing the intervention on the main square. The courtyard of the university, overlooked, among others, by the prestigious Via Latina, palace with a neoclassical staircase and porch, the Iron Gate, the University’s Tower, the St. Miguel’s Chapel, the Joanina Library and which it’s also accessible through the magnificent Minerva Stairs, has been used as a parking lot for cars until few years ago, being, in fact, and element of weakening for the whole complex due to its unpretentious function, albeit functioning, and because of the concrete pavement which made its image inexorably hasher. The redevelopment project, designed and coordinated by the architect Gonçalo Byrne and BB Arquitectos, focuses on the patio area of 6000 square meters and sets as primary objectives the full protection of the existing heritage and the enhancement of the functionality of the spaces and of the image built by the architectural complex, through language that combines technique and sensibility. The project, begun in 2011, reevaluates the aspect of the courtyard, completely replacing the concrete surface and rethinking the harmonies of the spaces, without altering in any way the image of the whole complex, but rather enhancing its shapes, colors and proportions. Therefore, the patio becomes an elegant space led by a poem written by the existing architectural heritage, of which Byrne and BB Arquitectos continue the metrics, as if the square could became the obvious continuation of the prestigious buildings composition, translated through contemporary language. In more detail, the intervention proposes the realization of a new pavement, thin and visually light, which recalls the ancient parade ground through the uso of traveler and stone, the same used on the facades of the buildings of which not only it resumes the colors and the material consistency, but

naturally defines its language, fulfilling it in its complexity. The expressive modernity of the new project is reflect in the reinterpretation of the paths along the square, based not on the volumes, but on the surfaces and the lights and colors suggestions. Therefore, the architects studied and redesign the network of the paths that unites the main entrances of the buildings, obtaining a design that defines the rhythm and order of the external spaces. So, while the square surface is covered by ocher traveler, the perimeter spaces and the drawn of paths are in stone, giving to the whole complex a sense of unione and harmonies coexistence. And if the Renaissance and Baroque palaces have once been the royal residence, the patio, keeping its yard identity, resembles the concept of its garden, where hedges and ground trails seem to be recalled in the new design of the square. Architects Byrne and BB Arquitectos empty the environment from any visual barriers, so that any elements, whether architectural or natural, could be observed in the clearest way possible. From the patio terrace it’s possible to enjoy the beautiful hillside landscape prevailed by the Montego River that crosses the city, as in a picture where the two protagonists, landscape and architecture, become one the other harmonious context, and vice versa. So this “garden” becomes the face for the high city of Coimbra, with the beautiful facades of the buildings, enhanced by an environment that highlights their historical and artistic value. It becomes the stage from which the same architectural complex faces the city and the landscape that offers a breathtaking view. The reduction of any visual obstacle is also reflected in the redevelopment of the water drainage channels; the previous drainage system, severely damaged by the ravages of time, has been replaced by concrete drainage channels with stone drilled slabs on top, which have a minimum cavity to allow the laying of the channels without affecting the underlying surfaces


of the square. The drainage system has also included the installation of spay irrigation devices to cool down the surfaces during summer heat periods. The project is completed by the planting of some trees near the facade of St. Pedro’s College, in order to offer a relief moment for those who want to hang out in the courtyard, to relax or admire the spectacle of the landscape. The Patio das Escolas project teaches us how, in redeveloping public spaces and architectures it’s not necessary to realize pretentious intervention that invade and distort the space, often compromising it. Instead, it’s important to read and understand the environment in which we interviene, to better respect the history, the identity and the heritage, succeeding in intervening through, only in appearance, simple projects, but which, in fact, highlight the great research work and an unquestionable elegance and respect that, combined with professional mastery, give shape to that poem able to reach your feelings.

on the right, from the top: 1. View from above. Note the design of the stone paths. Source: projects/259579-bb-arquitectos-goncalo-byrnearquitectos-lda-fernando-guerra-fg-sg-patiodas-escolas. Photo: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG 2. View of the square from Via Latina. Source: Photo: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG 3. View of the square towards the cityscape. Source: Photo: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG 4. The contemporary elegance of the intervention enhances the facades and colors of the historic buildings. Source: www.divisare. com/projects/259579-bb-arquitectos-goncalobyrne-arquitectos-lda-fernando-guerra-fg-sgpatio-das-escolas. Photo: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG


Scorcio del parco con le scanalature del terreno. Fonte: Foto: Š Hanns Joosten

Urban spaces


silves CASTLE, THE SONG OF THE LANDSCAPE by Stefano Sarzi Amadè english translation by Sebastiano Marconcini

The architect Joao Antonio Ribeiro Ferreira Nunes and his PROAP team have always made special their project, thanks to their sensitive attention to the identity and the morphological and historical features of the spaces in which they intervene and the delicate poetry, rich in meaning, that makes each of their proposal a symbol of elegance and preciousness, a gesture of great respect towards the landscape, with a noble and unique spirit. The Silves Castle project is certainly one of the most appreciated examples in the fascinating catalog of the works realized by the PROAP group, headed by the architect Nunes, and one of the most clear symbols of the approach of great sensibility that the group adopts in designing urban spaces. Designed in 2004 on behalf of the city of Silves, in Portugal, and completed in 2008, the project to link the city and the historic castle is an articulate system of services and connections with the landscape, that

tightens two urban environments in a permanent relationship, at the same time delicate and graceful, where the nature is establishing the rules. In particular, the new intervention has the role of reconnect the historic city, located on the hill, and the urban area positioned in the northeast, focusing the attention on the north hillside of the Silves Castle, over an area of 45.000 m2 fully characterized by the typical vegetation of the territory, through a physical and mental dialogue


Urban spaces that doesn’t conflict, although it develops a direct connection between the areas, with the natural features of the place. The project, conceived and realized by the PROAP group, is characterized by three areas, distinguishable by function and simultaneously by land elevation: a first space, located at the foot of the hill, with accommodating functions and services, a second area, center of the project poetic meaning, which represents the connecting element and it locates on the hillside, and a third place, at the highest position, developed inside the castle walls starting from the Porta da Traição, the portal to access the castle. The first of the three spaces is accessible through the pedestrian and vehicle streets of the city, and it is characterized by a real square, at the foot of the hill, and represents the access element which leads from the near car park to the path towards the castle. This is the area of the entire project with the most “urban” features and, being the filter between the city and the natural landscape, it contains the characteristic elements of both environments. In realizing the street furniture, the use of unrefined stone and wood represent nature and the usage of the white pedra da região of the Portuguese tradition, while a new structure introduce a new accommodating and recreational feature, renewing the square role and enriching it with the presence of the Quinta do Camacho and the building of the Technology Center de Citricultura. In this way, the space not only represents an access and hospitality point, but it also becomes the attractive center in which to be engaged in different activities and prestigious space from where to watch the suggestive panoramas of the city. The second area that, as mentioned, has the role to reconnect is characterized by a sensible design language, through which the visitor is introduced into the natural landscape along the hillside leading to the high city. This language has been achieved thanks to the realization of linear boardwalks, piled and raise from the

ground to keep nature untouched, placed with different inclinations in order to fully chase the morphology and the altitude of the hill. The boardwalks are not directly connected, but they are linked by a system of green island characterized by an uniform lawn, which play the role of resting and nodal spaces, and clay area designed to host temporary exhibition and events. The other plants used retrieve the spontaneous and characteristic vegetation of this landscape. The pedra da região is used in these spaces for the production of seats, which lead a street furniture mainly focused on local information. Although the path system identifies in the set of boardwalks and green squares the main way - with allows the easy access to people with different level of mobility and discourages the visitor from crossing impervious and unstable areas - it fully adapts itself to the landscape, identifying its character and intervening with the suggestion of an approach through boardwalks, but letting the visitor to choose their own path within nature. It is an expression of poetry, born from the dedicated study of the environmental language and the reading of its features, not only to get inspiration and the direction to follow but, above all, to enhance its identity and emotional value. We are not surprised of this constant will to communicate with nature: the architect Nunes always searches, as a poet does with words, the magic and uniqueness enclosed in natural elements and details. They can be the textures of soils and stones, the organicity of the wood fibers, the vegetation pattern or the large harmonious structures hidden in the leaves, all elements that the architect reads and then translates, with poetic sensitivity, into his projects (just think to project like the Setúbal Garden, the Almirante Reis Garden, the Linear Park in Ourém and the Bank regeneration of Lagoa das Furnas), as to use the language of nature for nature. The third area of the project is represented by the complex of the castle and its historical walls, that host different services of ac-


commodating and archeological character. The design processa has recovered the structural features of the walls and, on the basis of the type of decay found, improves its use, reinforcing its stability through an artisan work. The respect for the landscape is also reflected in the investigation to make the intervention less invasive: by using the embankments and realizing some excavations, it was possible to attach the water drainage, irrigation and lighting functions, as well as reach heights and depths of ramps and foundations, enabling, in the executive phase, to significantly reduce the cost of construction. The PROAP project for the city of Silves is an organic and flexible intervention, changeable over time along with the evolution of the landscape and urban features, but above all it is an excellent project due to the great respect adopted towards the landscape and for the ability to read its physical and emotional value. Just as poets do with words.

on the right, from the top: 1. The access to the boardwalks on the hillside, where Quinta do Camacho is visible. Source: www. 2. The boardwalks surrounded by the green of the hillside, from which you can see the panorama of Silves. Source: projects/205045-joao-antonio-ribeiro-ferreiranunes-proap-fernando-guerra-fg-sg-castello-disilves 3. The integration of the new intervention with the surrounding natural landscape. Source: www. 4. The path to approach the Castle. Note the elevated position of the boardwalks compared to the level of the ground. Source: www.proap. pt/it/progetto/silves-castle-hillside-3/ 5. The Silver Castle, subject of an intervention of consolidation. Source: projects/205045-joao-antonio-ribeiro-ferreiranunes-proap-fernando-guerra-fg-sg-castello-disilves


Events journal All the world’s futures Milano Buenos Aires: roundtrip Jefferson and Palladio: how to build a new world Design process in brazilian modern architecture. Oscar Niemeyer and Lina Bo Bardi: a lecture of Gabriel Kogan Forms and Forces: permanent decades and italian evolution You must be obsessed with life! Design and dream cities Marmomacc: stone + design + technology. International trade fair In the head of Vincenzo Scamozzi: an intellectual architect in the fade of the Reinassance 77 million paintings for Palazzo Te: Brian Eno’s digital art in Mantua Brick, mortar, intellect and composition: Gabinete de Arquitectura Stefano Boeri, what does a forest in the city? The Japanese House: architecture and life from 1945 till today The Gelman Collection and the story of a crazy love Simple as all my life

Art and Architecture Peter Gentenaar, suggestions of paper poems Felice Varini: the space becomes a canvas James Turrell and the power of light Reflected horizons by Phillip K Smith III



Tuvalu Pavilion at the Arsenale. Source:


Events journal

All the World's

Futures by Carolina Donati english translation by Olenka Palomino

The most relevant international fair of art has expanded, exceeding the original boundaries, throughout the city. The 56th edition of the Biennale di Venezia counts with eighty-nine national pavilions, forty-four parallel events and endless shows that the Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor wanted to satisfy an audience, not only of the world’s art elite, but also casual visitors and business giants. After exploring the suburbs ignored by the art market, Enwezor’s Biennale was christened with the title “All the World’s Futures - Parliament of Forms”, invited to the contemplation of a possible future driven into stage by the commissioning of contemporary tensions urging by the artists. Politic intentions of the curator done to discuss much about the choice of read live, throughout the exhibition, tracks of Das Kapital by Karl Marx. But not limited to the work of Luigi Nono’s music Non Consumiamo Marx (1969), harks back

the German artist Olaf Nicolai who, with his project Non consumiamo ... (2015) proposes portable backpacks for visitors who can listen (and to listen) recordings of songs inspired by the Marxist readings. In the central pavilion of the Giardini a striking wall of four meters consisted a stack of leather suitcases, wood and stacked hat boxes of various sizes, the Western Wall or Wailing Wall (1993), was “the symbol of the division of the world, exile, of the escape and the forced exodus”, admitted the artist. In the work, between


Events journal the corners of two suitcases, peeped an ivy seedling that completely changed the first impact and introduced, albeit timid, hope, “the sign of continuation of existence mixed with the mute and squared stones or the empty and inert suitcases even they can prevent”. One word dominates, obsess, design and embroil the wall: The End. The sense of insecurity that reigned throughout the Biennale continued in the work of American Robert Smithson: Dead Tree (1969), a huge withered tree placed diagonally in the third room. Between the branches and the roots there were stuck two long mirrors that suggested the impossible reproduction of life as they reflected only dry and dead wood. Two videos, shot by Smithson with his wife Nancy Holt, completed the work: Swamp (1971) and Mono Lake (1968-2004) in which the artists cross a swampy field with dry reeds and trample the dense water of Mono Lake. A relationship with Nature made of immersion in the most desolate parts of it and contemplation of ghostly landscapes A nature without mercy is instead that the reality of Tuvalu. Inside the Pavilion it is recreated the tide and the dream space you through is nothing but the stark reality that could be the fate of the island. The intent of Enwezor continued in more articulated form and extended in the Arsenal. The first work is of the Algerian Adel Abdessemed that prepared swords, bushes scattered in the room, naming the work ironically Nymphéas (2015). On the wall, again, no doubt about what the future of the world is: in the words of Bruce Neuman took shape, thanks to the overlapped neon tubes that lit up the room with the words “Death” and “Eat” (Eat Death, 1972). Peculiar is the project Frequencies (2013still in progress) of the Colombian Oscar Murillo, which involved five students between ten and sixteen years old, twenty different countries, inviting them to cover their school desks with a cloth and use it as a normal desk. On long copper tables are exposed results: quite similar to each other

despite the differences between cultures and images often of a sexual nature. At the end of this picturesque route was the room dedicated to the German painter Georg Baselitz with eight huge panels, each containing a naked human figure on black, inverted upside down with protruding eyes. In the captions are written that are selfportraits, and you feel lost in front of what it is, thus a true hall of mirrors. Out in the open you could immerse yourself in the Chilean climate with its Poetic dissidence, by the French Nelly Richard (residing in Chile since 1970), who along with photographer Paz Errazuriz, was active in the opposition of the Pinochet dictatorship, after having lived the drama of the military coup. The photographs showed the outcasts of society, a group of transsexuals, resistant forms of discrimination and violence of the authorities, some patients of a psychiatric hospital and troubled families. The visual artist Lotty Rosenfeld, who worked on the project, documenting its courageous resistance to the dictatorship action through the nightly drawing of crosses on the asphalt of the streets of Santiago. The Italian Code, Italian pavilion “back across significant areas of contemporary Italian art, bringing forth some unexpected constants”, as the curator Vincenzo Trione explained, traced contemporary experiences that defined our genetic code, outside to the many oscillations. Trione selected fifteen artists including protagonists of the Arte povera and the Transavantgarde (Paladino, Kounellis and Lombards), heirs of the new avant-garde of the post-war period (Tambellini), personalities difficult to inscribe in defined trends (Aquilanti, Biasiucci and Caccavale) and rumors among the most original of the international scenario (Beecroft) as well as artists of the last generation (Alis / Filliol, Baroque, Enhance, and Samorì Monterastelli). Outside the two venues of the Biennale, there were dozens of other pavilions, scattered buildings, porches, temporary galleries and apartments. Between all the Icelandic


Pavilion aroused particular disappointment, curated by Nina Magnúsdóttir and entrusted to the Swiss hyperrealist artist Christof Büchel. The project The Mosque involved the Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia (unused since 1969 and privately owned since 1973) which had been transformed into a kind of Islamic temple (not used for religious services, such as but it happened). The President of the Venetian Islamic community said to Repubblica: “We do not want to provoke anyone, but this is also a way to raise the awareness of the city. A gesture of art, to teach the dialogue...”

on the right, from the top: 1. Robert Smithson, “Dead Tree”, 1969. Source: 2. Adel Abdessemed, “Nympheas” (in primo piano); Bruce Nauman, “Human Nature / Life Death / Knows Doesn’t Know” (sullo sfondo)”, 2015. Source: www.squarecylinder. com/2015/07/the-56th-venice-biennial-part-1all-of-the-worlds-futures/ 3. Oscar Murillo, “Frequencies (an archive yet possibilities)”, 2013-in corso. Source: di-venezia/ 4. Georg Baselitz, “Sällt von der Wand nicht (Not falling off the wall)”, 2014. Source: new. 5. Christoph Büchel, “The Mosque: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice”, 2015. Fonte: D=238&nID=82266&NewsCatID=385


Image of a European voyage boat, headed to Argentina at the end of the 19th century. Source: cansano_emigrazione.jpg


Events journal

Milano Buenos Aires: roundtrip by Tomas Maria Lopez

“... Simply because every person who passes through our lives is unique. He always leaves a little bit of himself, and he takes away a bit of us. There will be some who have taken away a lot, but there will never be anyone who has left us nothing. This is the greatest responsibility of our lives and evident evidence that two souls do not meet by chance. “ Jorge Luis Borges Where is the urge to run if you do not know the goal? Why do we study, pass exams and prepare theses? Why, if our future seems to be more and more uncertain, if we young “have no future”? We are not the first to ask these questions, nor are the first to think that abroad can give us the answers we are looking for. When two different cultures meet, coexist and mingle, what turns out can only be positive. Testimony of this phenomenon are the migrations mainly concentrated at the end of the nineteenth century and

during the period between the two wars, which saw four million of Italians moving to Argentina in search of a better life. To this extraordinary intercontinental relationship was dedicated the Milano-Buenos Aires exhibition, which was inaugurated in Milan on 4 November in Politecnico. La Boca is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the capital and has historically been the area that has received more immigrants throughout Buenos Aires. It was the seat of the historic port of the city, where the boats crowded of travelers docked after


Events journal long ocean voyages. Almost all newcomers came from the European continent (Spanish, French, German, Greek) with a predominance of Italian origin and more specifically from the city of Genoa. The houses of this district were originally made of wood and metal sheet and the origin of the famous colors of the facades of the buildings was due to the fact that the sailors used the discards of ship’s paint sprays to paint their houses. However, since there were no such large quantities to paint all the facades of the house, it was necessary to use different types of paints on the same facade. The type of homes that came to form went to define the typical image of the neighborhood that still exists today. A Boca Street in particular, called “El Caminito”, was decorated under the supervision of a famous local artist, Martín Quinquela, and is currently one of the most characteristic places in the city. Among the Italians, or “Tanos” as they were called by the locals, who moved to Argentina in the late nineteenth century, some have managed to make a fortune. An example is the story of Mantovan Francesco Bisighini, presented by the publisher Vittorio Bocchi at the closing of the inauguration of the exhibition. With a tailor father and a housewife mother, he was born in Carbonara di Po on July 4, 1867. He was one of many of his generation to emigrate to Buenos Aires, returning to the old continent in the early twentieth century with a real fortune. His South American adventure begins with a job at uncle’s dependency, which will expand to become an important construction company named “Bisighini Francesco Constructor”. He soon succeeded in becoming an important housing constructor in Buenos Aires and became part of the many Italians who contributed to the capitalist modernization of capital at the end of the 20th century. Today, its luxurious villa in Carbonara di Po, built upon its return to Italy, is a town hall; Surrounded by a park and flanked by an impressive mausoleum, where his and his wife’s remains are resting.

