A great idea when the temperatures in the summer hit the highest peaks in the last 150 years, just as it happened in Italy in summer 2013, would be to make a list of exhibitions and museums to go to, in order not to waist our days locked in or panting by a very warm and packed public pool. First things first: make sure that these museums and galleries you are going to are well provided with air conditioning. Once done, just get in the car (which should have air conditioning as well, just saying…) and choose your first destination. Living in Italy it’s quite simple to do that as cities are quite close and, especially in the North of the country, most of them, not even the bigger ones, offer a good variety of galleries, exhibitions, openings and work shops. During summer 2013, every week end I tried to put down a new place of interest where to go and with some friends we ended up visiting many of these museums and galleries and permanent exhibitions as well which we had been talking about for ages but never had an actual chance to go.
One of these and with no doubt one of my favorite ones was a design exhibition in the Bisazza Foundation of Montecchio Maggiore, a very small village close to my home town, Vicenza, which has this incredibly famous and important general quarter for everything that means design and architecture Italian style, but not only. The exhibition was inside of the Foundation and in order to get there you had to pass by the permanent one that is actually the part I enjoyed the most. It was great for me, thinking about the design classes back in college and the process which seats under the creation of something which is at the same time unique, beautiful and useful, to see how many amazing Italian designers we have and we had in the past. The permanent exhibition in the foundation features designers/artist such as Fabio Novembre, Ettore Sotsass, Sandro Chia, Studio Job.
The absolute protagonists of it are the mosaics: almost every single one of the objects and design pieces exposed there are made out of mosaic tassells. Some of them very precious, as the white gold ones used by Studio Job, some other ones very colorful such as the ones used by designer Alessandro Mendini for his huge chair, some others combined in order to create very powerful designs and shapes, such as the ones made by Tord Boontje in his furniture. But not only the pieces exposed where an explosion of reflective and colourful mosaic tassells: the entire Bisazza Foundation is covered in them: from the walls to the toilets, it’s like it has been raining tassells for a while inside of this building and now they have all found their place somewhere and they are not gonna move as they look so perfectly put down. It was really interesting and as I love simple linear things (or maybe not…) all these tassells of different shapes and shades made me wish to have my own house full of mosaics one day. I must confess, this artistic technique has always been fascinating me since the times we used to hang out in Ravenna doing school trips to study the Byzantine culture and how did it influence Italian art in the Middle Ages. But seeing this incredibly fascinating technique being used in a much more modern way and not only to reproduce a scene or a particular subject but also to “cover” something else in order to make it unique and different really surprised me in such a positive way. Some other artists/designer featured in the main permanent exhibition are Marcel Wanders and his crazy gold “Furniture for men” (“Mobili per uomini”), and the Israelian Arik Levy and his mosaic sculpture which is the result of his research about the matter of spaces and non-spaces.
I absolutely loved the permanent exhibition but the very first reason who first brought us to the Bisazza Foundation was another one: the small but very interesting part that the Foundation has reserved to architect and designer Richard Meier since last October. From the plastics of his first buildings and houses, to the Church he has made in the occasion of the last Giubilee, to museums and libraries and concert halls he has designed and which are to be put all over the world, to his and his team’s contribute to the concourse thrown by the major of NYC after 9/11 in order to decide what to build in the ginormous hole of Ground Zero, the panorama about this very talented architect and his own very personal style was pretty satisfying. Sadly, there were eagles everywhere and that’s why I couldn’t snap some of the plastics or photographs exposed. But instead that a picture, this time I would like to leave you with some words that Meier himself has said once:
“When I’m asked what I believe in, I say I believe in architecture. Architecture is the mother of the arts. I like to believe that architecture connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible”.