Running at the same time as the Venice Biennale of Architecture, an exhibition at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia celebrates the 10-year collaboration between Alcantara and the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts. Four contemporary designers interpret the museum’s collections by using Alcantara® as their principal language of interpretation.
The research on contemporary design topics, which has characterized the partnership between the company and the museum since 2011, is being presented in Venice as a recount of the Studio Visit project which, curated by Domitilla Dardi (MAXXI Design Curator).
For each edition of “Studio Visit” the authors (Nanda Vigo, Formafantasma, Konstantin Grcic and Neri&Hu, who will be presenting the results of their collaboration at MAXXI this coming Autumn) have been invited to dialogue with the work of one or more Masters of the MAXXI’s permanent architecture collection, and to render their own personal vision of it. Each designer has dedicated time to researching the archives, perfectly free to choose any topic or work. The results of their considerations have been presented on various occasions in the museum halls, in a way that resembles an atelier, a “studio” open to the public and presented in the form of an installation.
NANDA VIGO, ARCH/ARCOLOGY
Nanda Vigo has chosen the stellar architecture of Paolo Soleri. For his Arch-Arcology, presented at the MAXXI in 2018, “Space IV”, the great scroll of the drawing for a stellar city imagined by Soleri in 1984, is the origin of a reinterpretation conferring an original three-dimensional extrusion to that vision which, when flooded with electric blue light, transforms the space into a total environment.
For Nervi in the making, inaugurated in 2019, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin (Formafantasma) have approached the archives of the undisputed master of design applied to reinforced concrete structures, Pier Luigi Nervi, and have re-read the structural lesson to fully understand his work on this material, only to discover some unprecedented and surprising analogies with another material that would seem to be quite different, but which, likewise, has been created to design the future: Alcantara®.
FORMAFANTASMA, NERVI IN THE MAKING
Konstantin Grcic with his project titled L’immaginazione al Potere (Power to Imagination) exhibited in 2020, has identified a connective thread, that of fantastical architecture, by directly associating it with the invention of Alcantara®. On one hand, the German designer has focused on three Italian Masters who were active in the post-war period – Sergio Musmeci, Giuseppe Perugini and Maurizio Sacripanti – and on the other hand, on the contemporary Lebanese architect – Bernard Khoury. Using Alcantara, the designer has created a fantastical landscape, on the borderline between reality and a surreal dimension, while reflecting on such topical themes as the dialogue between nature and artifice, between man and technology.
KONSTANTIN GRCIC, L'IMMAGINAZIONE AL POTERE
Neri&Hu studio with Transversing Thresholds has chosen to address one of the greatest authors whose work is comprised in the MAXXI archives, Carlo Scarpa, by building a cultural bridge between the western and eastern worlds, between sensitivity and vision. The authors have identified the Scarpian interpretation in the notion of “threshold”, a concept existing in both the Chinese ‘jian’, and in the Japanese ‘ma’, which reappears in the spatial passages of the Italian Master. The installation designed by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu reinterprets Scarpa’s vision in its central nodes: the invention of detail, the dialogue between solids and voids, the creative combination of materials. It is in this latter ambit that the presence of Alcantara, with the full potential offered by its versatility, makes the work an authentic nexus between past and present.
NERI & HU, TRANSVERSING THRESHOLDS
Artists participating in the exhibition:
1. Nanda Vigo (1936-2020) – Italian artist, designer and architect, a pioneer in the field of modern and contemporary art, whose creative practice lasting over 60 years inspired several generations of other artists. She became famous as early as the 1960s for her interdisciplinary approach to creation and desire to create complex sensory experiences.
2. Formafantasma (2009) – Italian design studio created by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin. Formafantasma carries out in-depth exploration of the ecological, historical, political and social forces shaping the design as a discipline today. Whether designing for a client or creating their own projects, the studio pays the same rigorous attention to the context, process and detail. Formafantasma's analytical nature is reflected in meticulous visual effects, products and strategies.
3. Konstantin Grcic (1965) – German industrial designer, known for creating mass-produced items such as furniture and household items. His style is described as pared down aesthetics, and his functional designs are characterized by geometric, minimalist shapes.
4. Neri & Hu (2004) – founded by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office is an interdisciplinary architectural design studio based in Shanghai. The extensive global portfolio of Neri & Hu Design and Research Office ranges from urban planning and architecture to interior design, installations, furniture, products, branding and artwork.