A section of the exhibition, curated by the third year’s students of history of contemporary architecture in Milan, is dedicated to the Lombard architects who worked in Argentina in the 1950s. Among these, in addition to Luigi Piccinato there was Marco Zanuso, a historic professor of Politecnico di Milano called in the fifties by Adriano Olivetti to design Olivetti’s headquarters in Buenos Aires. Linked to Politecnico and friend of Marco Zanuso, Tomas Maldonado intervenes during the conference telling his own experience: “Unfortunately I have nothing of Italian, but from Italy, I have taken the rationality, which characterizes all my work” In fact, due to the repression carried out in the 1950s by the government of Juan Domingo Peròn, the migratory flow reversed and many Argentinians moved to Italy. Among them were many artists including Lucio Fontana and Tomas Maldonado. Born in Buenos Aires in 1922, an important exponent of the avant-garde called “concrete art” emigrates first in Germany, to Ulm as a teacher of the socalled ‘Second Bauhaus’, then in Italy, where he taught at the Politecnico di Milano since 1985 and founded the course Degree in Industrial Design. He is currently 93 years old and is one of the most important Italian designers, boasting international awards and a great bibliographic production. It is a living example of how cultural exchange can qualitatively influence the intellectual and artistic growth of two peoples. The great urban development of Buenos Aires is largely due to the work of Italian architects who have had the courage to leave their home safety behind, finding the right time to emigrate. Today, one-third of Argentines have Italian origins, and a good part of them, following the 2001 economic and social crisis, has returned to the footsteps of the ancestors in search of a better future. To consolidate this secular relationship, from February 23


to March 6, 30 Politecnico students went to Buenos Aires to attend workshop organized in collaboration with Belgrano Architecture University. The aim of the initiative was to study the contribution of Italian architects through archive research and survey of the buildings realized, in order to make known a phenomenon as important as little discussed. In Italy, where there are more and more architects and less and less work, where the maximum that a graduate in architecture can aspire to be is a designer or renderist, something we must invent. We are the new generation and the future is ours. Returning to the initial question, what is missing today and we have to get back to it, is the pleasure of running.

on the right, from the top: 1. Case typical of the Quartier de la Boca. Source: 2. Francesco Bisighini and his wife, in their villa in Carbonara di Po. Source: www. gallery_190422.html 3. Cover of Domus’s 2009 issue number dedicated to Tomas Maldonado, relating to the exhibition dedicated to the Triennale of Milan in 2009. Source: www.fumettologicamente.files. 4. Photo of the “Milan-Buenos Aires” roundtrip exhibition at the inauguration of November 4th. Source: Author’s Personal Archive 5. Long-Edged Building “El Caminito”. Source: gallery/el-caminito/24448625.jpg


Thomas Jefferson e Palladio Come costruire un mondo nuovo�, view of Alessandro Scandurra’s installation. Source:


Events journal

jefferson and palladio: how to build a new world by Alberto Milani and Marco Morandi english translation by Olenka Palomino

Arrives in the lagoon the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, directed by Rem Koolhaas, and will remain available to the public until the 23 of November. An opportunity to confront the history of the countries in the historical pavilions of the Gardens, encounter the reference elements for the architectural design and live the political and cultural changes of our beautiful country. The exhibition which was held in Vicenza from September 2015 at Palazzo Barbaran Da Porto, designed by Andrea Palladio and headquarter of the homonym study center, gave the chance to discover an extraordinary American architect Thomas Jefferson. Born in 1743 in Shadwell, his father was a wealthy cartographer, the young Thomas had the opportunity to attend college and study Greek, and Latin that allowed him to read the classics in their original language. In 1775 the colonies rebelled and meanwhile Jefferson, very young, was elected gover-

nor of Virginia, and the following year was appointed US ambassador in France where he remained for five years and had the opportunity to know artists, archaeologists, architects and the English Gardens. Also traveled to England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Italy where he had the opportunity to visit Piedmont and Lombardy but not Veneto. A large-scale project was the creation of the grid that divided west territories of the 13 colonies which at the time were still unexplored and free of maps that would


Events journal have been required to buy and sell land; for Jefferson it was a matter of democracy, the lands had to be shared equally, avoiding the great properties. Jefferson himself designed a container that was then measured by the accomplishment of his house to become a model for American architecture. The house was called Monticello because he had read the four books of Palladio’s Villa La Rotonda, “stands on an easy rise mound.” In 1768, Jefferson began to build an isolated house on top of a hill. At first assumed a square building with open loggias on each side resting to a system of terraces like the ancient Roman villas. Here Jefferson interpreted Palladio; the barns, copied from Villa Saraceno, are hidden by drawing them behind the villa using the slope of the hill to bury partially and thus make them less visible. With this trick Jefferson wanted to separate the residential part of the manufacturing without denying the landscape view. In the plan of the first floor is the large perimeter wall to the garden, Jefferson calls bow (arc), and describes as an octagon of air and light that allows the presence of multiple windows and thus more light and more views to the garden. Both in the model and in the drawing is possible to read the composition of the façade of two orders of columns superimposed similar to Palladian Villa Pisani in Montagnana. On returning from France, in 1789, the house was, from Jefferson, partially demolished to build the house that we see now. This was not done because Jefferson adored “pull over and jot down”, but mainly because the first Monticello had been built without him never being overseas. The new project was to remove the upper floor to double the house in plan, realizing numerous internal rooms for personal use, on the ground and guests floors. Inside you can find numerous design attentions really interesting as the alcove double outlet that provides access to the bedroom and study, or hidden dumbwaiter behind

the chimneys of the dining room. Inside, busts of American heroes, a bison’s head, and copies of European works of art, all together with zoological wonders of the new world, adorn the space. The mezzanine floor was intended for the guests while the underground part to servitude. Harnessing the location of the house, the covers of the outbuildings become the terraces on which you can walk and observe the surrounding landscape. Other possible examples of villas built by the architect are: Villa Bremo: made by a carpenter, John Nelson, whom Jefferson made architectural suggestions through numerous letters. In the correspondence related with this villa we find the famous statement that Palladio for Jefferson was “The Bible”. Villa Forest: Jefferson built by himself his private retreat resort. The plan is very simple: four octagons inserted inside another octagon. Barboursville: destroyed by fire, had to be a big house but with only eight rooms and the main façade decorated doric columns. In front of the garden, the living room walls were octagonal very similar to what had been achieved in Monticello. Jefferson, in 1792, when he was already secretary of state, participated in anonymous form to contest for the presidential residence. For this realization had initially thought of a building and then opt for a villa going to bring a copy of the Rotonda because he was convinced that public buildings should not be invention of contemporary architects, but copies of buildings already existing that were part of the collective memory; but the project was modernized with a dome, built with glass wedges as he had seen in Paris. The relationship between architecture and American democracy is possible to read in the University of Virginia and the Richmond Capitol in Charlottesville. The Richmond Capitol building is the prototype of the American civil power. An ancient temple, the Maison Carree Nimes, studied years before, it became the new US


policy space. In addition to the Parliament’s classrooms, Jefferson inserted a courtyard, columns and a justice room inspired by the ancient basilica illustrated by Palladio. Begun in 1817, the University of Virginia was the prototype of university campus; an open architecture with classrooms in pavilions bordering on a green lawn, flanked by student residences and the library called “The Rotunda”; copy of Pantheon outside, although divided into two floors inside. Jefferson did not know that this building is very similar to the Maser temple built by Palladio. Ideally the two architects find a common point, from the Pantheon, they end up achieving very similar buildings.

on the right, from top: 1. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, his home. Source: jefferson/press Foto di: ©FRomano 2. Thomas Jefferson, Villa Poplar Forest. Source: “PoplarForest” by Warfieldian - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons w w w. c o m m o n s . w i k i m e d i a . o r g / w i k i / F i l e : Po p l a r Fo r e s t . j p g # / m e d i a / File:PoplarForest.jpg 3. Thomas Jefferson, project for President’s house in Washington, 1792. Source: www. 4. Modello della residenza presidenziale. Source: author’s personal archive 5. Thomas Jefferson, Richmond. Source: www. press Foto di: ©FRomano 6. Thomas Jefferson, University of Virginia’s campus. Source: exhibitions/jefferson/press Foto di: ©FRomano


Brasilia’s Cathedral, Oscar Niemeyer, sketches. Courtesy of Gabriel Kogan


Events journal

D ­­­­­ esign process in Brazilian modern architecture

Oscar Niemeyer & Lina Bo Bardi: a lecture by Gabriel Kogan by Alessandro Leoni

Oscar Niemeyer Le Corbusier visited Brazil for the first time in 1929 for a conference. Here he started to know and being in contact with the most important architects of the modern Brazilian movement: Lucio Costa (Rio de Janeiro) and Gregori Warchavchik (San Paolo). For the first time the latter came into contact with the French-Swiss architect architectural idea. In 1936, the Brazilian Minister of Education commissioned Le Corbusier for a project, in which participated a group of young architects (including Lucio Costa). A 28 years old architect considered this an opportunity not to be missed and he decided to invite himself and be part of the group of young graduates, without any pay: his name was Oscar Niemeyer. The talents and the artistic skills of the young Niemeyer

immediately impressed Le Corbusier and he decided to appoint him official project designer. Belo Horizonte - 1942 / 1944 The mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, invited Oscar Niemeyer to design a series of buildings around the artificial lake of Pampulha. The project included the casino, an exclusive club, a ballroom, a church and a hotel (which was never built). The system of buildings included in the project would be a modernization of the city, for this reason, the first to be built was the Casino. This stands with provocation at the highest point of the city. An inconsistent architecture generated by rigid and rational lines (in front), and by a sudden intrusion of a volume characterized by soft curves. To realize the church of San


Events journal Francesco, Niemeyer abandons pillars and beams for a reinforced concrete parabolic vault: a single element that acts as a vertical and horizontal limit. This technique was used at the time only in the construction of hangars in the aeronautical field. A single element with a structural function and shell at the same time.

idea and others that come to me as well while i am drawing. Sometimes, it might be a plan, a prevailing architectural environment while at others it just might be a simple perspective that pleases me and i would like to test.” Oscar Niemeyer Lina Bo Bardi Lina was born in Rome in 1914. She graduated in Rome and shortly after she moved to Milan where, very young, she began her collaboration with the architect Gio Ponti. Achillina, Lina, knows the italian journalist and critic Pietro Maria Bardi, with which, in addition to the marital relationship, established in 1947 the MASP: Museum of Art of Sao Paulo.

Congresso Nacional - Brasilia - 1957 / 1960 The President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira decides to move the capital of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia, an ambitious project to build an entire city in just two years. The urban project of Lucio Costa, two axes that intersect with a 90° angle following the topography of the territory, is supported by the architectural design of Oscar Niemeyer. In detail, the Lucio Costa plan includes commercial areas, industrial areas, residential areas, and a big bus station at the intersection of the two axes. The top of major axis hosts the palaces of the three powers of Brazil: the Palace of Justice, Congress Palace (Senate) and the Presidential Palace. From the beginning, the architect Niemeyer is convinced that, in a perspective view, the Congress Palace should not preclude the vision of the remaining two buildings placed on a different plane. The building consists of a rational and rigid parallelepiped that acts as a distribution element for the two buildings that lie on it: a dome-shaped, a recurring geometry in architecture; the other volume is also a dome-shaped volume, but upside down. Another contradiction: rationality and irrationality. A brilliant composition. “My method is simple: first, i confront make contact with the problem – the program, plot, orientation, accesses, the connecting streets, the neighboring buildings, the constructive system, materials, the probable cost of the project and the architectural feeling that it should express.” “After, i allow my brain to work and keeping it in my head for a few days – unconsciously – the problem in equation, i immerse myself during my free time and even when i sleep or am busy doing other things”. “One day this waiting period ends. Suddenly, an idea appears and i begin to work. i analyze this

MASP - São Paulo - 1957 / 1968 “Personally when i did the project of the art museum in São Paulo my basic concern was to make an ugly architecture... a poor architecture with free spaces that could be created by the collective... most people find that the museum is poor, and it is. i wanted to make a poor project. That is, formally and architecturally ugly, but that would be a usable space, that would be something that could be taken over by the people” LBB The building is raised: on the ground floor, there is a covered public square that hosts the most events and demonstration in Sao Paulo. The volume has a length of 75 meters, the largest concrete building of Brazil in those years. Design sketches show that the first idea of ​​ Lina was a building with a pyramid-shaped structure composed of inclined beams: “This shows how important it is not to believe in your first idea” (Gabriel Kogan). The building structure is very simple: two beams and two pillars connected together. A very slim and stable system. The MASP is composed of two levels: two slabs directly supported by the beams, while the third slab (the lower one) is suspended and anchored to the upper one. “Lina designs imagining situations. She thinks about the use, and from this, she creates her architectures” (Gabriel Kogan). “In the São Paulo art museum i only tried to reassume certain positions. i didn’t look for beauty, i looked for freedom. The intellectuals never liked it, but the people did: “you know who made this? It was a woman!”” LBB


Fabrica from SESC Pompeia - Sao Paulo - 1976 / 1982 It is a project of restoration, refurbishment and reuse of SESC production plants. Lina Bo Bardi is free to design what she wants to: there is no constraint for this building from an architectural point of view. “The “beautiful” is easy, difficult is the “ugly”, the truly ugly. i hope that the sports group of SESC factory of Pompéia would be ugly, much uglier than the “art museum of São Paulo. It is a silo, bunker. Container.” LBB Again, Lina looks for and creates an architecture that rises from the interpretation, from the usage and needs of the user, in this case the citizens. She introduced many functions: theaters, sport pitches, a swimming pool, a bar, a restaurant, exhibition spaces, areas for workshops, reading areas and internet point. Three volumes of exposed concrete emerge alongside the old buildings: a rectangular volume of thirty to forty meters and forty meters high; a second, and smaller in size, rectangular volume of fourteen to sixteen meters basic and fifty meters in height; and last a cylindrical volume of seventy meters height. The buildings have in the complex the characteristics of handmade volumes. Lina wants and does transmit the craftsmanship of the work, from the signs of the wooden formwork for the concrete walls to the traces left by the irregular molds polystyrene in the windows. “The architectural design of SESC Pompeia factory leisure center came from the desire to build another reality. We included just a few things: some water, a fireplace. The initial idea of restoring this complex was that of “poor architecture”... not in the sense of poverty, but in the sense of handicraft expressing maximum communication and dignity through minor and humble means.” LBB on the right, from the top: 1. Oscar Niemeyer. Source: 2. Pampulha’s Casinò, plan of the first floor, Oscar Niemeyer. Source: 3. Congress Palace, Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer. Source: Marcelo Jorge Vieira 4. Lina Bo Bardi. Source: 5. SESC Fabrica, San Paolo, Lina Bo Bardi. Source: 6. MASP, San Paolo, Lina Bo Bardi. Source:


Student in front of some exhibited works. Source: Author’s personal archive


Events journal

forms and forces: permanent decades and italian evolution by Carola Fagnani english translation by Francesco Coroni and Chiara Zanacchi

An opportunity to known, exhibit and understand in a single look exceptional works but, at the same time, to outline a cultural geography dedicated to Italy and its products in the field of architecture, that if in its History has played a key role in building an unparalleled landscape and models resumed everywhere, today it can also present the richness of its particular modernity as a storage of useful materials to make more sustainable a world in a strong changing period. and original designs of the most influential masters, including Giò Ponti, Carlo Scarpa and Renzo Piano, were exhibited, and architects such as BBPR and Archizoom, to personalities recaptured today as Gellner and Galantino. The visitor is welcomed into the atrium of the Triennale and his attention is captured by one of the Italy of Luciano Fabbro, immortalized in a timeless dimension from the photograph of Ugo Mulas. The image reproduced is the mirror of the community, the theme that has allowed to accumulate the 120 architectural works that illustrate in detail the design aspects of the Milanese institution. By joining in a longitudinal space, it is possible to get in touch with the sculptural work from the curved and continuous buildings of Pietro Consagra, The Horizontal City (1969), interpreted by a

Every war has a significant impact on the identity of a population, which is the reason why it is crucial to recognize in which way we have to reestablish and reconstruct Architecture, City and Landscape. From the meeting of these three worlds and ways of telling the territorial reality, a unitary and growing value is born with reference to the Italian culture that has undergone several changes since the Second World War to the Twentieth Century. In this regard, Domus, in collaboration with the faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano and with Iuav, has made available the historical archives and has gathered the public and private collections in a single exhibition within the Triennale of Milan, March 6. In a wing on the ground floor of the Palazzo dell’Arte, the plastics, photographic albums


Events journal quotation: “The Frontal City is possible, it can born today and should already be implanted; it is not a city of the future. “ The first section is articulated through the structuring of thematic rooms, from the exhibition walls of Domus’s historical records to past editions, from photographic archives to the covers of the most famous books of architecture and landscape, to manuscript letters such as that of 1954 in which Giò Ponti Turns to Rogers for BBPR’s new Olivetti shop. Reflection leads to the installation of a site where, through metal poles, it is possible to retrace another temporal dimension documented by historical photographs that become a tool for analysis and reading. Monochrome shots introduce physical architecture related to continuous research related to the models. The figurative iter continues within the exhibition and figurative section that encloses the concept of the evolution of the city, the “similar cities” of Aldo Rossi and Arduino Cantafora, which anticipate the beginning of the exhibition. A curvilinear base emerges from an array of urban compositions in which the models of projects or simply design ideas, such as the Aldo Rossi World Theater (1979-80), emerge in different scales and different materials, institutional projects for the New Office of the Institute Marchiondi Spagliardi of Vittoriano Viganò (195457), the University of Calabria Gregotti Associati (1973-79), the buildings of Luigi Caccia Dominioni, which communicate with those By Luigi and Gino Pollini in Ivrea by commission of Olivetti, BBPR Tower Velasca (1950-58), which represents a historical and architectural reference of the Milan skyline, Casa Cei of Ettore Sottass (1991-93), anticipated by one of His graphic and representative studies, the Planet as a Festival and religious architectural works such as the Church of the Michelucci Sun Highway (1989-2000). In the background are exposed the china and pastel drawings of the most emblematic tables of the great Regulatory Plans or the morphological reliefs of cities such as


Naples, Como and Venice. The upper floor is the exhibition space entirely dedicated to the photographic section with the shots of Ghirri, Basilico , Chiaramonte and Jodice, allows to revive the aspects of a multiform landscape that has been shaped for the last seventy years in Italy. The modeling part concludes with the section dedicated to the original architects’ notebooks where visual design excursions can be visualized and the less documented visitor is also allowed to interact with the interior of the project. The exhibition trail closes with 27 video installations, selected by the Italy in a frame project; The representations allow a visual view of a few minutes on the Italian landscape. “After the mid-nineteenth century, the most advanced proposals now admit that there is no longer a need to achieve a balance of forms in close relation to a balance of forces.” Reflecting on the words taken from Morabito’s texts, we realize that contemporary architects are involved in the re-formulation of their own languages, so they have to adapt and recompose forms following the changed practices of Italian society and its complex landscape. It is no coincidence that the Milanese exhibition ends at the foot of a paradox, which falls into the artistic image of Alberto Burri’s Cibone’s Cretaceous, resembling an inquiry seeking a reflection in the contradictions of our time. on the right, from the top: 1. First exhibition space with copyright book cover installation. 2. Domus Photo Archive. 3.Ettore Sottsass - Planet as a festival. [1971] This page, from above: 4. National Concert for the Design of the Italian Pavilion at the Universal Exhibition of Osaka in 1970 [Costantino Dardi and Giovanni Morabito; With Massimo Benocci, Bruno Cassetti, Marco De Michelis]. [1968] 5.Plastic for the New Headquarters of the Spagliardi Marchiondi Institute - Vittoriano Viganò (1953-1958) 6. Emblematic Plates of Regulatory Plans. Source of the images: personal author’s archive.


“Magnificent failures� event. The projection on the desktop shows Oliviero Toscani and Andy Warhol. Source: personal archive of the author


Events journal

you must be


with life! by Silvia Marmiroli english translation by Alessandra Isolan

“Creativity is a consequence of what you do: or it is a creative thing or it is a failure!” Oliviero Toscani It goes right to the heart of the matter. Oliviero Toscani is on the stage, introduced by Luca Molinari, and the desktop of his Mac is projected on the background. His name and surname show up in the upper right, some scattered icons and folders and a black and white photo of a very young Oliviero near to a very young Andy Warhol on the background. “The real artist does what he can do without being presumptuous. Just take Warhol... he

was always very quite and he used to say yes: you asked him to put himself in a position, to turn around or to move away, and he was always willing”. In Toscani’s opinion, this is the difference between the great and the acceptable artists: the great ones are always willing while those who have little to say introduce themselves haughtily. The relationship with Toscani develops quickly, it comes straight to the point without beating about the bush. It’s


Events journal the same frankness and sincerity which transpire from his photos. During the speech a lot of photos selected by Toscani are projected on the screen: it goes from some famous advertising images for Benetton to chronicle photographs which go straight to the stomach. Toscani is grown up with chronicles. He talks about his father’s work, Fedele Toscani, the first press photographer of il Corriere della Sera, with great enthusiasm and he remembers with pride that day in which his father asked him to bring a photo, just developed, directly to Idro Montanelli. The next morning, seated on the school desk in the front row, he was astonished by the first page of il Corriere della Sera which the teacher opened in front of his eyes: it was the photo he brought to the journal. He felt to be a step ahead of his teacher and it made him understand the importance of his father’s work. After the last years of the secondary school spent in a boarding school, where he had so much fun, he was accepted to the Scuola d’Arti e Mestieri in Zurigo. This school and his teachers, great names from Bauhaus, were fundamental to his formation: here he learned the dedication and the discipline for work and, in general, for life. “You must be obsessed with life!”. We admire the faces that slides behind his shoulders. Molinari perceives this change of atmosphere and asks the Italian photographer to tell us about “Razza Umana” (Human Race). It soon becomes clear that this is a precious project for Toscani, who starts to describe it as the project which manages “to steal the soul”. Traveling around the world, Toscani often met people from different nationalities and culture who didn’t want to be photographed because they thought photos could steal their soul. This affirmation may sound strange and ridiculous to us, but maybe there is something true. Toscani asks people he meets during his travels to put themselves in front of his camera without imposing particular positions. Maybe thanks to this freedom the subject

feels as in front of a mirror and he takes off what others see and he feels free to appear as he truly is. Out of ten shots, which are different for imperceptible changes of position, you will notice something different only in a pair of photos, as if there was a flow moving from the eyes of the person to the eye of the camera. Maybe that flow is the soul and, while we listen to these words, we can recognize what he is explaining through the close up of men, women, children, boys, seniors, black people, white people and any other category we use to describe what is the beauty of a face and a body, which reveals the story of what he did, where he was born and what he is: the human race. In order to increase the audience’s participation, the photos of this project are reproduced on panels 2,00x1,5m wide, so the eyes of the portraits stare straight at us. We can say that in “Human Race”, such as in other Toscani’s projects and as in a lot of advertising images for Benetton, we recognize what can be indicated as one his particularity: the white background. Toscani says that the white background has became an obsession: he comes to his office in the morning and the first thing he does is choosing the lights he will use, he turns them on and he arranges them pointed towards his white background, then he stops and he stares at it. This practice allows him to take a moment for himself and to understand what photographs will have to express: it is as if the background suggests him what he will develop through the camera. Today we can all improvise ourselves photographers, but a photo must be thought, planned, a balance between a range of colors and a series of forms must appear in it, but especially the overall project must be clear to the photographer, what photos will have to say and the method, all this must be the mirror of who is behind the camera. In an age where appearing and the homogenisation are unavoidable, we fear freedom because it appears as a real task. To be free means to be aware of your own limits, to understand them and to be


strong enough to use them, to accept them and to re-elaborate them in order to make them become an advantage. In a historic period as ours, where the 95% of the things is known thanks to the images, we can say that “life has become a photographic representation”, hence photography, no matter what its aim is, “has become the most democratic art, accessible to all”. This is all very fascinating because on one hand it allows a documentation and a divulgation of what happens in the world, near real-time; all we know about ancient history is thanks to the written books, but what we live today could be told with images too, and this fact changes the prospect of knowledge. On the other hand, this overproduction of images must be supported by a responsibility, of the watcher, of selecting and comprehending the material he sees. At the same time, the professional photographer must keep his role of artist and designer without compromise.

on the right, from the top: 1. “Magnificent failures” event. Oliviero Toscani and Luca Molinari. Advertising images for Benetton. 2. “Magnificent failures” event. Oliviero Toscani and Luca Molinari. “Human Racea” project. 3. “Magnificent failures” event. Oliviero Toscani and Luca Molinari. “Human Race” project. Source: personal archive of the author.


Event “Design and dream cities”. Sergei Tochban and Luca Molinari. Source: Author’s personal archive


Events journal

design and dream cities by Silvia Marmiroli english translation by Giovanna Fabris

The Conservatory of Music “Lucio Campiani” seems the perfect location to talk about the design of the city. Listen and observe the city are two key moments for Sergei Tchoban’s work. Tchoban:”The design is not only about expressing an architectural thought but it is an art form”.Design is crucial to understand architecture and the architect behind it: you can feel the art of the architect who designed a building but also the art of the architect-designer who is located in front of the subject and, through his eye and his hand, translates into a drawing what he sees and feels, even according to his sensibility and his cultural background. Today there are 3D and rendering techniques that give more sense of reality to the representation of the architecture and the city, but the design remains a great method to express a thought. Based on these considerations Tchoban decided it was essential to have a place where collect, expose and, above all, introduce the design as art and study form. In this way, the Foundation took shape with

Luca Molinari introduces Sergei Tchoban as one of the main exponents of Russian architecture, in a period when there’s no news about architecture in the former USSR. Tchoban was born in Leningrad in 1962, and there ha studies architecture; then he moves in Germany between Hamburg and Berlin. He founded his own architectural studio in Germany in 1995 and only in 2002 he opens one in Russia. In Italy we have seen his architecture to Expo 2015, in fact Tchoban is the architect who designed the pavilion of Russia in Milan. One of his most important and intimate projects is the “Foundation Tchoban” which the architect designed, sponsored and built at his own expense in 2009 in Berlin. The Foundation is a “Museum for the architectural design”. This is the starting point from which starts the meeting with


Events journal its exhibition halls and its archives contain materials that speak about Russian and European culture. Tchoban’s passion in collecting drawings is not only about famous architects’ materials, but a prerogative of personally selected designs is completeness. The material he looks for is not the one that communicates only the result of the design, but the drawing must also has a communicative value as an art object. The thought and the technique become then the most important elements: the design is seen as a single and unique expression, in itself, not only related to architectural design. Today is fundamental what fantasy can make: we need to imagine what we want to happen inside the city and how we want it in a reality that can make almost everything. We have facilities to achieve every project but we can not forget they are only a support for the initial idea, which has to be clearly defined. The project of the Foundation was basic for Tchoban even because of its relationship with historical city. “I think contemporary architecture has to be in contrast with the historical one, as a finely chopped diamond need a carefully forged ring where to be set.” In a project such as the Foundation, especially for the role they want to have, it must be important also the “sculptural” part of the architecture: it must have a strong relationship with the city, since it has to be interesting for visitors and attractive for people who pass there by chance and, therefore, may be tempted to enter. The building consist of what looks like a series of overlapping boxes, with rooms having openings that frame views of the city. The 500 square meters of the Foundation allow the exposure of 70/80 drawings at a time: the exhibits are always temporary in order to allow the approach to different styles of design and allow an ever this page, from the top: 1. “Design and dream cities”. Sergei Tochban and Luca Molinari. Source: Author’s personal archive 2. “Design and dream cities”. Sergei Tochban and Luca Molinari. Source: Author’s personal archive 3. Russian pavillon at EXPO 2015, Milan (Author: Lisa Cortesi). Source: File:Expo_2015_- _My_experience_- _Lisa_Cortesi_(20547568531).jpg?uselang=it


new. To understand and create modernity it must know the antique; the design is the conduit to learn and understand elements such as density, surfaces, processes, spaces and lights: just think of the richness and density of unique and interesting details that can be found by examining a small portion of the building. These architectural choices occurred at the time of the design of an ancient building are those that can make a difference. Today many famous architect such as Zaha Hadid andShigeru Ban have made important architectures in Russia, but the Russian climate has always significantly influenced the choice of materials and processings: this seems obvious and elementary, but you should never underestimate the Russian cold. Thinking of the new architecture that is taking hold in Russia, Tchoban says that along with the modernity that moves forward, is also perceived a slow oblivion of the traditional style: “We can not let ourselves be too influenced by international architecture without considering out climate, our culture and our past.” Once again we return on the never mentioned theme, but that has always been present throughout the meeting: the importance of memory as an object to be studied and understood to elaborate a vision of a future city that can not be homologated, but has a strong and well- defined identity, without abandon thoughts that create it so far.

this page, from the top: 4. Foundation Tochban “Design and architecture museum”. Daily view. (Author: Ansgar Koreng). Source: www.ür_Architekturzeichnung.j pg 5. Foundation Tochban “Design and architecture museum”. Night view. (Author: Ansgar Koreng). Source: www.


Entrance of Hall 1. Source: author’s personal archive.


Events journal

MARMOMACC: STONE + DESIGN + TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR by Carola Fagnani english translation by Mateja Lazarević

Nowadays there’s not another country that can boast similar characteristics of the italian stone field. The stone processing is the result of a very ancient tradition and has deep historical-artistic roots, that reinforced started from the craftsman’s knowlendge until the scientific tech. a lot of resources to integrate in this international context, in fact, among the countries that partecipated, this year debutted Angola. Export represents the platform for the promotion in service of the global intechange. “Yes with stone you can” was the manifesto of the annual exposition, that represented the italian manufacturer exellence, in order to guide the enterprises of the stone industry towards internalisation, preserving the quality of the product ‘Made in Italy’. After the success in 2015, The Italian Stone Theatre took place again in the italian Pavillion, dedicated to culture and experimentation. The Space Forum hosted

Marmomacc is a manifestation that has reached its 51st edition. This year it took place in the showrooms of VeronaFiera, from the 28 of september until the 1st of october 2016. The city of Verona, always symbol of the stone reality, hosted this year too the only event able to involve a high number of internation representations. In this edition, more than 1650 exhibitors partecipated, approximately a thousand of foreign entrepreneurs and the partecipation of 53 countries. The exportation of stone materials promotes the economy of an emergent country, the african continent is engaging


Events journal many initiatives, from multi-languages lectures to the assignement of prizes, bringing together the traders and the visitors. The exposition didn’t expose just stone works of the handcrafted process, but also those realised with 3D design and the use of technological machines. The spokesman of the event were the most considerable intenational architects and designers, that worked together with the enterprises and performed the stone through a high level experimentation. In the Hall 1, 3 different exhibitions have been organized: The Power of Stone, represented the stone installations taken to exhaustion by the technologic perfection, with 3D drawings by Raffaello Galiotto; ; New Marble Generation this exhibition was based on the design and on the industrial replicability, using the most complicated working instruments, that sometimes can reduce the scraps; 50 Years of Living Marble, by the architect Vincenzo Pavan in order to permit to pursue a historical-antologic path of the best stone productions, that became the symbols of the italian scenary and of his design. In the Salone have been exposed the works of the collections and of the archives of the historical companies, that from the 60’s until now expressed what is called the evolution of the stone design. The design elements were the furniture models in the most famous italian reviews: la Lampada Snoopy (1967) of Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni and la Lampada Biagio (1968) of Tobia Scarpa, both designed for Flos; il Tavolo Asolo and il Tavolo Eccentrico (1979) of Michele Mangiarotti for AgapeCasa, i Centritavola Peanuts (1981) of Giulio Lazzotti for Casigliani; le Lampade Apuleio (2007) and il Stone Tree Table (2009) of Michele De Lucchi for Pibamarmi, la Parete Marblelace in bianco di Carrara (2010) of Patricia Urquiola for Budri, la Tela Bookshelf in absolute black granite (2014) of Zaha Hadid for Cicto, la Panca-Libreria Comb in white marble from Carrara of Paolo Ulian for Robot City.


That’s why was born the collaboration between Marmomacc and Archmarathon, that had the aim to improve and promote the stone in architecture. 42 achitectural studio that come from all over the world reunited and created a new category: ‘Stone’. An intenational jury selected just 20 of them, that proposed their more innovative projects for the first Stone Archmarathon Award in the occasion of Archmarathon 2018. Therefore, Marmomacc is a very recognised exposition and also very dynamic, it decrees through the categories of prizes the Best Communicator Award 2016 for the enterprise with the best installation. The first place Italia has been won by the polygonal micro-architecture Bright Cloister by the japanease architect Go Hasegawa, designed for Pibamarmi; the first foreign prize has been won by the enterprise Stoneasy from Belgium. This international window extended for the fifth consecutive year in the focal points of the historical city center of Verona, where were placed the installations and the sculptures of the project Marmomacc&The City. The beauty of the stone materials assumes still today a big emphasis in all the areas. The secolar evolution took to big changes in the stone processing and in its use, but the attraction of the aesthetic characteristics of the rocks seems to be intact. The stone is a material able to transmit sensations and remains the aestethic dedication of the spaces that surround us. previous page, from the top: 1. Stadtsilhouette by Max Dudler in collaboration with Simone Boldrin 2. Hall 1: Eccentric Table by Michele Mangiarotti 3. Hall 1: Conversation on Stone by Marco Piva for Helios Automazioni this page, from the top: 4. Hall 1: Entrance to the Ristorante d’autore 5. Italian white marble for the World Trade Center by Santiago Calatrava 6. Hall 6: Bright Cloister by Go Hasegawa for Pibamarmi 7. Crystal Agate’s slab by JewelCraftz Images source: author’s personal archive.


“ Nella mente di Vincenzo Scamozzi�, view of the indoor installation. Source: personal archive of the author


Events journal

in the head of

vincenzo scamozzi: an intellectual architect at the fade of the reinassance a cura di Alberto Milani english translation by Alessandra Isolan

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Scamozzi’s death, which occurred in Venice in 1616, the Palladio Museum and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, with the collaboration of the Stiftung Bibliothek Werner Oechslin in Zurigo, organized the exhibition “In the head of Vincenzo Scamozzi” with the aim of telling how he perceived his own architectures. Jesuit mathematician during his stay in Rome in 1580. We can define the books as the “bricks” of his project of making an architecture based on a rigorous theoretical vision, capable of including new knowledge coming from other places and cultures, starting from the gothic tradition and the incitement of the new sciences. We know that Scamozzi bought his first copy of Vitruvio when he was 21, adding a manuscript by Francesco di Giorgio and one by Leonardo da Vinci in the following years, in addition to a wide collection of printed texts; unfortunately we preserve only a few volumes of this collection. We know that

Vincenzo Scamozzi, who was born in Vicenza in 1548 and was the son of a wealthy building entrepreneur, didn’t study in a painter studio or in a building site, like Palladio. He was one of the few Renaissance architects who trains through the study conducted on books and he was one of the first architects to possess a personal library made up of a lot of volumes of the most different disciplines. Given the wealthy rank, he grew up in close contact with the erudite environments of the Olympic Academy and the Seminary in Vicenza, and the architect himself said to have attended the lessons of a famous


Events journal the books were bought in the libraries of Rialto in Venice, otherwise they could be shared or obtained from his friends; some proofs suggest that he received a copy of “L’Opera Ionica” written by the architect Giovanni Battista Bertani from Mantova. The question comes spontaneous: “How did Scamozzi use his books?”. The books showed in the exhibition, coming from the greater Italian and European historic libraries, recovered thanks to the long and thorough work of the American researcher Katherine Isard, they can help us answering to this question. First of all he read them carefully, underlining and writing down the excerpts that he found interesting, sometimes he focused on the reading of the illustrations, adding some that he made. An impressive example of this habit is that contained in one sample of the five Serlio’s architecture books dated 1551, where the architect came to apply little paper stripes on the edges of the volume, in which place he annotated his own observations in order to find them again when he needed. Later he started with what today we would call the second phase, the writing of the resume of the contents in short texts known as “Summaries”, which comprehend an extraordinary sample dedicated to latin texts. Scamozzi used the most traditional knowledge tools such as the figure drawing of the buildings. We haven’t got any of his figure and studio drawings of buildings as well as we don’t possess any of his figure and studio drawings of ancient roman monuments. “Palladio goes gropingly” Scamozzi wrote, stating his difference clearly but which can not be defined as what we call “professional envy”, but as a radical change of scenery and perspectives. Scamozzi researched new ways of learning, widening the borders of his discipline as it is documented in one of his interesting notebooks written during a travel from Paris to Venice. Here Scamozzi drew the plants and the sections of the gothic cathedrals he met on his way; he is the first Renaissance architect who shows interest towards the

gothic architecture. Scamozzi, as Palladio, published an essay called “Idea of the Universal Architecture” printed in Venice in 1615 and destined to transmit his own knowledge, but also to make other people know his project in a different way than his predecessors; his architecture can’t be based just on the relationship with the ancient but it widens absorbing knowledge from other cultures and the new scientific discoveries. In the essay a lot of ancient and contemporary authors are mentioned and there are cross reference to about 250 texts, which Scamozzi must have read; it is then possible to find 22 volumes which he possessed certainly and which are preserved in 12 museums and collections around the world. A further part of our exhibition concerns the relationship with light in the architectures, topic which shows up also in his treatise with a precision worthy of an optical essay. In Scamozzi’s buildings the light is calculated with such attention and sensibility that it anticipates the inventions of the baroque architecture of the next century. In order to express this concept clearly, Scamozzi used the project for villa Bardellini in Minfumo near Treviso (today demolished) where he described the different types of lights and their effect on the different areas of the building. Here the light sources are indicated with letters, the light beams with numbers and the size of the light cone with arches; the shadow zones and the chiaroscuroare rendered through hatching. In the essay the varied natural light sources in the building are meticulously described. Scamozzi then applies the principles of construction on the Jacopo Sansovino’s statue of San Marco, in the chapel of the Doge in Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Here Scamozzi faces the problem of how to enlighten the statue without being satisfied with the light there. In order to achieve the effect he wanted Scamozzi created a deep recess and there he placed the statue, raised on a base. The deep recess creates the space for two


side windows which are hidden from the observer. A perfect light filters from them in order to stand out the plastic forms of the great statue: it is a real project of installation of a sculpture in a space that has nothing to envy to the modern illuminating engineering offices. Another project where the light has been appropriately studied is that for the Salzburg cathedral, whose treatise has came to Italy for he first time from the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s collections, in Montreal. Scamozzi is the last of the great Renaissance architects, placed between the triumphant tradition of Palladio’s generation and the new scientific discoveries which were taking place in that time. In this environment he was an architect who created his own dimension in an architectural vision as practical, rational, careful to the functional aspects, to the economy of financial sources, but also careful to a new relationship with the landscape, making masterpieces such as the Rocca Pisana in Lonigo near Vicenza, the Sabbioneta theatre, the Procuratie Nuove in piazza San Marco in Venice. on the right, from the top: 1. Vincenzo Scamozzi’s annotations of a specimen of Sebastiano Serlio’s edition, Il primo [–quinto] libro d’architettura (Venezia 1551). Monaco, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte. Source: scamozzi/press 2. Vincenzo Scamozzi, Perspective drawing of Salzburg cathedral, 1607. Canadian Centre for Architecture’s collection, Montreal. Source: lla d iomus eu m . o rg/ ex h i b i ti o n s / scamozzi/press 3. Model of Salzburg cathedral. Source: personal archive of the author 4. Vincenzo Scamozzi, Taccuino di viaggio da Parigi a Venezia, 1600: map, perspective drawing and the section of St. Denis church. Vicenza, Pinacoteca Civica, Gabinetto dei disegni e delle stampe. Source: exhibitions/scamozzi/press 5. Villa Pisani called La Rocca, Lonigo. Source: 6. Sabbioneta theatre. Photograph by Lorenzo Polvani. Source: www.lorenzopolvanifotografie. com/


“77 million paintings for Palazzo Te”. Detail of the illuminated facade. Source: Authors’ personal archive.


Events journal

77 million paintings for palazzo te: brian eno's digital art in mantua by Sebastiano Marconcini and Stefano Sarzi Amadè

In the rich calendar of Mantova Capitale della Cultura Italiana 2016, the Brian Eno’s double installation “77 Million Paintings for Palazzo Te” and “The Ship” clearly stood out. Thanks to the use of digital technologies, the artist combines music and visual arts, offering a fascinating spectacle in the magical setting of Palazzo Te. There were numerous events that come one after the other thanks to the designation of Mantua as Italian Capital of Culture 2016. Among them, one of the most singular and fascinating was surely the double installation, made at Palazzo Te, by Brian Eno. To better understand he two works of the artist, it’s necessary to know the background from which they come. Brian Eno is a music producer, who is behind huge hits such as David Bowie’s “Heroes”, U2’s “Achtung baby”, Peter

Gabriel’s “Us” and Coldplay’s “Viva la vida”. In addition to that, he is first of all a great composer and musician, who began his career in the group “Roxy Music” and then undertook a solo career in the ‘70s. After the rock experience with the group of the beginnings, during which he develops interest in synthesizers and electronics, Eno has followed a musical path that leads him to be considered one of the greatest representative of the Ambient music genre, characterized by atmospheric and dilated sounds to which often, thanks to their


Events journal dreamlike attitude, combines suggestive imaginary visuals. His research on Ambient music started in 1975 with the albums “Another green world” and “Discreet music”, and then developed, at the beginning of the ‘80s, into projects with the aim of creating background music for spaces of cold atmospheres such as waiting rooms, airport halls, exhibitions and art galleries. This is the origin of the albums “Music for films” and “Music for airports”, considered two cornerstone of Ambient music. In the same years were born the collaborations with Harold Budd, David Lynch and David Byrne, with whom realized the album “My life in the bush of ghosts”, one of the highest examples of avant-garde music that will influence the World music of the following years. During the ‘80s, Brian Eno began experimenting the contamination between music and visual arts, which led him to develop more and more interdisciplinary works, like, for example, the video art installations “Mistaken memories of medieval Manhattan”. Through the use of information technology, Eno has developed a technique know as “Generative music”, thanks to which music articulates in continuos sounds combinations that are constantly evolving and never repeating themselves. This technology is very important in the following works by the artist. This generative music system, for example, is the basis of the music compositions for the videogame “spore” and the app “Bloom”, with which it’s possible to produce Ambient music by simply touching the touch screen of our smartphone. It’s always the interest for technologies that, in 2006, brought Brian Eno to develop a software with the name “77 million paintings”, with which music, produced through multiple music samples, is simultaneously matched to images painted and proposed by the artist himself. This project is the basis of one of the two installations arrived in Mantua from June,

25 until July, 22 2016, from which it takes its name, together with a second proposal entitled “The ship”, which in turn takes the title of the same name album, the most recent in the discography of the artist. Housed inside Fruttiere of Palazzo Te, “The ship” is a sound installation which explores the concept of three-dimensional sound, expressed by the relationship between musical composition and the environment. The many suggestions given by the work are support, in fact, by a very simple set-up. The careful study behind the position of the few lights and audio sources, in fact, immerses the audience into the atmospheres of new worlds, where more natural sounds blend with spatial and cybernetic dimensions. Depending on how you are positioned inside the installation it’s always possible to perceive new details, in a continuos musical escalation. The result is a complete disengagement, an almost “weird” feeling of relax, which takes away all your daily worries and buses you to talk to your soul. An experience that, thought brief, surely left a mark on those who participated. The main protagonist, however, was the installation “77 million paintings”. After numerous interior set-ups in which he has used the software developed by himself, Brian Eno has decided to make his art interact with some of the most beautiful and well-known monuments. After the Sidney Opera House and the Lapa Arches in Rio de Janeiro, the installation arrived in the exedra courtyard of Palazzo Te in Mantua. The facade of the Gonzaga’s residence which front the garden, in fact, was transformed into the unusual canvas on which the artist projects his artworks. After the inaugural gala dinner, which saw the presence of Brian Eno himself, after the sunset of the following seven evenings, it was possible to attend the variation of the “77 million paintings” mentioned in the title. Actually, it’s about 300 original drawings that overlap each other, supported by different musical backgrounds. This is how the 77 millions


combinations that give the title to the work are born, number for which an artist should produce five paintings per day, in period of 42.000 years. The main consequence is that each combination will never be repeated, so, citing it on different days, it would be possible to watch a different show each night. Settled in the available chairs, or even better comfortably seated on the grass, it was possible to enjoy the combined magic of the Brian Eno’s work and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Mantua, here transformed in a stage for art. Thanks to the glowing colors of the drawings that alternate geometric motifs and natural elements, the show evolves into a constant concentrate of wonder. In fact, the transitions from one paintings to the other are so gradual and the viewer will need to ask himself several times when a certain image has appeared on the facade of the Gonzaga’s residence. To complete everything there’s a total silence, almost mystical, from which only the music of the artist emerges, blending with the sounds of the surrounding environment. While the audience waits to be amazed by another painting without saying a word.

On the right, from the top: 1. The art installation “The Ship”, set up inside Fruttiere of Palazzo Te. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Some moments from the art installation “77 million paintings for Palazzo Te”. Source: Authors’ personal archive.


Gabinete de Arquitectura, XV Venice Biennale, 2016. Source: autor’s private archive


Events journal

Brick, mortar, intellect

and composition: Gabinete de arquitectura by Alessandro Leoni

Solano Benitez (Gabinete de Arquitectura), Paraguayan architect, works in an environment of necessity and challenges. This lead to a magic made of intelligence and deep knowledge of materials. On the 15th Venice Biennale he designs a wholly arch created by a network of flat bricks and reinforced concrete. This masterpiece honors the golden lion. We are dealing with a magician. Francesco Dal Co Paraguay is a country in Latin America, bordering on 80% with watercourses but 1000 km far from the sea. In this country the average temperature is about 45 ° C and this makes very difficult, amongst all, working as bricklayer. It is a country with a high rate of corruption and among the poorest in South America. Well, in this introverted and controversial country, Solano Benitez decides to bring quality architecture to a community that is excluded and sees in lack

of specialization (labor) not an obstacle, but a great opportunity. Genial constructive solutions and wise use of materials and crafts reduce the cost of construction from $350/sqm to $50/sqm. “Our limit, which is a fundamental condition of architecture, is fear, but fear can be overcome by thought, intelligence.” We know to build, but at the same time, we build to know. We all can think, and we must use this ability to create a better world, to develop a new state of life.” S.B.


Events journal “There is only one plastered wall, used for the projection of football matches ... when Paraguay will win the World Cup final against Italy!” S.B. The composition is extremely contemporary, but the architect with sensibility decides to bring every single mother’s furniture and knick-knack into the new home. The heights of the spaces reach 6m so that in the cool hours of the morning air can enter to ensure a pleasant temperature throughout the day. There is then a long and thin window through which S.B.’s mother enjoys the landscape and life. “My mom looks at everything, what a sparrow arrives, which sings and which do not, at what time it comes ... it’s all under control.” S.B.

Headquarters of Gabinete de Arquitectura For the realization of the offices they had 100sqm and $5000. Not all they had learned at the university was feasible. Well, not at a construction cost of $ 50/sqm. It is extremely risky to create a long opening in a brick wall: the more dematerialized and the more it weakens, but if we interpret fenetre lungeur not as a window, but as a beam, we solve the static problem. The brick is usually laid flat and this implies the use of a large amount of mortar, but if the brick is laid according to its smaller dimension, the amount of mortar decreases considerably and this saves money by maintaining unchanged the labor. The walls are assembled on the ground, a kind of prefabrication, then, once the mortar is exhorted, they are erected. It would be impossible to build them erect because of the vertical instability of the thin wall. “The labors work with 45 ° C, the sleeves down to not bark, 4 hats under the bonnet, but always smiling as an expression of the human condition.” S.B.

Teleton Foundation Headquartes The project seeks to end the corruption and neglect of the Paraguayan government. S.B. acknowledges that each brick of the existing Teleton Foundation headquarters is a donation and as such they cannot be lost during the demolition. “Whoever destroys without building up with the materials coming from demolition is just lazy. He does not know how to use scraps.” S.B. So once again, with wisdom and wit, nothing is wasted and every brick is recovered. The fragments are mixed with cement mortar to create slim and sensational vaults and movable walls. To this he added a wise architectural composition. From the pools for rehabilitation in the water emerge a tree, also made with brick, that support the roof and walls. The geodetic covers composed of brick triangles are amazing. “We use bricks, the most common and economical material here in Paraguay. Actually, the brick is Roman. Think about the Pantheon: beautiful, a 45 meters dome, Apollodorus of Damascus? A genius! However, if you look at the section, the dome is only 5 meters long and filled with concrete. The brick has a very humble job. Evolution has allowed us to reduce the concrete part more and more. A Mexican civil engineer understood everything and stole the idea: Heberto Castillo Martinez the inventor of the tridilig.” S.B. S.B. Replaces the steel triangles of tridilose with brick triangles. An ingenious intuition.

Abu&Font House After the tragic abduction of Solano Benitez’s aunt (his mother’s sister), which ended with the woman’s disappearance despite the two and a half-redemption payment, her mother expressed the desire to live all (parents and seven children) under the same roof. The Benitez family buys a lot on which will be built a house of about 700 sqm, at a construction cost of $150/sqm (versus $600/sqm). The illness of one of the brothers of the architect makes it difficult to carry out the work from an economic point of view, having to deal with unplanned medical expenses. “We had considered money that we did not own, but this is life, always amazing. We are forced to constantly change our mind to be happy. Lamenting is a waste of time ... “ S.B. The most used material is, as in most S.B.’s projects, the brick. Approaching the house, nature follows us almost penetrating into the interior spaces. A vault made with bricks laid along the diagonal of the length surmounts the main space. S.B. is aware of the poor quality of the mortar used (very liquid) but at the same time he is aware of permeability and porosity of bricks. During the construction, a large amount of mortar is used, so that the brick absorbs the excess, dilates during drying obtaining a sort of “reinforced brick” as result.

XV Venice Biennale We were asked to design one of the most important spaces of the Venice Biennale during its fifteenth edition. We had a weight


limit to be respected, 1872 bricks. 1872 bricks correspond to a room of 3mx3mx2m. We have created a large curved structure, not an arc, consisting of brick bars, in order to use the smallest amount of material possible. Only 5 days to make it and another 5 days to allow it to dry. S.B. Memorial of SB’s father Ten years to design a square of 9 feet on the side. Four beams, with one pillar each. The beams, made of reinforced concrete, are tapered and covered with mirrors on the side that face the inner part of the project. The mirrored surface and the almost non-existing thickness of the concrete elements make the structure disappear once inside. The mirrors bring the surrounding nature into the square and entering this space we have the perception that the outside world comes along with you. Approaching it seems that everything is animated by a centrifugal force, thanks to the contrast created by reinforced concrete with nature, but once crossed the threshold, everything is animated by a sensational centripetal force. “It is generally thought that the mirror is narcissistic, but I’m inside my body and my limit is my body. Only when I’m in the mirror I can be out myself.” S.B.

on the right, from the top:: 1. XV Venice Biennale, Venice 2016. Source: Laurian Ghinitoiu 2. Wooden formwork, Venice 2016. Source: Autor’s private archive 3. Headquarters of the architectural studio “El Gabinete de Arquitectura”, Asuncion. Source: Leonardo Finotti 4. Inside of Abu&Font house, Asuncion 2006. Source: Enrico Cano 5. Headquarters of Teleton Foundation, Lambare 2010. Source: Federico Cairoli 6. Memorial of SB’s father, Piribebuy 2010. Source: Erietta Attali


The vertical forest. Source: Photo: Thomas Ledl


Events journal

stefano boeri, what does

a forest

in the city? by Alberto Milani english translation by Olenka Palomino

During the last day in Mantova Festivaletteratura 2016 took place an interesting conference where the journalist Boatti interviewed the architect Stefano Boeri, designer of the “Bosco Verticale� residential towers. Is a pair of  residential towers of 80 and 112 meters high built in concrete, 700 large trees and 20000 small trees and creepers placed along almost two kilometers of basins that border the balconies. To maintain the condominium in perfect efficiency and safety all the greens are care and kept by specialized arboriculturists in tree climbing that in few annual interventions guarantee an efficient and constant maintenance of

the structure but also of the vegetation. But what motivated Boeri with a building of this type? The idea came in the beginning of 2007 when was in Dubai and was following the construction of a new city in the desert composed by dozens of towers and skyscrapers.Those buildings had facades mostly in coated glass, ceramic or metal, materials that of their own nature tend to heat up and reflect the sunlight


Events journal which generate heat that flows to the ground and air. In those months was also to start a project of two big towers in the center of Milan and suddenly came in mind the idea to develop two towers covered by leafs, cover of life, so much so that to convince the investors the architect asked a journalist friend to write an article specifying that the purpose of the buildings was to reduce the energy consume thanks to the shielding of trees on them. During the conference Stefano Boeri affirmed that the ideas do not come as completely new, always come from the mix of existed ideas. The architect reminds that his passion for the trees come long before, when he was a kid read “The Baron In The Trees” by Italo Calvino and was fascinated with the story of the little baron who decided to abandon the earth and moved his entire life on the top of a tree. Then in the next years, in 1968, at the age of twelve, was visiting a small house designed by his mother, Cini Boeri, in Bosco di Osbate in the Como Lake, the house had big windows to the valley, inserted into the birches with a zig zag shape in order to not have to cut any. Few years after, in 1972 Friedensreich Hundertwasser an Austrian artist was walking with a tree in hand around the streets of Milan preaching the idea of a new architecture based on the presence of trees in the house, the courtyards and rooms. So the next year with occasion of the Triennale was decide to introduce trees inside the houses placing a crane of trees inside the residences along the centric Manzoni Street in Milan, emerging from the windows perfectly visible from the street. But in the case of these two skyscrapers covered with plants is not the only one. In Lucca is there a “historic” example of vertical forest: The Guinigi tower. This interesting building was constructed in the second half of the 14th century the homonymous family, characterized by the presence of a small roof garden in the upper floor composed of seven oak trees. The idea of integrate plants was to increase the biodiversity, always expressed in the design of the city. Today Europe is one big city and in the world where megacities

are multiplying and metropolitan areas are extending in the territory covering it as a continuous surface on the valleys and plains going to devour tens of thousands of hectares of nature and agriculture. The uninterrupted growth of these cities will cause that in 2050 the urban population will exceed 70% of the planetary population modifying the biological equilibrium accelerating the reduction and extinction of some animal and plant species and in the other hand forcing them to invade their territories to outsiders such as just think of foxes in London, the seagulls or deer in the Aosta Valley. The main challenge biodiversity has could be reach through architecture, multiplying places for proliferation of plant and wildlife within the densest and congested urban areas. This challenge could be overcome by going to upholster urban surfaces with green roofs and vertical gardens which can be adapted to accommodate a rich fauna. During the meeting, the architect has also reflected on the relationship between urban planning and policy. Administer means changing spaces. There must be a viable figure able to interpret this link between political and technical, to give importance to the urbanism. Are reported data of how many housing, commercial and industrial voids spaces are present on our territory, very interesting data if thinking that in the peninsula are 12 million houses of which 8 million houses were constructed during the Second World War and 4 million are considered at risk and would be desirable to be improved. Then were quoted examples of reconstruction of large parts of the city such as what happened in the earthquake of Friuli after the earthquake that in 1980 hit Irpinia, or the reconstruction of Gibellina where the major architects of the period were called. Boeri predict a future based on wooden construction, far from the risk of deforestation to which might logically could be associate. These are buildings that do not subtract space and natural resources but they can try to highlight the quality and protection of forest assets because to produce wood construction would be needed control over forests that values the


plants that have greater biodiversity. Contrary to what one might think, the forested areas are increasing, the fact that many such areas of the Apennines, once used for cultivation, are now gradually abandoned in favor of nature that returns to possession. At the moment the increase of wooded areas is around 10 - 15%.

on the right, from the top: 1. A moment of the conference at the Bibiena Theater. Source: Silvia Marmiroli’s personal archive 2. The system of the trees. Source: www. 3. The Guinigi tower, historical example of a vertical forest. Source: s1600/Torre+Guinigi+Tower+Lucca+Tuscany +Italy+15.jpg 4. Hundertwasser Friedensreich, trees inside houses in 1973. Source: Boeri S., Un bosco verticale, libretto di istruzioni per il prototipo di una città foresta, Mantova, 2016, Corraini Edizioni, pag 78 5.The house in the forest. Source: www. m e g l i o p o s s i b i l e. c o m / i m a g e s / s e z i o n i / architettura/progettare


"The Japanese House. Architecture and life from 1945 till today", exposition in the first thematical area. Source: author’s personal archive


Events journal

THE JAPANESE HOUSE: architecture and life from 1945 till today by Carola Fagnani english translation by Olenka Palomino

The simplicity almost close to poverty is the essential base of the Japanese esthetic. Bruno Taut meaning. Even Carlo Scarpa understood the originality and the architectonical knowledge of this culture and that was the reason because in 1969 made one of his first trips to Japan, bringing inspiration that has shaped the formal and material aspects of its architecture. Because of the Second World War, Japan had become a pile of rubble by the bombing, was in this tragic moment when emerged the necessity of rethink the housing system. After 1945, the Japanese government exhorted the people to build their houses by their own, encouraging resettlement and land acquisition. The difficulties to reconstruct the cities were the irreparability of the materials, not to mention that there was almost no trace of the old buildings. During this period the single family houses began to increase, and this caused the decrease of the land. The metropolitan population

The MAXXI Museum of Rome had the first Italian exhibition which presented one of the most recurrent themes of modern and contemporary architecture, housing. The Japanese House. Architecture and life from 1945 till today was co-produced by Japan Foundation, Barbican Center, Museum of Modern Art and MAXXI Museum to tell the traditional architectonic interventions that contradicted the Japanese society. The exhibition, took place between November 9th 2016 and February 26th 2017, valorized the projects of the most influential masters, among which Kenzo Tange, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima and Shigeru Ban. The curator Kenjiro Tange Hosaka and the architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto felt the need to show, that further the concept of wabisabi (or the feeling of an aesthetic balance) the Japanese architecture have a deeper


Events journal grew to congestion and had to adapt to the new housing systems, influenced by the West. The consequences were not only cultural but also years before - precisely in 1920 – because of the establishment of the first Japanese building regulations, that prohibited to build entirely wood buildings, subject to easy fire. In the 50 s’ the constructive process in Japan suffered unstoppable acceleration. The Japanese house remained iconic for both: the use of the space and the research of materials, which have been duly reconsidered. One of the values that remains today in the oriental culture certainly is the sharing of domestic spaces. The harmony, the modular unit in the design of the plan, the spell of the rooms, create in the Japanese houses a pure dynamism. In the interior of the exhibition the project White U was exposed in real scale, therefore it was possible for visitors to come into direct contact with the monument itself, which was conceived in 1976 by Japanese architect Toyo Ito. White U House was placed in the Nakano-ku quarter in Tokio, the residence was design for a relative’s society, precisely to Ito’s widowed sister and her two daughters. After different design hypothesis, the plan was conceived in horseshoe shape to allow all the spaces to create a unique environment and convey the visual appearance of the dwelling towards the center. Instead the central void represents introversion of the building from the outside and transmitting the perception of an intimate and spiritual space. Around the patio there was a long corridor that connected all the spaces; also the access was not granted, because it was through a bright prospect, created by another independent body. Is no longer possible to visit this building because it was demolished in 1997, exactly when the sister of Ito was ready to re-establish a relationship with the society. In the opposite with Ito’s concept is House H: The project was design by Sou Fujimoto in 2008 for a couple and their daughter. The client had expressly requested a versatile structure in order to make possible to


have a variety of rooms which combined form a single vertical space. In fact, the peculiarity of the project is summarized in the structural skeleton that leaves openings on each side. Is evident that in those two projects the conditions of the spaces were the base of the Japanese design. According to the Atelier Bow – Bow studies, since the 20 s’ houses in Tokyo can be grouped in “three generations” through “a spiral of intolerance”. While in previous generations the traditional house had become a closed body itself, the fourth generation established the beginning of a new trend. This is the generation of the buildings of Atelier Bow – Bow, to establish a much more open contact with the environment and society. For the Japanese architects are modernity and tradition which assumed the primary functions in the new constructive choices for the buildings, for that reason the themes that recur in the exposition are: the coexistence of innovative and those typical elements, the continuity of Japanese culture, and finally the role of the domestic space. The entire metabolism of this civilization must be understood through the strong feeling that contrasts with an insular population that continues to renew and which occupies an important relevance in the world in economic terms. In this context the architects have the task of assimilating, interpreting and modernizing Japanese principles that bind the house to everyday life. In this exhibition, Japanese society has been recounted with the common theme of the house, nothing more simple and complex at the same time, a time to travel through the projects of eighty houses and the works of sixty Japanese architects. previous page, from the top: 1. Model Kaitakusha - no - ie, Osamu Ishiyama. 2. Model in the Play space. 3. Model in the Machiya space. this page, from the top: 4. Real scale model White U, Toyo Ito. 5. Real scale model White U, Toyo Ito. 6. Model of Atelier Bow – Bow. Images source: author’s personal archive


Frida Kahlo, self-portrait with ape, 1943, oil on canvas, 81.5x63 cm. Source: Author’s personal archive


Events journal

The Gelman collection and the story

of a crazy love a cura di Greta Petrarca english translation by Giovanna Fabris

The tale of 20th-century Mexican art opened in Bologna, in Albergati Palace since November 19th 2016, with the exhibition of the Gelman collection and of the artists who took part in the “Mexican Revolution” (1920-60), Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera among them. Russian Jew, Jacques Gelmn was born in Saint Petersburg in 1909. He is an important film producer of comic films, mostly interpreted by Mario Moreno as Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin. He left Russia following the October Revolution and after a brief period in Paris, he arrived in Mexico in 1938. In 1941 he married a smart and sophisticated woman, Natasha Zahalkaha, whose beauty was considered exotic in Mexico. The couple is in Mexico at the height of what will be called “Mexican Rebirth”, a period from 1920 to 1960. It is not only a political but also an artistic earthquake that involves foreign artists and intellectuals. Cinemas, music, architecture and visual arts tell the modern Mexico and

the protagonists of this Latin American Renaissance were the “muralists”. “I was born with a revolution. Let’s face it. It is in that fire that I was born, ready for the uprising until the day I saw the day. The day was fierce. It inflamed me for the rest of my life. As a child, I crackled. As an adult I was a flame.” Frida Kahlo herself took up her place in the Revolution of 1910, that of Pacho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, sparked by the struggle between the dictator Porfirio Díaz, in power since 1884, and Francisco Madero of the Democratic Party. In spite of the continuing and cruel struggles between the various political groups, Mexico began its cultural revival with the government of progressive Álvaro Obregón and José Vasconcelos, intellectual,


Events journal philosopher, rector of the Universidad Nacional and Education Minister since 1921. Vasconcelos promoted a vast public art program as a tool for participation and cultural growth in the post-revolutionary phase. The great commissions that led to the birth of muralism began with him. The Gelman collection, one of the most important Mexican art collections of the twentieth century, was born in 1941 when Gelman’s spouses began to collect the works of the greatest Mexican artists including David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, María Izquierdo and Ángel Zárraga. Inside the collection are Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, one of the most famous couple of artists in the world, both in their works and in their intense and destructive love story. The first part of the exhibition is mainly dedicated to Diego Rivera and his works, such as “Sunflowers” of 1943 and a portrait of Natasha Zahalkaha in full figure on a blue sofa. In this section there also are works by David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, María Izquierdo and Ángel Zárraga. On the upper floor the exhibition continues with the story of Frida Kahlo’s life and works. The themes are varied and are all resumed from her life, like medicine, relationship with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as a world fashion icon. You can find outfits inspired by her and created by worldrenowned designers such as Gianfanco Ferrè, Antonio Marras, Valentino, while there is a Jean-Paul Gaultier’s video made in 1997, Tribute to Frida Kahlo. Through her dress Frida Kahlo affirmed her own image, Mexican identity and belonging ideology. Her clothes were also functional to his physical situation, in fact, they hid the busts he was forced to carry after the accident. The identity of Frida Kahlo was complex, German and Jewish by her father, Spanish, Indian, and Catholic by the mother. Everything was resolved at the point of their intersection, Mexico. The same clothes are a symbol of belonging to Communist ideology, of which both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera belonged.

Her bedroom was rebuilt remembering the accident that caused her severe physical pain and locked her in bed for several months and where she painted several self-portraits helped by a mirror hung on the ceiling: “I paint self-portraits because I’m the person I know better. “”I got two serious accidents in my life ... the first was when a tram went over and the second was Diego Rivera.” Frida Kahlo describes her crazy love so. She knows Diego Rivera between 1922 and 1923 when he was painting a mural under the scaffolding of the National School. She was fifteen years old as he was already a world famous artist. Despite the big age difference, exactly seven years later, in 1929, they married for the first time. Personal, political and traditional problems made Frida Kahlo to divorce in 1939 by Diego Rivera after discovering the relationship between him and her sister Cristina. It only takes a year and they decide to go back together. They resume their marriage in San Francisco on Diego Rivera’s birthday. Other dramas invaded Frida Kahlo’s life as the impossibility of making a family because of the accident she was at seventeen, a reason she could not finish pregnancy and aborted three times. Just after the last abortion she went back to painting: “I’m not sick, I’m broken, but I’m happy, as long as I can paint.” At the request of Mario Monteforte Toledo to define herself as an artist, Frida Kahlo replied she was a “biologist, naturalist” and she was sincere. Never as in her case the pictorial corpus coincides with the physical corpus, which tells the sufferings by illustrating the diseased organs and attenuating emotional pain with scientific exposure. Frida wanted to be a doctor but for a tragic joke of fate she was condemned to be a chronic patient. She made her own body the area of investigation. It is evident that she consulted anatomy books as her pictures are conducted with the precision of an anatomopathologist. She also tells about his 1932 abortion through two lithographs on paper. Frida is also attracted to issues of fertility and death. She paints “The bride who is scared seeing the open


life”, 1943, it is a canvas oil. Frida Kahlo began to paint this painting in 1939 while she was in Paris. Initially it was only a still life but later she added a doll representing the bride, who frightened hides behind a watermelon and looks at the fruits on the table. Bananas allude to the male reproductive organ, while the papaya in the centre of the picture remembers the female reproductive organ. She finally added the title at the bottom of the composition and other elements. The painting also houses an owl that was probably living in Frida’s house. There is the influence of European avant-gardes as in the choice of colours. But the painting that celebrates most of her crazy love with her husband, Diego Rivera, is “Self-portrait like Tehuana (Diego in my thoughts or thinking of Diego)” dating back to 1943. Frida Kahlo paints love in all its nuances, this love that is tumultuous and almost an obsession. She says in a letter sent to her husband “more you cheat on me, more I love you”, a sign of a crazy love, maybe a little ill. In the picture, Diego places on Frida’s forehead that is dressed like a Tehuana, a dress that her husband particularly liked. Diego is always in her thoughts and this is visible in the same picture from the roots of the leaves that adorn her hair and resemble the canvas of a spider, with which she seeks to capture her prey: Diego.

to the right, from above: 1. The loving embrace of the universe, the land (Mexico), me, Diego and Mr. Xòlot, 1949, oil on the table, 70x60.5 cm 2. Frida Kahlo’s dresses at the show 3. Frida Kahlo’s dresses at the show 4. The bride who is scared seeing the open life, 1943, oil on canvas, 63x81.5 cm 5. Frida Kahlo’s dresses at the show Images source: Author’s personal archive


“Simple as all my life”. Real-scale reconstruction of Giorgio Morandi’s studio. Particular. Source: Author’s personal archive, courtesy of the International Center for Art and Culture of Palazzo Te.


Events journal


as all my life by Stefano Sarzi Amadè english translation by Cristina Lonardi

Born and raised in Bologna, Giorgio Morandi is an eminent personality of the 20th century art. After getting familiar with Cezanne’s art, he commits mainly to painting landscapes and still life, expressing his inner world and his private life through the study of forms and the elimination of what is “unnecessary” as the chromatic and thematic variety. 1 A synthesis that represents the essence of a spiritual emanation that transforms everyday life in a poetic expression of “silent life”.2 To the great maestro and the deep bond with which the artist Tacita Dean has done a consideration on his world, is dedicated the exhibition “Simple as all my life”, set up in the rooms and Fruttiere of Palazzo Te, in Mantua. The exhibition, open to the public until June 4, highlights the dialogue between the life of the great painter, reflected in his works, and the artistic language of Tacita Dean, one of the most important visual artists of the contemporary panorama, who in 2009 produces two movies dedicated to the poetic of the maestro, Day for night and Still life, in which Dean studies, collects and documents, directly from the artist’s studioroom, the atmosphere and the sensibility that Morandi uses in his vision of shapes and light. The exhibition starts from the noble halls of Palazzo Te, through a documentary

introduction and a very evocative reconstruction on a real scale, thanks to the photos taken by Luigi Ghirri, of the artist’s historical study at Via Fondazza in Bologna, where Morandi works and paints for over thirty years, until his death. The panels reproducing the artist’s study room share a simple, intense and intriguing world, other than an infinity of objects: boxes, bottles, vases, cups that the painter transforms, in his paintings, into volumes gently caressed by light, in an orderly manner, with poetry. In the rooms of the Fruttiere you can find the exhibition of many important works of the artist: watercolours, drawings,


Events journal space where the artist designed, through the already anticipated project that Tacita Dean had done on the poetry of the maestro. While the first aspect is relived within the exhibition by the emotional approach between the small flower pot and its pencil a watercolour representation (1943-49 ca), the close relationship between Morandi’s life and the visual representation of it given to us by Dean materializes in the two rooms where two movies Day for night and Still life are screened. During the first film, Tacita Dean reproduces that world made of pots, boxes, cups, bottles, which we enter with the discretion and delicacy of an observer, inviting us to explore that world with contemporary interiority. Still life is in appearance, a more abstract screening, a succession of sequential signs that instead reveal a more profound study in Morandi’s creative process: those “graffiti” are in fact the result of an intense and inexorable study of the positioning of shapes and their interaction with light in order to, later on, represent them. Such a meticulous work that leaves the observer more astonished by the natural result obtained in the works, and the complexity of signs observed on one of those worksheets, displayed in the exhibition. The world that surrounds Morandi’s life and work completes, during the itinerary of the exhibition, through some quotes written on the walls that show us the vision of some art historians regarding his personality (“The luminous salient he represented in modern art, is a diamond’s point that does not lose value. Morandi remains an apex, an absolute achievement” Cesare Brandi), and through the display of original texts and letters that linked the maestro to important friends and relevant personalities of the artistic and cultural panorama, like letters, handwritten by Morandi himself, addressed to Peppino Ghiringhelli, the owner of an art gallery together with his brother Virginio, friend of the artist. Just before leaving the exhibition, one can notice an beautiful metaphor linking the choice of the display to Morandi’s poetic panorama: the semi-filtered panels that

engravings, oil paintings, designed between 1915 and 1963, which reveal that meticulous and precise volume and light study that the artist pours into his artistic language. Observing the displayed works, you may understand how much the objects represented by Morandi overcome their accidental form and are brought back to their geometric figure in relation to the space3, thus transforming into universal, timeless forms, represented as a contemplated harmony that seems absolutely natural. It is no coincidence that opening the itinerary is “Still Life” (1938), where vases, dear to the artist, create an elegant sequence of volumes softly caressed by light. The chromatic study reveals a thorough search for red and yellow ochre, where also the light touches if an intense blue and carmine appear in perfect harmony. The same attention to the compositional study appears also in other oil paintings displayed: “Still Life” (1943) shows how wide the colour spectrum of grey shades may be, and with how much talent and poetry the artist donates plasticity and intensity to his compositions, characterized by colours, only apparently similar. However, for Morandi, the study of volumes covers also other different representation techniques, hence a different “sign”: the pencil drawings displayed, some of which very delicate, contrast to the materiality of the oil paintings thanks to the “stroke”, but they share the same sensible approach to volumes and light. Likewise, his pencil drawings, also the engravings, such as the small yet wonderful etching “Still Life with Bread and Lemon” (1921), also visible in the exhibition, underline the importance of the stroke in the representation, confirm how much, for the artist, it is enough using black and white to create a form4, and confirm the artist’s attention to the bond between light and space. The exhibition does not offer only Morandi’s works, it makes us guests of his life, and it does it, not only by reconstructing the studio as a “physical”


articulate the exhibition spaces and the large circular screenings of the suspended lights recall and mention the filters that the maestro applied onto the light sources, both natural and artificial, in order to recreate that loved yet rarefied unified atmosphere that he reproduced in his paintings, and yes, it is perceived very well even in the elegant spaces of an exhibition that in its sobriety reveals all its complexity, such as in the works of the maestro Morandi. This somewhat contradictory concept is noticeable on the panels of the installation in the quotation by Cesare Gnudi: “We have no legacy in all the contemporary art of an intimate diary so rich in different sentimental motives, even in a coherent harmonious unity of his spiritual world”. After all, the simple complexity of a poetic mind resembles the maestro himself, explaining his “flat and quiet” existence with the statement “my childhood is simple as all my life”.5 Notes: 1,3,4. P. Adorno, “L’arte italiana”, third volume “Il novecento”, reprint 1998, G. D’Anna 2. W. Vitzthum, “I disegni dei maestri. Il novecento”, reprint 1986, Fabbri Editori 5. Installation “Semplice come tutta la mia vita”, Palazzo Te, introductory panel at the exhibition. Special thanks goes to the International Centre of Art and Culture of Palazzo Te, managers and responsible for the exhibition, for the kindness and the availability demonstrated, and for the granting of the photographs.

on the right, from the top: 1. The first paintings by Morandi as you enter the exhibition. 2. Some drawings and etchings. 3. Giorgio Morandi, “Still Life”, 1943 4. Giorgio Morandi, “Still Life”, 1929 5. The screening “Still Life”, one of the two Tacita Dean films inspired and dedicated to Giorgio Morandi. 6. Detail of the small flower pot and its pencil watercolor reproduction by Giorgio Morandi. 7. Some works exhibited in one of the halls. Image source: author’s photos.


Peter Gentenaar at work. Source:


Art and Architecture

peter gentenaar,

suggestions of paper poems by Stefano Sarzi Amadè and Giovanna Fabris

The works of Peter Gentenaar are elegant three-dimensional paper sculptures that, within the spaces in which they are inserted, recall, thanks to the incredible skill of the artist, myths and ideas strongly evocative, capable of dialoguing with the environment by making it a place between the fantastic and the surreal. They are undefined forms which, through their interpretation, suggest enchantments to the viewer, becoming magic light as clouds, dynamic as the ocean and as elegant autumn leaves, poems stirred by the wind. The sensitivity of art transforms the traditional language of the material making it unique: whether it be colors on a canvas, sounds, woven words or modelled material. Like a sculptor working the material to define his poetic message, Peter Gentenaar choose paper as a physical element to model, transforming it into sinuous structures reminiscent of the waves of the sea, autumn leaves, dancing mermaids, opened wings, delicate and light feathers. Peter Gentenaar born in 1946 in the Netherlands, where nature builds beautiful

landscapes that man always relates in an unbreakable bond. It is precisely in connection with nature that the artist finds inspiration for his works. Great expert of paper working thanks to the engraver profession, which allowed him to perfect specific techniques of manufacturing as well as to deepen their research and knowledge, Gentenaar decides to give his artistic language of this material, working it and turning it on its two-dimensional texture to real sculptures that capture forms in three dimensional space.


Art and Architecture In order to realize these visions, however, the artist initially could not find a paper mill with tools that might be able to work with paper to allow him to give the artistic language that he wants. Helped then by Jo Persoon and the Royal Dutch Paper Factory, he build by himself his laboratory, equipped with personalized beating machines that can be work paper handcrafted to make it perfectly in accordance with artistic modelling of his works. These special machines works cellulose fiber to make the paper thin and very resistant, so it can be carved and “sculpted” when sheets are still wet. The shaped sheets of paper cover a light bamboo structure which, in the end, allows works to have stability and strength. The modelled structures are transformed, finally, in abstracted forms but highly evocative due to paper drying which shrinks by about 40% scrunching up and twisting on its bamboo “ribs” which, beside having the practical function of strengthening works, prevent the ruffled paper material to shrink too much. The magical visions created by Peter Gentenaar are inspirated, as already mentioned, to the great artist’s ties with the world of nature, made of vegetable creatures and atmospheric energies that flow over the time and in the succession of the seasons’ poetry. The light creatures of his works, complex and harmonics, become many other things in the suggestion they evoke: sometime seem banners moved by the wind, scrunched up leaves, mythological figures emerged from the sea, mermaids, eagles, fish, sea waves, esoteric dancers, wizard hidden by some kind of spell. The poetic power of these paper works of colored paper lies in their ability to transform the space in which they are: the forms, placed in open or closed spaces within architectures, vibrate like colours in a surrealistic painting while, hanging from the ceiling of environments that host them, float in the air as if they were always suspended in time. Sometimes developed up to touch the floor, the paper creatures seem spells that give a magical meaning to

everything that surrounds them. An absolute example is the “Mystère de papier” exhibition, set up in 2009 on the occasion of the 25th edition of the classical music festival of Saint Riquier, with more than a hundred works bythe artist exhibited in the homonymous Abbey of 638 A.D. Among the Gothic arches of the building stand out suspended, colourful and austere Gentenaar’s creatures which are, in white and solemn abbey environment, the ideal setting for a language made up of harmonics synergies and suggestions half way between poetic and dreamy. Among others many expositions which have Gentenaar’s sculptures as protagonist, the “Summer Exposition” was staged at the Hague City Hall designed by architect Richard Meier. Here the artist’s works are once again hanging in the air, in a completely different scenario than that of St. Riquier. The exhibition, in the great hall of the architectural complex of public spaces, highlights a language comparison between works and the building space. Here sinuous forms of the paper emerge dynamic and colourful from the architectural sobriety dominated by the light and by the white of the walls. The light, that bursts into the space within the openings of the buildings that host the works, become always an essential element for the forms’ reading: it brings out the textures and the smoothness of the paper, and plays with structures creating sensitive light and shade and delicate transparencies that filter through their fibers. Shows and exhibitions dedicated to the works of Peter Gentenaar have been set up in many other world-class museums and spaces: the Netherlands, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, France are some of the countries that hosted the paper suggestions made by the artist. In this almost mythological narrative art, the opalescence of the organic and sinuous forms is nothing but the result of great skill and technical ability of processing as Peter Gentenaar sais: “at the base of the forms remains the nature of the pulp. Papermaking


is the true art”, this because the paper is the “instrument” while its direct work represents the artist’s ability to give shape to his dreams and also represents the ability to query the visitor that, by observing these paper clouds, wondering what will be the spell that stirs those forms, where they will lay those leaves and those veils, how much the flowers will bloom, how strong will be the wind that will animate those clouds.

on the right, from the top: 1. A work by Peter Gentenaar. Source: 2. Peter Gentenaar, exposition “Mystère de papier”, in Saint Riquier Abbey. Source: 3. Peter Gentenaar, exposition “Mystère de papier”, in Saint Riquier Abbey. Source: inhabitat. com/peter-gentenaars-stunning-paper-sculptures-soar-through-the-air-like-flying-jellyfish/ 4. Peter Gentenaar, exposition “Mystère de papier”, in Saint Riquier Abbey. Source: 5. Peter Gentenaar, “Toreador”, work in red paper. Source: 6. Peter Gentenaar, exposition “Summer Exposition” in Hague City Hall. Source:


Felice Varini, “Trois ellipses ouvertes en désordre”, exposition “De unie, Hasselt/Genk”, Hasselt. Source: ©2015


Art and Architecture

felice varini:

the space


a canvas by Giovanna Fabris and Stefano Sarzi Amadè

In visual art’s language we often conceive the basis on which we paint as a neutral and flat element. Felice Varini paints his works on architectural surfaces transforming the working basis in painting’s main character. These works of art, known throughout the world, exploiting the multiple facets of colors, materials and light of the spaces, transforming the two-dimensionality in three dimensions and vice versa. Through his personal technique and a well-studied calculation research the artist gives shape to essential and suggestive images, in continuous relationship with the spaces that host them. Felice Varini, born in Locarno in 1952 and Parisian by adoption, as his own definition is “an abstract painter who paints on architectonical and urban spaces, such as buildings, walls and streets” 1. Varini’s art, though, is a perspective language which studies proportions and perception of the space through surfaces on which he works: buildings become canvas on which he “paints” geometric forms, simple or articulate that become INTEGRE E UNITARIE if they are

observed from a specific point of view. The works seen from this point of view hire a spectacular and somewhat surreal two-dimensional image fixed in the space, which let see the rear environment. In this sense, art is not just abstract, it takes on a very concrete and physical language. Moving in space works reveal all their three-dimensional structure appearing in the eyes of the observer as a succession of shapes and destructured and abstract lines


Art and Architecture imprinted on the walls and architectural elements. The aim sought by the artist is precisely to lead the viewer in the first illusionary and fragmented work of art that, while the observer is moving gradually in space, assembling up to appear in its unity when viewed from the chosen point of observation. The latter is an indispensable element to the suggestive desired effect: from it depends the perspective effect in the space that hosts it, and it is for this reason that, before deciding which point of view privilege, Varini carefully studying the space and its identity, surfaces and materials. To create his paintings, after careful analysis of the environment, the artist projects in space artistic form created for the work of art and, in correspondence with the projections on the surface, it presents guidelines and then paints with special paint the work itself. The formal language chosen by Varini is voluntarily essential: the shapes are always simple geometric elements or combined with each other, while the colours used are often the primary, secondary or neutral, more homogeneous and often using only one colour for each work. The concept by which this choice can be explained is extremely interesting: if, in fact, a painter works on a support such as canvas, which itself is a flat and unchanged element, so the painter himself has to give movement to his work art, with variety of colours, shapes, shades. If however, as in the case of Varini, the support is the space that already by itself provides movement, nuances, variations in colour, light and surfaces, the artist has no longer the need to shape their own language through composite forms, variations of colour and intensity, the space is already thinking about to deal with it. Precisely on this concept, Varini explains: “If you draw a circle on a flat canvas, it will always have the same appearance and maintain the flatness of the canvas. Projecting a circle on spaces, walls or sides of the mountains, the circle shape is altered course, because the ‘canvas’ is not flat. The mountain has curves that modify the geometry of the circle [...] if I use a certain

type of red color on a mountain, the result are different types of red, depending on the surface of the mountain and the light conditions. Sunlight will affect the different surfaces, and the same red can become stronger, darker or lighter [...] I do not need to use sophisticated colours.” 2 The works of Felice Varini are numerous and deserve a more careful cataloging, however, among the largest artist’s works include “Cercle et suites of éclats” designed in the village ofVercorin in the Swiss Alps, “Cinq ellipses ouvertes” in the city of Metz, where he painted on the walls of the five buildings overlapping ellipses that appear to float in the urban space, and “Trois ellipses ouvertes en désordre”, for which Varini paints three white elliptical shapes covering the streets, walls and roofs in the historical city of Hasselt, Belgium. In “Encerclement to dix” painted shapes are circles of different sizes and provisions that cover the walls of the Chapel of Joan of Arc in Thouars, France. The circles are concentric in such works as “Arches and crowns” in the ancient Augustinian monastery at Mount Carasso, “Quart de disque and arcs of cercles” Ville de Fontenay le Comte, and “Entre ciel et terre” in Saint Etienne, while assume an eccentric appearance in “Cinq cercles excentriques” in Lausanne, “Dix-sept cercles excentriques oranges” to the European Center of Lomoge ceramics, and “Sept couronnes excentriques” Abbaye Saint-Jean d’Orbestier in France. The combinations of geometric shapes are the language is also used in the works “Huit Carrès”, held at Orangerie du Château du Versailles, and in “Huit rectangles” at the Musée du Beaux-arts to Arras, where the forms are presented as a regular network of blue rectangles silhouetted on architectural surfaces. The triangles are geometric elements that characterize works such as “Neuf triangles dansants” at Château Chasse-Spleen and “Six triangles en diagonal” at Château de Suzela- Rousse, while in “Une ligne, milles et droites une” at the Musée Bourdelle , the painted elements have the illusion of straight lines that touch the space with irregular rhythms and orders.


The emblematic installation “Vingt-trois disques Evides plus douze moitiés et quatre quarts” at the exposure “Dynamo” in Paris fits into a series of works in which the geometric shapes remain empty, while it is around them to be painted. “Disques Evides dans le bleu” and “Twelve discs over sixteen halved and hollowed four quarters” have the same concept. When around empty forms also become a form, the artist presents works such as “Trois triangles bleus” in Berlin and “Ellipse dans le trapezoid, rouge” at the Musée du Beaux-Arts in Strasbourg. Among the most recent exhibitions, “La Villette en Suites” set up in the interior and exterior of Parc de La Villette is a strong synthesis of the language of the artist, whose style research, constantly changing, is a synthesis of how space, in this case architectural, is fundamental to the identity of art. Sources:

on the right, from the top: 1. “Arcs de Cercle sur diagonale”, exposition “La Villette en suites”, Parc de La Villette, Paris. Source: ©2015 Photo © André Morin 2. “Huit carrées”, exposition “Versailles off ”, Orangerie du Château du Versailles. Source: ©2015 Photo: © André Morin 3. “Archi e corone”, ancient Augustinian monastery. Mount Carasso. Source: www.varini. org/02indc/27indcd04.html ©2015 4. “Cinq ellipses ouvertes”, exposition “Constellation”, Metz. Source: ©2015, Photo © André Morin 5. “Trois triangles bleus”, Peinture Malerei, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. Source: www.varini. org/02indc/29indcn06.html ©2015 6. “Vingt-trois disques évidés plus douze moitiés et quatre quarts”, exposition “Dynamo”, Grand Palais, Paris. Source: ©2015


James Turrell, “Aten Reign�, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2013. Source: www.gothamgal. com/2013/06/a-weekend-in-the-city/


Art and Architecture

james turrell and the power

of light by Stefano Sarzi Amadè and Giovanna Fabris

When we look at an architecture, or more generally a physical space, we are accustomed to conceive the light striking the surfaces of forms such as a service element of shapes, enhancing the proportions, details, materials, textures. But what happens when you walk into a room and the light becomes an element that converts and transforms the space, making you perceive the latter through a law dominated mainly by bright suggestions? Surely you can find the answer to this question in the works of James Turrell, an American artist that the relationship between space and light did the styling of its works of art. The creative research of Turrell was born from the desire to conceive light not only as a tool that allows the vision of things, but as an element with very specified features, that has to be observed. The artist, born in Pasadena (California) in 1943, began studying and testing of light projections during the period of studies at Pomona College when, fascinated by the light beams of a projector, begins his quest. Since 1966, Turrell created his first works in his studio, obscuring the windows

and leaving only filter the necessary light. Just one year later, in 1967, he opened his first solo exhibition at the Art Museum in Pasadena, which is followed by exhibitions that are hosted today in many museums in the world. The environment in which Turrell installs his own works of art is a place built but neutral, often white: a space that preserves its architectural features, though lending itself to be altered, transformed by the language of a light artificially modelled in


Art and Architecture the form and colours. The space itself, with the importance of its neutrality, is defined by the artist himself: “...if the colour is in the wall painting, the moment that the light enter, the colour can walk the surface. But if the colour of the walls is white...the light colour can inhabits the space and posses that volume more than the colour painted on the walls.” 1 The first works of the artist are light projections which defined geometric forms that pretend to be three-dimensional in a dark space of a room. Triangular shapes of Pullen and Raethro, the square ones of Catso and Carn white, or vertical cuts on the walls (Ronin and Enzu) use white light, while the colored and monochrome light is used in works such as Alta Blue, Arco Green, Afrum, Porter Powell Yellow, Raethro Red. Linguistic research expressed in these works reveals the artist’s desire to work with the light as a painter on a canvas; the latter is, for Turrell, represented by solid surfaces, and two- dimensional compact architectural walls. Although the artist is close to the “painting language”, he does not renounce to allude to the threedimensionality: he plays, in fact, with the space, projecting shapes which, although developed on flat surfaces, allude to threedimensional volumes that give the illusion to break away from the walls. In those years, Turrell offers new spatial language that alters the viewer’s perception of the space in which he is located. Born large “windows” as Rondo Blue and Raemar Pink White: panels that, hiding the light source, generate a diffuse light in the environment, transforming the perception of spatial depth. In Acton window it is recessed into the wall, as well as in Danae, where the light is no longer diffused into the room, but inside the window. Other beautiful examples of “bright windows” are Present Tense, St. Elmo’s Breath, Dawning, which recalls the dawn hues, and the multicolored Gathered Light and Coconino. Key Lime e Milk RunII can be considered as natural evolutions of previous works: in this case the projection of light beams deludes to the presence of barriers, articulated in

space, but actually non-existent. In works such as The Light Inside, Pella Passage and Floater, Turrell works in the entire space highlighting actually non-existent spatial volumes and drawing shapes that in reality does not reflect the actual environment and disorient the viewer in his identification of the forms.In the ‘90s and 2000s, the art of Turrell is getting closer to the mutual dialogue between architecture and light; accomplice the most ambitious projects of the artist, Aten reign at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Roden Crater, the light is no longer limited to be profuse element from a single source, but becomes a set of luminous traces that create more and more environments articulated. The installation Aten Reign, staged in the famous museum in New York, is considered the interaction between artificial and natural light in the art of Turrell. The work, whose name was inspired by a sun god of Egyptian mythology, captures sunlight and penetrates inside the building closer, ideally, the starlight to the human level, which is represented in artificial lighting that is deep in the environment changing tones and gradations. The monumental Roden Crater in Arizona, began in 1977 and not yet completed, has definitely influenced the artist’s design language. It is a light observatory complex built inside a volcanic crater and is the space in which the cosmic light of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars, is concentrated to give visitors an experience in contact with the universe. The experience at the Guggenheim Museum and the contact with the universe sought in the Roden Crater have certainly resulted in the artist’s desire to introduce the natural and celestial light as an essential element in its skyspaces, rectangular or circular rooms of contemplation in which the light artificial designed by Turrell converses with the natural light of the sky, which penetrates into the environment by openings on the ceiling. Thus were born works like House of Light, One Accord, Unseen Blue, Craiganour Skyspace, Above Horizon, Planet Blue Sky, Third Breath, The Way of Color, Twilight Epiphany,


Stone Sky. In 2009 was held in Germany, one of the largest exhibitions dedicated to the artist, in which he proposes the language dedicated to Ganzefeld, rooms where the perception of spatial depth is altered by updating the theme dealt with in his “windows”. In Akhob and Breathing Light space is overwhelmed by the intensity of the chromatic light, by visual contrasts and alteration perceptive. It is no coincidence that the illusion created in the work of art is able to subdue the space to the visitors point of losing orientation. Whether it’s the moonlight, the rays of dawn, or deliberately synthetic colours, Turrell succeeds mold and shape the light, immobilizing the moments that run fast in time and inviting us to contemplate them. Perhaps this is the key to the reading of his works: to be able to slow down the hectic pace to observe, aided by light and colour, and the inner beauty of the universe. Sources: 1.

on the right, from the top: 1. “Pullen (White)”, 1967. Source: Photo: ©2016 James Turrell 2. “Arco Green”, 1968. Source: Photo: ©2016 James Turrell 3. “Raemar Pink White”, 1969. Source: Photo: ©2016 James Turrell 4. “Pella Passage”, 2005. Source: Photo: ©2016 James Turrell 5. “Roden Crater”, Crater’s eye. Source: www. Photo: ©2016 James Turrell 6. “Breathing Light”, 2013. Source: Photo: ©2016 James Turrell


Lucid Stead night sight, California, 2013. Source:


Art and Architecture

reflected horizons by

Phillip K Smith III by Giovanna Fabris and Sara Stermieri english translation by Aurora Biondaro and Giorgia Giuzio

“The only thing we have to preserve the nature with is culture”. Wendell Berry technologies enter the artistic tradition of the California’s Light and Space, a movement that took root starting from the mid-60s and 70s. One of his most important project was realised at the Joshua Tree National Park, in California. “Lucid Stead” is the result of a visionary transfiguration: the materialization of a fanciful image in the middle of a desolate and empty space. The starting point is a very little wooden hut arising in the high desert: a gabled roof, a window on the short edge and two symmetric windows from the perspective of the main entrance on the long edge.

Nature is the background of our life. That is why it is essential. Phillip K Smith III, American artist and architect, wants to make a mark. Born in Los Angeles in 1972 and raised in the South California, he first graduated in Fine Arts and then in Architecture, at the Rhode Island School of Design. Basing his studies upon explorations of the light, the space and the colour’s perception, Philips creates sculptures that are in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape, by constantly interacting with it and increasing its value. His researches about the theories of lights, shadows, shapes, perceptions and


A seventy-year-old building, a freight depot and many power tools, unused for years. The artist puts bands of mirrors horizontally, alternating very long wooden planks, and places some fixtures into the already existing breaches. The optical illusion that makes this little building transparent is given by the alternation of these horizontal bands, which reflect the surrounding area. The framework matches with the nature of the desert, picking up the reflected lights and the shadows but also overviews and changes according to the landscape. During the day it comes across like a manufacture that is perfectly integrated with the setting and that blends in with it. On the small house’s walls the soft shades of the sky are portrayed on the upper part, while the sand and the drier vegetation are reflected on the lower part.. At night, the building stands out, being completely at odds with the environment, like a psychedelic hallucination. Actually, the second part of the work is unveiled during the night, where the LED lights counterfeit the solar-powered lighting and the blinding colours reflect the structure, realizing a strong colour-coded and multilayered point in a completely abandoned area. The openings of the building come out as blue, yellow and red but while looking down and walking along just for a few feet, they have already turned purple, green and orange, without even realizing it. In this masterpiece, it is interesting to catch the combination wanted by Smith. On the one hand, during the day, the tiny structure attracts the light reflecting the surrounding area, and focalizes the attention on it. On the other hand, during the night, the process is completely the opposite: the lights exude warmth while focusing the attention on the architectonical element. Everything is done without any screw, wire or any other disturbance, thanks to the solar panels, which allow a pure sensory experience without noises of generators breaking the silence. Everyone has his own perception and can feel different sensations: calmness, quietness, the rhythm of the swing, the

vision of an illusion or a surreal object. “Reflection Field”, realised for the Coachella Festival (CA, 2014) is another great work of art that captures Smith’s attention. This composition consists of five geometrical elements covered in mirrors; during the day, they reflect the landscape while at night they get coloured, contrasting the obscurity. The space concurrently becomes finite and infinite and these monuments float in the darkness. The mirrors have been composed in order to form parallelepipeds, which go from little blocks to a higher structure: a 18 feet height tower. The composition is disposed in a circular way on a 98 feet diameter and emphasizes the musical festival’s atmosphere. At day, the “lights’ volumes”, as caught by Smith, are groundto-air prisms that reflect the surrounding desert, with its flexible palms and the mountainous amphitheatre, with curious visitors. “I would like people to perceive my job like they do with clouds – something you stare at as a universal beauty […] no one ever looks at the clouds saying “they’re awful”, everyone sees something different.”. The last great work is “The circle of Land and Sky”. It defines an immersive space within the vast, arid terrain, forming a circular field of 300 geometric reflectors, each one angled at a 10-degree slant; the mirrored installation refracts views of land and sky, in a dynamic modulation of the horizon, something constantly changing that cannot be seen two times at the same way. This work is part of  “Desert X”, an outdoor exhibition of art installations taking place across the Coachella Valley in the Californian Desert. This international show, with a duration of three months, offers artists new scenes to deal with, unusual and non-conventional spaces where people can voice their own art. Its importance and originality are explained by Neville Wakefield, who props that this lonely and uncontaminated place had charmed for a long time the minds of artists, architects, musicians, writers and other landscape and soul’s explorers. He thinks that “Desert X”: “Reflects upon the matchless spectacle of the geologic


epic, the radical abstraction of the surroundings and the singular incursions of man into the seemingly barren landscape”. We can consider it as Land Art in its pure state since the huge rock and sand’s sprawl is used as a canvas or as a stage. Sixteen international artists designed their installations on this scenery, catching the energy of those places and drawing inspirations from it; thanks to this, they were able to create sculptures and architectures, breath-taking masterpieces that perfectly fit in with the context and act as a landmark in the middle of the endless and barren stretch.

on the right, form the top: 1. Phillip K Smith III. Source: www.instagram. com/p/BScZu3jBnAu/?taken-by=phillipksmith3 2. Lucid Stead, California, 2013. Source: www. 3. Reflection Field, California, 2014. Source: 4. Reflection Field, California, 2014. Source: w w w. d e z e e n . c o m / 2 0 1 4 / 0 4 / 2 5 / r e f l e c tion-field-lighting-installation-coachella/ 5. The Circle of Land and Sky, California 2017. Source: www.bedfordandbowery. com/2017/02/desert-x-brings-richard-princeand-others-to-the-middle-of-nowhere/ 6. The Circle of Land and Sky, California 2017. Source:


A technological element Biomimethics: bones as anti-seismic structures Biomimetics: nature as design starting point Ancient architectures and new shining feelings

Design Vespa, the synbol of italian Dolce Vita Kartell, the plastic culture Gaetano Pesce: the design is female

Art Viva la vida! Edward Hopper, a film director without film Art is for everyone

Graphics Brand identity Which Pantone are you? Which type are you? Part 1

Fashion style Karl Lagerfeld, the dreamer prince of fashion Fashion advertising: between marketing and provocation Coco Chanel: a feminist fashionista



A technological element


bones as


structures by Marco Mangiamele english translation by Alessandra Isolan

Evermore today we find ourselves in front of natural phenomena against which we are powerless and that often threaten our survival. The key is to recall in the adaptation of animal and vegetable species to the different eco-systemic factors. One of the biggest problems of our time in the Architectural and Engineering field is the one related to earthquakes and to the design of building structures. Today in the academic field is a major thought that the resilience of a building can be made better throughout the use of biomimetic philosophy, that takes nature as the constant reference into the design phase. As enlightened by Joseph Lim, an architect from Singapore, in his book titled “BioStructural: Analogues in Architecture”, we have to search new solutions to ancient problems through the evolution of technologic thinking, taking inspiration from different typologies of knowledge: the observation of nature. Biomimetics reaches Architecture by conforming a reinforced concrete frame so that it can resist to horizontal loads. if we borrow from medicine the shape of the human bone, we can see that is reliable in terms of structure and loads to beams and pillars in construction. This particular morphology of the human bone minimizes the consumption of the material by maximizing its performances; indeed, emulating Wolff ’s law which implies the adaptation of shape to the forces applied on the element, the object is the

this page, from the top: 1. The femur and five different shapes of columns, the fifth is the most efficient one according to resistance, rigidity and building costs. Source: www3.bp.blogspot. com/-Yl1f3vAtinA/T5bwnK2cOJI/AAAAAAAAAHM/ OcVUZuaqBH0/s1600/Biotechnology+driven+form.jpg 2. The Dom-ino system invented by LeCorbusier was inspired by machines for serialized construction. It’s an economically efficient design, not more sustainable today. 3. Sistem Stick.S representation next page, from the top: 4. Comparison between the femur’s section and selected concrete columns 5. Morphogenesis of the Stick.S system and bending moment diagram 6. Deflection’s diagram and comparison between the Stick.S system and the traditional one. The traditional undergoes a deflection which is double to the Stick.S one. 2,3,4,5,6. Source: bio-structure-bone-inspired-building-frame-by-tectonica/


exact product of the forces that it receives. This rule, inherent to nature, could permit a 30% reduction to the use of concrete for every single element. Taking the femur as designing reference we can notice that it is its cylindrical shape (similar to a hollow shaft) that permits to maximize the resistance with the minor possible weight, a parameter that furthermore reduces the seismic intensity on structures. Still according to Wolff ’s rule, the bone becomes thicker where it receives major loads and the bone density decreases according to the reduction of the loads. These morphologic performances of the structure of the human body resolve problems regarding mechanics and sustainability of antiseismic structures. Using the theoretical platform of Biomimicry the puerto rican architect Wilfredo Mendez edited during his master course into the Architecture university in Puerto Rico a thesis titled: “ Principles for a biotectonic culture”. This guide for the design of bio-inspired structures ends with the conception of a system named Stick.S that uses hollow-shaped beams and pillars without a prismatic shape, generated by the natural flow of seismic forces. These “frames” are more than three times thicker than traditional ones, and the cut at the base of the structure is reduced of 35%. By being deeply tied to the bending moment diagrams during an earthquake and by being morphologically efficient, this system is also sustainable because it reduces CO2 emissions with the minor use of concrete. In conclusion we can say that adaptation is the key of efficiency in order to improve performances, abandoning the design of new buildings in favor of the construction of a second nature.


A technological element



as design

starting point by Marco Mangiamele english translation by Alessandra Isolan

We student of Architecture exert ourselves by designing buildings that, as it is logical, will never be realized, and due to this aspect we are led to not give interest to the technical component of a project. Often indeed, this element is seen as a limit and is taken in care only at the end of the design, forgetting that instead it can be the starting point. Loos, in his writings, shows how the technical component is useful even to the aesthetic aims of the project. The Greeks he writes that have a certain knowledge of beauty, worked worrying about practicality, without thinking to an aesthetic need. At the end, when an object finally reached such a grade of practicality that was not possible to go further, then they considered the object also beautiful. These words are visually coming to reality into the works of many important architects, among them one of the most important is Pier Luigi Nervi, that uses technical solutions strictly connected to the elegance of the shape. Nervi himself explains that he was successful to join art and science into constructing, thanks to two methodic teachers: history and nature. All of us during the design phase search for architectonic references, looking at the history of architecture more or less recent. How many of us ever thought to look at nature as a design reference? The modeling of natural shapes is the result of various forces that have always focused on their optimization. This is why taking nature as a reference allows us not to do a simple formal exercise, but to succeed in imitating its form and above all “technology�. An example is in Antoni Gaudi’s architec-


ture, which manifests many organic aspects. In Sagrada Familia’s case, Gaudì observes that in the Gothic architecture the transmission of the sloping push of the vault to the vertical ceilings presents considerable risks and only an additional overload in these points can overcome. Inspired by the principle according to which the branching into the vegetable world occurs, he tilts the pillars in the direction of the vault thrust. He treats the structure vitalistically and conceives it as the expression of the forces acting within it. Gaudi’s contribution in terms of “organic inspiration” is not confined to the structural aspects. Some elements of cooling systems, for example, imitate the shape of fish gills. Organic, functional and aesthetic structures are often showed inside his works. He’s one of the many architects that uses the mechanisms of nature in their architecture projects. The difficulty of using nature as reference is to know these biological, chemical and even behavioral mechanism that govern nature so that we can use them in our work. However, an online database that releases free “biological knowledge” is available: Within it you can find examples of natural strategies already used in some projects. Perhaps we should stop designing new buildings and we will have to start building a new nature because, as Albert Einstein suggests, everything we can imagine, nature has already created it. previous page, from the top: 1. Job’s Palace by Pier Luigi Nervi: a tree forest is replaced by a tapered pillar composition. Source: 2.Cooling system that imitates fish gills used into Casa Batllò by Antoni Gaudì. Source: www. 3. Sagrada Familia’s ceiling illuminated by natural light. Source: barcelone/35960/plafond_de_la_sagrada_familia_avec_sa_luminosite_naturelle.htm this page, from the top: 4. Sagrada Familia’s columns shaped as three branches. Source: www.jacqueslanciault. com/2012/06/06/la-sagrada-familia-le-jour-dela-sant-jordi/ 5.Model of the columns of the Sagrada Familia.


A technological element

ancient architectures and new shining

feelings by Marco Mangiamele english translation by Aurora Biondaro, Giorgia Giuzio and Marco Lodi Rizzini

In this article, the consideration I want to face is completely different from the others. I would like to talk about the space’s emotionalism developed through the theme of light. Now, let us try to figure out the Architectures we visited reflecting on the bright component they produced. After a quick analysis, we can notice that the best Architectures, the best spaces, the ones that marvel at our insight were the ones structurally constructed to generate and contain a certain illumination. In ancient times, one of the main designing elements was the decision of how and how much to use the light. For example, let us think about the ancient civility Temples’ light: from semi dark spaces lit by candles, they began to build “hypaethral” structures, without any roofing; this allowed them to let the luminous flux towards the venerated god’s statue. This zenithal illumination arouses the most powerful feelings within the human soul. The light beam that goes down from above is perceived as an immaterial element, which spiritually connects human beings with the sky. In this context, the Roman Pantheon is the maximum architectural expression. Every time we think about this framework, we imagine ourselves in the structure, inside this perfect circular space, surrounded by the light and guided by the luminous flux coming from the Oculus. In that moment, we are part of the technological work given by the incredible structural conception of On this page, from the top: 1. Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, the only proof known to Vitruvio about the typology of the hypaethral Temple. Source:, photograph by George Rex 2. Luminous zenithal flux inside the Pantheon. Source: 3. Planimetry of a side of the Domus Aurea, in red the Octagonal Hall complex. Source: www.archeoroma., archive SSBAR.


the building, day by day since millennia. In a time when artificial light did not exist, designers used to build strong structures made of light. Cutting-edge technologies were employed in order to generate eternal spaces, so that their light would have been an inspiration for all the generations of architects up to our days. These generations had not discovered yet a Roman setting being buried until not so many decades ago: the octagonal Hall of the Neronian Domus Aurea. This was built half a century before the Pantheon and has an octagonal plant and a hemispheric roofing, which is not held by any pendentive. The peculiarity of this space is that near the main hall’s Dome, equipped with a central Oculus, there are laterally placed buttress linked at the top of the octagon. Thanks to this, five alcoves are lightened by windows made out above the hall’s Dome by way of a hopper window. The structure of the hall, projected by the Architects Severo and Celero in the service of Nerone, is way different from the Pantheon (even though it is much bigger), and allows a major and a more efficient distribution of the light in the various spaces. Those differences still exist even in the composition of the dome that is a layer of opus caementicium tapered upwards the Pantheon, with a small steady thickness (17 inches), in the Octagonal hall. These clarifications are functional when defining this Architecture as one of the most brilliant ever built in the Roman Era, conceived under the Vitruvian triad of firmitas, venustas and utilitas. In facts, it has a structure that absorbs the dome’s strains that are switched in an optimal way to the foundations of the oculus. This last, zenithally lights six incredibly beautiful locations. An ancient architecture that still has something to teach us, from the technological point of view and regarding the design of the light in internal environments. On this page, from the top: 4. Intern view of the Octagonal Hall and. Source: 5. Radial surroundings, Octagonal Hall. Source: descrizione-del-monumento/, Archive SSBAR, photograph E. Monti. 6. Plan of the Octagonal Hall. Lateral buttresses and hopper windows that light the alcoves are to note. Source:




the symbol of italian

dolce vita by Isabella Polettini

This page, top to bottom: 1. Vespa Paperino, 1946. Source: www.vespaclub-brembate. it/modelli-vespa.html 2. Pin-up style Vespa advertisement, circa 1955. Source:’icona/ next page, top to bottom: 3. Vacanze Romane movie poster, by William Wyler, 1953. Source: immortale-della-principessa-audrey-eil-giornalista-gregory-peck.html 4. Vespa Primavera, 1972. Source: ad-category/vespa/vendo-vespa-usata/page/21/ 5. Vespa PX, 1981. Source: px.html 6. Star motorcycle. Source: angolo-caffe-f19/sbavi-quotidiani-t17417-4005.html

A famous American architect and designer, Charles Eames, claimed that anyone who wants to design an object have to admit that the primary condition of design is NEED. So the designed item should always be able to evolve, keeping its shape and content, moulding its behaviour according to the different personalities of the people that use it. Without any doubt, Vespa is a design object universally recognized as outstanding, thanks to its presence in the permanent collection of Triennale and MoMa, and it is still living and transforming. The history of Vespa is troubled, and expands throughout all the Second half of XX century, following the evolution of customs and traditions not just of the Italian people, but of everybody. Everything starts in 1945, when Enrico Piaggio, well-known entrepreneur, decides to bet on a motorcycle prototype named Piaggio Paperino (Donald Duck), designed by Corradino d’Ascanio. The technology derived from the mechanics of the aeronautical engines, which allowed small sizes and great efficiency. A bit changed in terms of design, Vespa becomes almost instantly the symbol of the Italian re-birth. It is the way of transport of the working class to commute, and until 1954 it has always been nicknamed “faro basso” (low headlight): only after, with Vespa 150, the headlight will be placed above, assuming the look that still comes in our minds hearing the word Vespa. It is necessary to remark that the ergonomics and design appreciated at the time was not determined by the headlight, rather than the lowered shape open in the middle of the motorcycle body, that allowed an easy access and a good performance, comparing to the heavy and uncomfortable tra-


ditional motorbikes. Then, over the years, Vespa is appreciated more and more for leisure time and day trips, or for a sightseeing tour in an outstanding city like Rome, as immortalized in the everlasting movie Vacanze Romane. During the sixties, the Piaggio company tries to develop its flagship product in many possible directions. They design a Vespa rally, a Vespa Gran Turismo, a Super Sport, in the attempt to give voice to an increasingly modern and heterogeneous society. With the seventies, the Vespa myth was at a standstill, but the project of Vespa Primavera (1967-1977) renovated it, hitting the target market of young people, the same that in that moment were fighting both for the freedom cultural revolution of ’68 and for the political contradictions of the ’70. Again, thanks to a high performance, agility and the right shape, this model becomes central in the everyday life of Italian society. In the eighties, the economy becomes more and more capitalistic, and people turn to be more vain and self-absorbed, looking for new status symbols. One of these, for the young up-and-coming yuppies, is for sure the PX, which lets to get through the chaotic city traffic, swinging around the cars stuck at the red lights. This model turns into an absolute best seller for Vespa, with 3 billions of specimens sold. It is famous for its rounded shapes and for the possibility to customize it by adding chrome plating and accessories. What about today? Where is Vespa gone? Like all mass design objects, it evolved with different approaches. The first pursues the technology, which in many new exemplary distorted the original features of Vespa, bringing it closer to a moped. Another followed the strategy of “re-printing” Piaggio’s PX, in a very traditional but also very expensive way, that for sure is not anymore the democratic way of transport that Vespa was at its origins. A third approach gives credit to the Indian production of Vespa, known in the commerce as “Star”, very cheap but to the detriment of the originality of the object. These arguments should lead us back to Eames’ initial statement: should Vespa be only a brand to show off, or an object able to simplify our everyday reality, thanks to its intrinsic qualities? And which is, between the new versions, the true Vespa?




the plastic culture by Isabella Polettini Introducing plastics in the houses: this has been the challenge and the final purpose with which Kartell contemporary furniture was originally created. In sixty-seven years of history, marked by an innovative design for products, the company became one of the most prestigious and appreciated in its field on a global scale. In 1949, the chemical engineer Giulio Castelli, passionate about new materials, decided to start a new type of business by getting into the market of plastic objects fabrication. At the beginning he limited his production to car accessories, but afterwards he expanded his activity to household products, laboratory tools, and also to lamps, seats and furniture, that would later become the most representative products of the brand. The change happened even thanks to the encouragement of Giulio’s wife, Anna Castelli Ferrieri, who was an architect and designer much recognized at the time. With a desperate desire to combine “technical innovation with an avant-garde design”, the entrepreneur wanted to bring revolutionary changes in the world of furniture and laboratory tools, introducing plastic as the main material, to substitute glass and all its compounds. His challenge, based on continuous research and on attention to the design, brought Kartell to have the upper hand over the competitors even at the time. During the sixties and seventies, people used to welcome the changes gladly, so it was quite easy to accept this kind of experimentation, and the plastic object soon entered everyone’s house. The Pop culture society, that loved glossy and bright coloured materials, was enthusiast about these kitchenware objects, cheerful and vibrant (spatulas, lemon squeezers, colanders, dish racks), initially designed by Gino Colombini. The products were funny to use and easy to clean, store and stack, and marked a great shift over the climate of austerity of the previous this page, top to bottom: 1. Giulio Castelli with his wife Anna Castelli Ferrieri, ‘60. Source: www.larissacarbonearquitetura.blogspot. it/2015/07/romance-funcional-os- casais-na-historia.html
 2. KS 1481 lemon squeezer by Gino Colombini, 1959. Source: 3. 4870 chair by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, 1987. Source: 4. Round modular furniture by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, 1969. Source:


decades. With an already consolidated position on the top of the industrial design world of Italy, the company began to think beyond the national horizons. In 1972, Kartell was invited to take part to an exhibition at MoMA of New York, titled “Italy, the new domestic landscape”, where three prototypes of object created by Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso were presented; these object are still part of the permanent collection of the museum. The eighties represented a change in leadership for Kartell, and in 1988 Castelli’s son-in-law, Claudio Luti, took the company command, giving an energy boost to the brand. He did that by welcoming new designers in the group, such as Philippe Starck, Piero Lissoni and Ron Arad, who soon produced new iconic pieces. Between the nineties and the beginning of 2000s, Kartell had been the first company in the world to use polycarbonate for furniture production; the chair La Marie by Philippe Starck was the pioneer. Since then, they started the experiments with transparency, a product quality that now is synonymous with Kartell. Some of the most famous pieces are the Bookworm library by Ron Arad and the Louis Ghost armchair by Starck. Today, Kartell’s catalogue includes seats, lamps, tables and household accessories. Between the lighting systems, the Bourgie lamp created by Ferruccio Laviani is without any doubt one of the best-known lamps in history, on a global scale. Its baroque style mixed with the modernity of the material gives to this lamp a unique look that transformed it into an icon. Its versatility allows it to be placed in every kind of room, lighting it with a multitude of reflections. The creations of the company can be found easily also in offices and public spaces: for example the Maui chair designed by Vico Magistretti is widely used in lecture rooms, because its light shape allows to be stack effortlessly. Kartell still keeps on pushing the technologic boundaries of contemporary furniture design: the experiments on plastics are still going on, and constantly produce successful designs that are fun, functional and, even more important, accessible to everyone. In almost seventy years of history and eight Compasso d’Oro prizes, it’s been able to redefine the use of plastics, turning from an unpleasant product linked to heavy industry, into a fascinating material with modern aesthetic. this page, top to bottom: 5. La Marie chair by Philippe Starck, 1999. Source: 6. Bookworm library by Ron Arad, 1994. Source: 7. Bourgie lamp by Ferruccio Laviani, 2004. Source:



gaetano pesce: the design is female

by Isabella Polettini Transcendent artist, sculptor, designer and architect, Gaetano Pesce has always put the design concept in the first place in his works, during an outstanding career lasting from more than fifty years. His daring experiments with shapes and materials produced singular pieces – often politically committed: from feminist chairs to early versions of architectural facades covered with greenery. Gaetano Pesce is an artist known for his peculiar and unconventional sense of aesthetics, that was integral part of his art since the beginning of the sixties. He’s been one of the first designers to chip at the iceberg of Modernism in the sixties, with a new kind of functional art, which radicalized the aspect of objects so they did not look cold and standardized, as they just came out of the assembly line, but imperfect and so more human. His philosophy of creation is based on the mental and physical elasticity. With his works, he wants to initiate a state of mind, pulling off the trigger of a potentially unlimited process of interpretation. Constantly looking for new materials to realize his ideas, one of his favourites is liquid resin, which gives to the surfaces elasticity and softness, very suitable to the value of continuous change. Applying his knowledge in architecture and industrial design, he created a figurative art influenced by the cultural movements of the period, like Pop Art and Op Art, that had often to do with politics and social issues, also in Italy. With the aim of creating design products that had something to say - instead of just being beautiful from an aesthetic point of view and satisfy their functional purpose - Gaetano Pesce used irony and humour to express himself and to get the public’s attention on the problems of contemporary society. What stands out clearly is Pesce’s mastery in treating materials, at the same time organic and technologic, sometimes with the texture of a sticky chewing gum on a pavement in Manhattan, sometimes transparent and inflatable. If he had to give a name to the materials of our era, it would be something

this page, from top to bottom: 1. Organic Building, Osaka, 1993. Source: 2. America table, 2002. Source: 3. Moloch lamp, 1971. Source:


feminine: translucent, soft, warm, vivid, sensual – a thought perfectly expressed in his works. His creations made of resin, foam and urethane have a unique shape and a tactile beauty, often bright-coloured and full of details. Trained as an architect in Venice, in the suave Italian tradition of “bel disegno”, during the studies he carried on researches on the topic of kinetic and serial art. He worked in the fields of theatre and cinema, using means of expression such as light, movement and sounds. He moved to New York 34 years ago because the city “was the capital of XXth century”: since then, with an office in SoHo and a workshop in Brooklyn, he constantly fabricated anti-design declarations in rubbery Technicolor. A Noah’s Ark of eccentric figures, characters and objects, animals, humans and animistic, that secretly offers a social commentary. There is the America Table (2012), with a surface made of red white and blue resin like the USA flag, supported by legs-letters that spell the word “independence”; and there is the Moloch lamp (1971), an ingenious out of scale object that gives life to a strong scenic impact of decontextualization. But maybe the most famous and celebrated art pieces by Gaetano Pesce are the ones that take part of the UP Series, which he designed from 1969 to 1972 for B&B Italia. The designer had this idea of seven armchairs that today became the authentic symbol of the Italian industrial design, thanks to their important social message. The fifth piece of the series, the UP5 chair, takes its shape from a female fertility figurine of the prehistoric era, to which a round pouf (the UP6) is attached through an “umbilical cord”. The chair is a tribute to women, but it also represents a real political assumption, reporting women’s condition of submission, the lack of fundamental human rights for women in the sixties, and the harshness of life they were forced to deal with because of men’s prejudices. The natural elements and the water remind are so strong and present in his creative flow to have designed the series Six Tables on Water, that presents six big tables, Pond, Ocean, Lagoon, River, Lake and Puddle, realized in silicone, resin and foam, which mimic various intensities of water with the vivid colours of nature. this page, from top to bottom: 4. Up5 La Mamma armchair, 1969. Source: 5. Il Giullare sofa, 2012. Source: 6. Notturno a New York sofa, 1980. Source: 7. Fish vase series, 1995. Source:



viva la vida ! by Elia Zanandreis english translation by Francesco Coroni and Chiara Zanacchi

“Mexico and clouds, America’s sad face”, hummed Jannacci. Think of the face of a young girl stuck by spina bifida, constricted to admire with melancholy, Mexico’s clouds through a window, lying on her bed without being able to move. Think also about the explosion of a life that a girl can have during the adolescence when she can finally stand up and start to live. Despite she has a leg shorter than the other one, the girl wants to recover lost time, she is lively, sporty and clever. She wants to become a doctor. Imagine a return by bus, one of those that everyone has done coming back from school, tired and hungry, maybe sitting down near our first real little love story and being hugged. She was packed, between the arms of a tram and a wall, so strong to break the spinal column in three different points, to crack her femur, to dislocate a shoulder, to squash a foot, to shatter the other leg in eleven parts and lastly being pierced by an iron rod, passing through her side reaching delicate points, seriously compromising the possibility of a future maternal delight. What would you do? Frida Kahlo paints and she will use her soul as a model. Frida was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, near Mexico City, and her parents were a penniless german photographer with Hungarian origins and a high-ranked Mexican woman with Aztec forebears. She is the weaker, and probably for that the favorite among six sisters. Her approach to painting happens after the accident when to provide for her nightmare of the immobility condition that already tormented her during the childhood and after the discovering of her passion for drawing, she is given a mirror to place it on the majestic canopy bed, so starting to crank out series of self-portrait.

Frida’s style is simple and modern, but the main feature is the subject, herself. Indeed she paints the female figure as seen by a woman, so “as she really is” and not “as she should be”, that is observed by man’s eyes, that search the ideal beauty while he paints her. This attracted a big man that really understood both paintings and woman. He was a guy that she met during her political scholastic meetings. Diego Rivera was a forty years old, 150 kilos man, very famous in Mexico, not only for his “murals”. Rivera saw Frida and her paintings and he fell in love with both of them. They married, despite Diego’s fame of womanizer, and the story with the young paintress goes on till a miscarriage, caused by the consequences of the serious accident. Both of them had lots of lovers, in the ranks of Frida we can count the Soviet exile Lev Trockij, Andrè Breton (one of the inventors of surrealism), the photographer Nicholas Murray, the photographer Tina Modotti and the singers Rosa Rolando, Jaqueline Lamba e Chavela Vargas. They will break up after that Diego betrays Frida with her sister Cristina. They will rejoin later. This is the period more artistically productive for Frida, that regards two main themes: the love for Diego Rivera and the martyrdom of her body, always accompanied by her fairs Mexican origins. The works are particularly moving and ranked, by some critics, as part of the Surrealistic movement, a definition always refuse by Frida, because she used to say: “Surrealist paints dream, I paint the reality”. She paints the reality: the reality of abortion, of the broken chest, imagined an ionic column that substitutes her spinal column in a self-portrait: she seems to be pierced


by countless spikes, similar to a sort of atheistic Saint Sebastian in a believer’s land as Mexico. Frida uses the typical language of her state to tell about her physical and moral pain, such as when she appear in a double portrait with both European and Mexican dresses, joined by bloody veins that she is going to cut, that are born with a small portrait of Diego Rivera, who appear in another portrait printed on the unlucky paintress’ forehead. Paintings like books tell stories, sometimes they sing songs, with painted text and music staff, all different one from each other, different stories with a constant: the drama, the soul’s strongness, and Mexico. Every painting, but not the last one. Some happy watermelons with an ironic, but sincere meaning: “Viva la Vida”, accompanied by a short text that I let you know. After eight days Frida dies. She was 47 years old, with an infernal life and the big regret to not having any child, but with a great joy to have lived, with the strong will to not come back anymore. A life is more than enough, especially if it is like Frida Kahlo’s one. on the right, from the top: 1. “Frida on the Bench”, Nicholas Murray, 1939, Photography, New York. Source: www.bayaiyi. com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/frida-onbench.jpg 2. “The Two Frida”, 1939, Oil on Canvas, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City. Source: uploads/2014/05/Le-due-Frida.jpg 3. “Diego in My Thought” or “Portrait Like a Tehuana”, 1943, Dolores Olmedo Foundation, Mexico City. Source: wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Frida-KahloRitratto-come-una-Tehuana-o-Diego-nel-miopensiero.jpg 4. “Broken Column”, 1944, Oil on Canvas, Dolores Olmedo Foundation, Mexico City. Source: 5. “Viva la vida”, 1954, Oil on Canvas, Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul), Coyoacan. Source: www. Frida-Kahlo-Viva-la-vida-1954.jpg



edward hopper, a film director without film by Elia Zanandreis english translation by Francesco Coroni and Chiara Zanacchi

“If I could express it with words, it wouldn’t be any reason to paint it”. So Hopper spoke. Who is he? Many of you will ask it, but we know him unknowingly. Edward Hopper is the little American bourgeoisie of the late nineteenth century. He was born in a wealthy family of textile material traders, and immediately showed his talent in painting. Nyack, the small town where he was born in 1882, does not offer any artistic outlet, so he decides to move to nearby New York to attend the Academy of Art. We are in the early 1900s, and young Edward, like so many aspiring artists of the time, is fascinated by the distant Europe, so as soon as possible he can take a trip that will take him to the old continent to discover the wondering artistic environment. He will turn three times in Paris, but instead of attending the avant-garde movement (Picasso’s first works were screeching) and the academies, Hopper stops in the bistros, turns around the streets admiring the old and now decadent Impressionists with their wise use of the light, which he will succeed in stealing and applying to his future works. The first paintings, or better those of the European period, are exactly those of the perfect impressionist, with typical subjects such as cathedrals (ask Monet), but there is already a reference to something different, unexpected and unusual, that will manifest completely later. From Paris, young Hopper brings home an old piece of art in Europe but equally new in America, made up of ballet dancers, clowns, special studies on the shadows and the composition of the scene, all taken by Degas. This “something” will manifest drastically when he returned

to the States, where industrial progress and modernity begin to alter the normal approach between people, making them more and more alone, thoughtful and closed in themselves. By applying the same European method, or better by sauntering here and there in the streets, it manages to grasp the character and human anxiety to photograph them on the canvas. “To photograph” is the exact term because Edward uses unusual glimpses and “corners of shooting” for a painter of the age, with scenes from above, hidden points of view, and broad perspective views. Probably if Hopper was born 50 years later, he would become a successful photographer, or maybe a great film director. His works have a cinematic character, (“Night Shadows”, 1921, could be a “Philadelphia” or “Unknowable” frame) scenes are depicted on the canvas in a realistic way but with only a few details, also thanks to his illustrator’s youthful experience, with ample gloomy views. Characters, if they exist, are so small that they can be overlooked by the scene around them, they are often embedded in their thoughts or immersed in reading, or looking outside the picture, the visual field of viewer, with whom they never have A direct contact, and tell stories that we can only guess. Hopper’s paintings are small films. So we see the classical scene of the secretary and chief of staff (“Office at night”, 1940), or someone (who looks at the work) spying on a lady in her room (“New York Interior”, 1921), or the great American plains that observers cross ideally with a cabriolet (“South Carolina morning”, 1955), or we are witnesses outside of a cafeteria of a hypothetical


Clark Gable-style approach that seduces the duty Ava Gardner (“Nighthawks”, 1942). And so many “modernities”, if we go looking into our memory, reminds us of Hopper. If you look at the famous scene of “Once Upon a Time in America”, the one with the bridge in the background, after watching a Hopper urban view, some light bulbs will light up in your mind. Or “The Window on the Courtyard” (1954) by Hitchcock and “Night windows” (1928), or still Psycho’s House (1960) and “The House Near the Railway” (1925). Now we do the same game with other American artists after Hopper. Take “Early Sunday Morning” (1930) or “Apartment Houses, East River” (1939), remove some details and then take any composition by Rothko. Then try with “Chop Suey” (1929), let pass an economic crisis, a war and an industrial boom and take the Warhol Campbell soups. Advertising. Still soup is about. Hopper knows us more than we know him, and he has so well represented American society at that time to become a reference point more or less unconscious of today’s overseas culture, and therefore partly our own. And we did not even know who it was! on the right, from the top: 1.“Edward Hopper in Truro, Mass.(USA)”, Arnold Newman, 1960, Photography. Source: w w w. i t . p h a i d o n . c o m / s t o r e / a r t / s i l e n t theater-9780714863092/ 2.“Night Shadows”, 1921, Engraving with dry pic, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Source: www.ritournelleblog. com/2013/02/19/edward-hopper-at-thegrand-palais-in-paris/ 3.“Night windows”, 1928, Oil on canavas, MOMA, New York. Source: www.thebluespark. 4.“Office at night”, 1940, Oil on canavas, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Source: w w. w h i t n e y. o r g / W a t c h A n d L i s t e n / Artists?context=&context_id=&play_id=863 5.“Nighthawks”, 1942, Oil on canavas, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Source: w w w. c o m m o n s . w i k i m e d i a . o r g / w i k i / File:Nighthawks_by_Edward_Hopper_1942. jpg?uselang=it



art is for everyone by Elia Zanandreis english translation by Francesco Coroni and Chiara Zanacchi

New York in 1980 is the centre of the world, and Keith Haring, a twenty-year-old student from Pittsburgh, arrives at it fast as a train. And it’s just the subway that starts its adventure. On the black-covered panels used to hide the old ads, plaster graffiti appears quickly, with a definite and precise gesture. The execution of these drawings had to be quick, a key feature not to be arrested, something that will often happen to the young artist. Haring is a penniless academician and for painting he will use whatever means he will find available. The first economic difficulties, the refusal of traditional graphics representation fees and the frequentation of the New York suburbs lead him to express himself through the graffiti, but not by disdaining other economic or “fortune” materials such as PVC tarpaulins (those used to coat Trucks) which will allow Haring to make large-scale works with minimal expense. The young Keith, thanks to his quick and versatile style, moves with agility between enormous dimensions and styles of comics, changing media and techniques, always maintaining the same trait and iconography. Street art affect marginalized social circles of metropolis, always looking for icons that represent them. Haring’s art was the perfect icon. We are in the 80s, we still had to land on TV the spot with the little men surrounded by a purple and disturbing aura that was transmitted to the contact. In New York’s “underground” environments, that aura had come in, and Haring’s lifestyle was not really a health walk. The abuse of alcohol, drugs and sex will heavily influence the artistic, social and human path.

Communicate. That’s what Haring does. On the other hand, his father was a cartoonist and he rocks his roots in a nearly hieroglyphic and narrative style. At first sight his works are chaotic, fun, but in reality often have a dramatic and highly symbolic meaning, evocative at times. Every recurring symbol is or has become thanks to him a ‘pop icon’, and has a definite meaning. It ranges from televisions, to angels, X that represent death, rabid or ever-moving dogs (“Barking Dogs”), snakes (“Malattia”, “AIDS”), radiant children (“Radiant baby”), who represent hope. Just to children, the artist had a special endearment and consideration, as they were not yet corrupted by the world, seeing salvation in them. The own feature of Haring and more generally of Pop Art is the repetition. Obsessive repetition. While in Wahrol was the work to repeat, Haring is often the repetition that generate the work, such as the obsessive brush strokes to form the full of his figures or the intricate intertwining of the protagonists of his work. From the combination of these symbols, there are real stories that we can read and interpret, like his medusa, with televisions instead of snakes, which spread death and petrify the opinions and intelligence of those who look at it. In addition to the medusa, there are many reinterpretations of great works of antiquity realized and revisited with their own language, from the “lupa capitolina” to “San Sebastiano”, the first “gay icon” in history, pierced by planes replacing the arrows, symbol of oppression of modern society towards everything that does not conform to its moral and intellectual conception.


It will also make its version of Bosch’s “garden of delights”, where sexuality, death and illness will be the protagonists of an obsessive and chaotic masterpiece where all the painter’s symbologies will be found. There are also comparisons with the great artists of the ‘900, from Mondrian, from which it takes both geometries and the use of primary colours, to Picasso, creating masks and figures with features inspired by the work of the Spanish master. “Art is For Everyone,” this was Haring’s slogan. He was convinced of it even when colleagues frowned at the opening of the “Pop Shop”, store that sold gadgets representing its now-famous icons at low prices. Art as liberation from social canons and prejudices, and as unity and brotherhood, as the frieze on the Berlin Wall recalls. Haring dies at 32 years old, due to complications of AIDS, and the evocative vision of the world out of his fantasy and drawn by his hands does not seem to be so far away from the present. on the right, from the top: 1. Haring at “Pop Shop”, Keith Haring Foundation Photo by Tseng Kwong Chi, Fotografia, New York Source:!/wp-content/ uploads/2015/03/pop_shop_three_s01.jpg 2. Untitled (John Lennon), 1981, Paint and acrylic on PVC tarpaulin, Collezione Neggy Diba, Salisburgh. Source: wp-content/uploads/2017/02/02-1.jpg 3. Saint Sebastian, 1984, Acrylic on muslin, Collezione Doriano Navarra. Source: uploads/2017/02/06.jpg 4. Untitled (Medusa), 1985, Paint and acrylic on PVC tarpaulin, Private collection. uploads/2017/02/21.jpg 5. Untitled (Tree of Life), 1985, Acrylic on canavas, Private collection. Source: wp-content/uploads/2017/02/04.jpg 6. Untitles (Garden of delights), 1986, Paint and acrylic on PVC tarpaulin, Private collection. Source: uploads/2017/02/08.jpg 7. Untitled n°6, 1988, Acrylic on canavas, private collection. Source: www.mostraharing. it/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/15.jpg



brand identity by Silvia Marmiroli english translation by Mark Abberley and Veronica Rigonat

Nike Google CocaCola Facebook Ferrari Sony Rolex YouTube Calvin Klein… What are they? Logos, brands, logotypes or pictograms? Their meanings are often confused or changed which is therefore why, in order to clarify them, it is better to start by focussing on the meaning of brand. The brand is focussed exclusively on graphic representation whose aim is to identify a company, a product, a service or an association but above all, it has a role to play in conveying the identity of the company, providing information about the quality of the company’s products and services and also in trying to communicate the company’s mission and its future objectives and intentions. The brand, therefore, embodies the symbol of the idea that the company wants to portray of itself to the market and in order to do this it needs a well-defined and recognisable image. It is this idea which will ultimately form the briand and it has four fundamental elements: the name, the logotype, the pictogram and colours. These four things are usually accompanied by a pay-off which is normally a phrase which summarises the affinity of the brand, defines the philosophy and synthesises the spirit. When we talk about the logo we usually refer to a determined symbol which is accompanied by the name of the product, for instance. Sometimes there is writing or just a symbol which remind us to a specific word. In reality, what is written on the logo is an abbreviation of the logotype. The logotype is the readable and pronounceable part of the brand and it is usually done in an ad hoc way. Each logotype has specific lettering which essentially means that is uses a font and well-defined and precise colours. As a result, this is the name of the brand whereas the lettering, the characteristics and the colours used make up the logotype. CocaCola, YouTube, Esso and Google are logotypes.

In addition to the logotype, brands can also comprise pictograms which are usually symbols and therefore the visual part of the brand. They can be diagrams which are concepts that have nothing to do with reality, or they can be iconographies which are signs that can be attributed to objects, aspects or real actions. The pictogram for WWF, Puma and Apple are very clearly iconographies whereas Nike, Adidas, Mercedes and Windows are examples of diagrams. There are also monograms which are usually a combination of no more than two or three letters which are usually the initials of the brand. When we think of monograms, companies such as Dolce and Gabbana (D & G) and Calvin Klein (ck) spring to mind. There are cases in which ideograms are accompanied by logotypes and also cases in which only one of the two things are present, but in general, the big corporations have more variants which bring together or separate the two elements: in this way, there are more versions of the same brand. For convenience, therefore when we talk about logos we refer to what it is that actually identifies the brand, so either a combination of logotypes and ideograms or just one of the two. Whoever designs a logo, also defines its general image and also the rules of its use which means that they decide that an ideogram must either only be used on its own without a logotype or they decide on a determined colour, these are all decisions which must be respected seeing as all of the characteristics of the brand are linked to the company’s image and therefore they must not be changed. If we were at the supermarket in front of a bottle of CocaCola and next to it there was a drink which was the same colour, with the same red coloured label and only the brand name CocaCola was different, this time written in yellow: what would we do? By selling a different colour of the brand that we are all so familiar with would cause


us to be sceptical about the authenticity of the product and as a result of this we would begin to doubt the credibility of the company itself. In order to prevent this kind of thing from happening which would seriously damage the credibility of a product or of the company and also to show transparency, seriousness and commitment to the company’s mission, it is becoming more and more common to find brochures of corporate identity on the websites of some of these companies and associations. This is a real manual which outlines the guidelines for the use of everything which makes up the company’s image which has to be unique and it also must cover every aspect in a consistent way. The manual always has a part which is dedicated to the way in which the company is presented, it explains in words the objectives using key words which describe the way in which they operate or the actions which they intent to undertake. Subsequently, the brochure presents the logo and it describes all of the characteristics with geometric designs with the fonts that have been used and also the sampling of the colours that have been used. In the case of the logo being used by company partners, all of the rules of representation which are required to be followed such as maintaining the sizes and proportions when blowing up or downsizing the logo, also where the logo is positioned if it is going to be used on paper or how to use the logo on promotional objects such as t-shirts or pens have to be stringently followed. What once was considered a “restricted information”, dedicated only to graphic lovers and curious, today are free info and these are testifying a transparent working style of a company or an association. Therefore, today you can know Adobe is using for titles and short sentences “Adobe Clean” as font, while “Minion Pro” for long texts and that #4285F4 #34A853 #FBBC05 #EA4335 correspond to the new Google blue-green-yellow-red.

on the right, from the top: 1. "Coca Cola" logo. 2. "Dolce & Gabbana" logo. 3. "Facebook" logo. 4. "Chanel" logo. 5. "Google" logo. 6. "WWF" logo. 7. "Adobe" logo. 8. "Sony" logo.



which pantone are you? by Silvia Marmiroli english translation by Francesco Coroni and Chiara Zanacchi Pantone’s story starts in the 50’s in New York, where a graduate at Hofstra University, Lawrence Herbert, was hired as a part-time employed at “M & J Levine Advertising”, a commercial printing company. Herbert, tired of ongoing quarrelling with customers about misunderstandings about the colours of the products, and thanks to his chemical knowledge, he decided to systematize and simplify the pigment and inks production warehouse realizing a book where they were all present and nominated. The first book produced as guide for colouring was made in Amsterdam in 1962, at that time the capital of European publishing. The book, named “Traité des couleurs servant à la pentire è l’eau”, remains a unique gender document because, apart form identifying colors, it describes how to obtain them ad shows possible results. This book was buried in the Aix-en-Provence Library and now is fully available at this link: In 1962 Herbert bought the company from Levine brothers and renamed it “Pantone”. He decided, moreover, to make the book more manageable. The new Pantone Guides were thus made on thin cardboard sheets of about 15x5 cm, which were color samples. The basic idea behind the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is to allow designers to choose specific colors knowing in advantage the final output stage. This feature is crucial when you want to get a certain color that is absolutely the one you choose and that it does not have color variations depending on the printer you are using, for example. Pantone colors differ from other color identifications systems for this peculiarity. Most printed colors are produced using

the CMYK process which is a standardized printing method that uses the four cyanmagenta-yellow-black inks. The Pantone System, in the other hand, is based on the use of 13 base pigments (14 counting black) mixed with each other and creating new colors called “Spot Colors”. The Pantone system also produces special colors, such as metallic and fluorescent ones. Each color is named with a code that identifies the features. Thanks to the uniqueness of each Pantone color, these colors are often used in branding, as in the case of “Tiffany Blue” color, and in the legislative government to identify national flags. In 2003 the Scottish Parliament discussed a petition to define the light blue of its flag, acting in favour of the Pantone 300. In order to maintain a dialogue always open with other color identification methods, Pantone also produced the colors that are reproducible in CMYK, but only in 2001 the company converted its colors in RGB system, based on three red-green-blue, which is the most commonly used method when talking about monitor colors. The singularity of the system has transformed the Pantone brand from a tool used purely by graphics, in a brand that denotes style in all fields. It is for this reason that since December 2000 a “color for the coming year” is proclaimed in December, which will stay for 365 days the trend that will affect the different areas of design. The Pantone Color Institute actively monitors embryonic trends from mode to street art, from music to socio-economic and cultural aspect. These trends are channeled and followed to reach the proclamation of the New Year’s color. In 2000 the “Cerulean Blue 15-4020”, the color of the sky and


the sea, was proclaimed “Color of the Millennium”. After the sense of peace and tranquility of the Cerulean, more passionate colors are followed, such as the “True Red 19-1664” (2002): a strong and deep red with strong patriotic appeal, also chosen as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2009 the color that was proclaimed was “Mimosa 14-0848”, an expression of optimism and hope, fundamental in a time of economic crisis and political change (Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America, began his term on January 20 2009). The Emerald Year was 2013with the “Emerald Green 17-5641” which, with his sense of regeneration, it represents the sense of healing, meaning derived form many cultures over the past centuries. In 2016 comes the great novelty of the choice of two representative colors of the year: “Pink Quartz 13-1520” and “ Serenity 153919”. This is the year of the composure of sweet and persuasive rose joining the relaxing power of light-blue. Pencils, tricks, chairs, clocks, Christmas decorations, cell phone covers, notebooks, hotel. Pantone is not just a color-bound brand, but has become a real lifestyle.

on the right, from the top: 1.Page of the book “Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau”. Source: notices/102464/book/ 2.Get Pantone. Source: formula-guide 3. Color Pantone from 2000 to 2016. 4. Pantone pennarelli. Source: asp?cod=1100&nome=Letraset%20Tria 5. Pantone glass ball. Source: www.lovethesign. com/advanced-search#q=pantone&page=1 6.Water for Pantone orchids. Source: 7.Hotel Pantone, Brussels. Source: www. archive.html



Which Type Are You? Part I

by Elena Ogliani and Chiara Zanacchi english translation by Sanya Kovacheva and Veronica Rigonat The typography is a set of printing activity and technique altogether. It should not be considered as a science tied to fixed rules and axioms, but rather as an art form. Nowadays everyone inevitably is dealing with typographical characters. The modern graphics dates to 15th century, in 1456, when Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. It consisted of aligning individual metal characters to form a page, applying ink on top, and then press them onto a sheet of paper. The revolution, however, came in the last century thanks to the advent of computer graphics. With the diffusion of innovations, the typography, in fact, comes in the spotlight not only for prints and editorials, but also for digital media. The invention of Macintosh in 1984 allowed visualizing and controlling of the print results directly on the screen, and fonts became in common usage for anyone using a computer. The word font in Italian means “type of character”, although in fact the character is the single letter, number or punctuation mark, while the font is the totality of the alphabet characters, structured in a consistent way. It features a common style and a compositional coherence. Each font has different characteristics, different dimensions, different shapes and expresses different moods. You can therefore categorize fonts in various families. The two main categories developed over the centuries are serif and sans serif, French terms standing for “stroked” and “without strokes”, and called respectively graziati and bastoni in Italian. Serif is characterized by elongations, usually

orthogonal, at the ends of a character with the purpose to make it more elegant. It is a form of revival of the Lapidary Roman type of characters used during the Latin era, where the strokes were functioning as an easier way of engraving on the stone. Numerous subcategories of typefaces have developed as serif. The first is Oldstyle, which later divided into Venetian or Humanist style (such as Centaur) and the Garalde or the ancient Roman (such as Garamond). A slight contrast between their vertical and horizontal orientation is present, thanks to the concave shape and oblique axis in letters like the o, the c and the e. The transitional is the second, of which the main was Baskerville (1757) and later the more popular fonts such as Times New Roman and Georgia have evolved. A bigger contrast can be noticed between vertical and horizontal axis, and a stronger vertical alignment in the counters of the letters, which make the serifs more flattened. The third group is Didone, also known as modern, from which Bodoni and the French Didot have emerged. It is characterized by a marked passage between vertical and horizontal axis, and narrow and hairline serifs, forming right angles between both axis. Finally, there is the Slab serif, or also known as Egyptian, having a small difference in thickness between the axis, also marked and perpendicular serifs. Some examples are Rockwell and Courier. Sans serif, however, was created in England during the 19th century with the elimination of serifs in the characters. The aim was to remove any unnecessary frills and make them much simpler and clearer, focusing


only on the geometry of shapes. Among these is Futura designed by Paul Renner (1928). In addition to serif, sans serif and their subcategories, there are several other family of characters. Among them, we must mention the Script typeface, which are the fonts that simulate handwritten calligraphy, and Gothic typeface, referring to the medieval German Gothic alphabet, also Gutenberg began to print using the same. Many other fonts are generally grouped in the Fantasy category, which compiles all the fonts that feature characters that recall objects, such as the font used for the books and films of Harry Potter where letters remind you of thunderbolts. Serif and sans serif stand out primarily for the aim they are used: the first are used more often for printing, especially for long texts (books, newspapers, magazines), while the second are perfect for use on computer screens, and therefore for Web. This is because serifs make the characters more distinguishable by our brain. On the contrary, the details of the serifs, which make it easy to read text on paper, are lost on the screen due to the lower resolution. It is good to remember that typography is an art indeed, so every character choice is subjective. However, you should keep in mind that the best font choice you have is when the reader doesn’t notice the font, but what’s written.

1. Letterpress print. Source: www.tipografos. net/tecnologias/fundicao-tipos.html 2. Examples of different fonts in modern magazines. Source: 2008/05/30/a-brief-history-of-type-part-4/ 3. Serif and sans serif. Source: www.grafigata. com/2014/11/cose-font-tipografia-spiegatabene/ 4. Differences between styles. Source: 5. Source: 26/who-shot-the-serif-typography-terms/ 6. Hierarchies. Source: 2008/02/28/a-guide-to-web-typography/


Fashion style

karl lagerfeld

the dreamer prince of fashion by Isabella Polettini

The British Fashion Awards 2016 were held in London last 5th December, it’s an event that all fashion insiders consider the real Oscars of the fashion world. Between the protagonists, the 83-years-old Karl Lagerfeld, awarded with the Outstanding Achievement Award. It’s one long career journey the one of the German stylist, photographer and filmmaker, that’s worth the glamorous figurine, assigned over the years to Anna Wintour, to the founders of  i-D Magazine  Terry e Tricia Jones and to Manolo Blahnik. Therefore, with this prize his important contribution to the international fashion industry is recognized, but let’s try to understand better his eccentric personality. The stories linked to fashion are always stories of craving, because nobody is born stylish. Since 1954, when he won an award sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat (between the judges there were Pierre Balmain and Hubert de Givenchy), Lagerfeld has been the director of his own choices. He never attended a fashion design school, even if he worked for Jean Patou’s tailoring. But he didn’t build his name in the dressmaking field, but rather as an inimitable stylist, the king of pret-a-porter, much earlier than becoming the backbone of the most important fashion maisons. He nurtured his culture, and he built his own prestige, turning into a durable celebrity of the glamorous Paris when he worked for Chloé. He acted as a lighting rod for the sensibility of seventies, permeating his design with a spark of essentiality combined with a pop-up style accessibility. As a magpie looking to steal culture, Lagerfeld grew up in success, and still remains on the top, as an independent and selfdetermined personality that exists beyond the brands he represents. When he was 49 years old, he became Chanel creative director. It looked like he was perfect for this position, and many of the art directors came after him – Tom Ford, Riccardo Tisci – had a lot to learn from him on how to give back life to a ageless brand. His empire kept on growing, and the secret for this, according to him, is to work always


harder than anyone else, looking for novelty but at the same time renovating traditions, in a constant philosophy of improving. “Fashion is the attempt to make certain invisible aspects of reality visible, even if only for a moment”. As a photographer, he often takes personally the pictures for the advertising campaigns of the fashion brands he’s representing, among which Chanel and Fendi, besides capturing photos of several stars and models. Another of his great passions is architecture: being very close to Zaha Hadid, he commissioned to her the Mobile Art Pavilion for Chanel, while he entrusted to Tadao Ando the project of his studio-house in  Biarritz, in  France. Lagerfeld even wrote a book about the Japanese architect, titled Tadao Ando - Vitra house. After 60 years of achievements, he appears to be more like a great director rather than a stylist. He never tried to possess a studio. His purpose has always been to fill his work with flawless sense and good shape, and it’s what he’s still doing. He has the director’s eye for details, history and style, which makes him stand out of the crowd, at the age of 83 years old, as everything a brilliant stylist should be. His life and work rewrote the language of fashion: he is the last of the dreamers, that we celebrate not only for the past decades, but also for the years to come. In Karl’s hands the future of fashion is going to be outstanding. In short, long life to the Kaiser of fashion! other page, top to bottom: 1. Karl Lagerfeld’s self-portrait picture, 2013. Source: karl-lagerfeld-interview-i-dont-take-myselfvery-seriously 2. Lagerfeld in a rare picture of his experience at Jean Patou, 1959. Source: karl-lagerfeld-in-jean-patou-1959/ this page, top to bottom: 3. One of Lagerfeld’s creations for Chloé, 1979. Source: www.makeminevogue.wordpress. com/2014/01/25/karl-lagerfeld-pour-chloe/ 4. Lagerfeld with his typical sunglasses, while he fixes one of his garments on the top model Inès de la Fressange at Chloé maison. Nobody has ever seen his eyes again since then. Paris, 11th April 1983. Source: - 94c8723f-d00a4e35-83f4-ee54dce87d02 5. Chanel advertising campaign for which Lagerfeld was photographer and filmmaker, S/S 2012. Source: chanel-boy-handbags-ss-2012-alice.html


Fashion style


advertising: between

marketing and provocation by Isabella Polettini Outrageous, sharp, on everybody’s lips. Where have the advertising campaigns of some years ago gone?
The scandalous days of Calvin Klein’s young and sexy six-packs, of Saint Laurent’s full nudity, of Benetton’s clerical kisses are far. They haven’t disappeared because of controversy; instead, it was the controversy itself to push these and many other brands in the spotlight, for better or worse. We assisted to a change in terms of image, from shocking and sexually suggestive, to socially conscious and motivating towards a certain lifestyle: the industry of fashion entered a new state of dullness.
We could blame the media, that by placing so much emphasis on a globally convincing social campaign, in reality contributes to mitigate and standardise everyone’s reactions, regardless of one’s own cultural background. Nowadays it’s too easy for everyone to create their own controversial message: no matter what you do, there will be always someone doing better than you on Facebook or YouTube.
 It’s sure that there is no shortage of good photographers, but the companies, careful to their image, try so hard to control the way they are perceived, that advertising simply became too cautious. And cautious means boring. The grandfather of controversial publicity, Benetton, certainly didn’t have a great future after its shocking advertising. The company took a hard blow for the graphic images used, resulted in public anger and consumers’ complaint. But in


the meanwhile, it succeeded in increasing the public awareness on significant issues, such as HIV and racial hatred. The man behind these pictures, the photographer Oliviero Toscani, who is still remembered mostly for Benetton campaigns between 1982 and 2000, can turn provocation into a positive force. In fact, according to him, disturbing images encourage people to think about what happens in the world and to be creative, while today advertising is carefully planned inside marketing offices without any cultural understanding of the world. After Toscani, Benetton kept on using sharp pictures in its campaigns, as for Unhate in 2011, which showed political and spiritual leaders passionately French-kissing their opponents. These images caused a report to the company by the Vatican, but also lead to a visibility never achieved before, spreading on the web and coming to touch 500 billions of people.
Even Diesel, famous for its unconventional advertising campaigns, is still pushing creativity to the extreme. The first pictures that Nicola Formichetti, creative director of the brand, developed for Diesel are the portrait of a young woman who wears a denim burqa, and another wearing a Pope dress and hat and tattoos. Photographs draw a lot of attention, and represent a much more effective way to attract customers by eliciting curiosity, rather than simple shoots to present the products. Who follows a certain brand, in fact, does it not only to buy garments that fit well, but also to feel part of the same energy and philosophy, obtained with a clear and consistent image that stays true to itself in the time.
Maybe we are in a moment of confusion and desensitization: we think we saw everything there is to see thanks to the internet: there is nothing truly shocking anymore. With magazines, on the other hand, everyone can keep their printed-paper in their own hands, you don’t forget it, and it is powerful. Today we’re looking at screens, and in a split second, everything is gone.

other page, top to bottom: 1. Kiss between Barack Obama and the Chinese leader Hu Jintao. Benetton advertising campaign by Oliviero Toscani, 2011. Source: benettons-controversial-unhate-campaign.html 2. Mark Wahlberg, Calvin Klein advertising campaign by Neil Kraft, 1992. Source: calvin-klein-underwearphotos-are-1427490785.html 3. A father cares for his son affected by HIV on the deathbed. Benetton advertising campaign by Therese Frere, 1989. Source: father-son-deathbed-david-kirby-1989/ this page, top to bottom: 4. Ikea advertising campaign, 2016. Source: www. 5. Diesel Initiation Campaign by Nicola Formichetti, 2013. Source: topless?utm_ term=.irO4479mp - .kpg88pXNm 6. Business Casual but Pleasure, American Apparel advertising campaign by Dov Charney, 2014, Paris. Source: gender/


Fashion style

coco chanel:

a feminist fashionista by Isabella Polettini

“Before going out look at yourself in the mirror and take something off ” No, it’s not Mies Van Der Rohe with a fashion variation of his Less is more, rather another of the unquestionable protagonists of the modern history.
It’s not possible to deny that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel has been the overall most famous fashion designer in history – her reputation goes far beyond the one of her rivals. Her biggest strength was the ability to understand changes over the time, and the trends that were mutating, and usually she was able to do that before anyone else. Her story became a legend, the mythology of fashion, also for those unfamiliar with the subject. Born in Saumur in 1883, she grew up in an orphanage managed by nuns, which turned her into a rebel towards every kind of discipline and establishment, and taught her to fight to get what she wanted. As soon as she could, she began to work as a seamstress and to sing in bars, where she was given the nickname Coco for one of her songs. Her career started in 1906, when, thanks to her first lover, an entrepreneur in the field of textile and a horses enthusiast, she could get in contact with her first customers. She manufactured hats to wear at the hippodrome, according to the fashion of the time. Extremely simple models made of straw, in a historical moment when only sumptuous feathers-covered hats were fashionable, Coco’s creations caused a stir in the Parisian élite. Soon after, she opened her first store in the French capital, but Coco was not happy with the fashion of this page, top to bottom: 1. Coco Chanel. Source: 2. Little black dress, American Vogue, 1926. Source: 3. Chanel Little Black Dress. Source: 4. Chanel No.5. Source:


the period, too heavy and elaborated: she started an insidious private war to make women feel modern and comfortable in their clothing as much as men felt. Along with her second shop opened in Deauville in 1913, she began to sell clothing for active women and for open-air activities, outrageously pure in their style and almost deprived of ornamentation. It was the exact moment: during war there was no room for extravagancies, and the deprivations made women responsive to a simple style more than ever. At the end of the conflict, all families had experienced the loss of a husband or a son, and the streets of Paris and London were full of women dressed in mourningblack. She sensed the state of mind of the youngest women, who, watching their mothers losing everything, felt the impulse to never fall in love in order to never experience a pain so intense. The idea of femininity was changing towards a garçonne style, chic and independent, and Coco understood it in advance. It was in the twenties that she invented the little black dress, meant to become one all-time fashion icon: with it she officially declared the equality of women with the masculine gender. At that point, she was recognized as one of the leaders of the fashion world, not only in Paris, but all over the world. Her style and palette were modern at the time as much as they still are nowadays: chic and sporty during the day, elegant and romantic but with authoritarian lines during the night. After second world war she was exiled in Switzerland for her relationship with a German officer during the war, but this didn’t stop her, and she came back on the market stronger than before with the fragrance Chanel No.5, which turned to be the myth that we all know.
She designed her last collection in 1954, when she was 71 years old, presenting the historic tailleur Chanel, young and sexy but soft and elegant, that would wear both teenagers and their grandmothers. this page, top to bottom: 5. Tailleur Chanel worn by Romy Schneider, actress. Source: 6. Modern Chanel petite robe noir, FW 2016. Source: 7. Tailleur bouclé Chanel, FW 2016. Source: 8. Chanel bag 2.55. Source:


VERSIONE GOLD 2 2017 The materials in the articles are used under responsibility of the authors. in this number: original texts (in order of appearance) by: Lorenzo Fravezzi Tomas Maria Lopez Matteo Pasini Andrea Zuberti Oreste Sanese Massimiliano Sisti Marco Mangiamele Kristal Virgilio Federica Morgillo Veronica Rigonat Stefano Sarzi Amadè Carolina Donati Sebastiano Marconcini Alberto Milani Marco Morandi Alessandro Leoni Carola Fagnani Silvia Marmiroli Giovanna Fabris Marco Mangiamele Marta Mengalli Isabella Polettini Elena Ogliani Sara Stermieri Chiara Zanacchi Elia Zanandreis English translations by: Aurora Biondaro Riccardo Bravi Francesco Coroni Giovanna Fabris Giorgia Giuzio Mateja Lazarević Alessandro Leoni Marco Lodi Rizzini Lorenzo Lodigiani Cristina Lonardi Tomas Maria Lopez Sebastiano Marconcini Olenka Palomino Isabella Polettini Veronica Rigonat Cesare Varesco Chiara Zanacchi Supervision to the original italian texts: Carolina Donati Sebastiano Marconcini Federica Morgillo Niccolò Tasselli Comics: Alice Botturi Main coordinator: Stefano Sarzi Amadè Assistant coordinators: Carolina Donati Sebastiano Marconcini Alice Tomasoni Graphic design project: Stefano Sarzi Amadè

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Versione Gold 2 2017 is a selection of articles from: Versione 7....................................................................................................................dicembre 2015 Versione 8.........................................................................................................................marzo 2016 Versione 9........................................................................................................................giugno 2016 Versione 10.....................................................................................................................ottobre 2016 Versione 11...................................................................................................................febbraio 2017 Versione 12.....................................................................................................................maggio 2017 now available online at the official Starc’s website:

versione [ver-sió-ne] s.f. definition_eng version: 1 A translation of a text from another language, especially used as school exercise: a v. from Latin to Italian; a true v. 2 A written work of art or literature that has been recast in a new form or style SYN adaptation: v. in prose of a poem; film v. of a famous novel 3 A particular form or variant of a masterpiece: first v. of “The Frenzy of Orlando” 4 A particular form or variation of an earlier or original product: diesel v. 5 A description or account from one point of view, especially opposed to another: give me you v. of the accident 6 n.c. Act of turning, change • Cent. XVIII

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Starc Mantova "Versione" Gold 2 - 2017  

Free university journal created by the association Starc Mantova (Architecture students of Politecnico di Milano, Mantua campus)

Starc Mantova "Versione" Gold 2 - 2017  

Free university journal created by the association Starc Mantova (Architecture students of Politecnico di Milano, Mantua campus)