Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Four Seasons - Italian Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition

Stabilimenti Olivetti I.C.O Copertura cortile Nuova I.C.O.1958 
Architetto Eduardo Vittoria 
Courtesy Francesco Mattuzzi e Fondazione Adriano Olivetti
(Venice, Italy) The Italian Pavilion, curated by Luca Zevi, has announced its vision for the 13th Venice International Architecture Exhibition. Riffing on The Four Seasons, the project imagines an encounter between Architecture and Business to kick-start Italy out of the economic crisis. 

1950 Olivetti Lettera 22
The First Season - Nostalgia for the Future - starts with the visionary entrepreneur, Adriano Olivetti (1901-1960), son of the founder of Olivetti, Camillo Olivetti. Adriano Olivetti transformed the Italian workplace. Those who were fortunate enough to use an Olivetti typewriter will remember how beautifully designed they were; in fact, many Olivetti products are in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Olivetti believed that people who respected each other and the environment could avoid war and poverty. He shared the wealth, cutting his employee's hours while increasing their salaries and fringe benefits, and hired innovative architects to turn his industrial complexes into works of art.  

The Second Season - Assault on the Land - moves to the 1980s when, after the exit of major businesses from Italy, projects were swiftly developed in a kind of desperate frenzy that gave no consideration to architectural design or how they fit into the existing environment.

Teuco-Guzzini Stabiimento 
industriale Pica Ciamarra Associati Montelupone (MC) 
1996 fontana ph. Francesco Jodice
The Third Season - architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system - Following Olivetti's path, for the past fifteen years, some "Made in Italy" companies have focused on creating first-class architectural designs that incorporate business, people and the land into an aesthetic environment. 

The Fourth Season - reMade in Italy - From May 1 to October 31, 2015, Milan will host the World Expo "Nourish the Planet, Energy for Life." With this in mind, the Italian Pavilion will be a place where designers, businessmen and politicians take a serious look at how to blend nourishment, movement and living into the same equation.

Here's the press release, slightly edited:

The Italian Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia 
Architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system 
from Adriano Olivetti to the Green Economy 
curated by Luca Zevi
 Venice, Tese delle Vergini at the Arsenale 
from 29 August to 25 November 2012

 This year is not like others. The Italian Pavilion must place itself at the centre and reflect on the relationship between the economic crisis, architecture and the land. It must be a space where a project for our country’s growth can be imagined.  The ‘common ground’ must be translated into a solid, visionary project in which culture and economy enter into a new agreement.

--- Luca Zevi, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition.

Archimede Solar Energy Sed
direzionale Maryfil Architecture Massa Martana (PG) 2011
ph. Paolo Ficola
The project unfolds like a possible meeting, the rewriting of an ‘agreement’ - shared place and possible space - in which architecture, land and environment communicate with economic development -- a ‘common ground’ between business and architecture as an inescapable requisite for recovery. The story describes the ‘four seasons’ of architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system along its bumpy and fertile path in search of a virtuous relationship between architecture, growth and innovation.

Stabilimenti Olivetti I.C.O. Primo ampliamento Salone dei 2000 1934 
Architetti Luigi Figini, Gino Pollini 
 1st season: Adriano Olivetti - nostalgia for the future

Adriano Olivetti vince il Compasso d'Oro per 
la Lettera 22 di Marcello Nizzoli 1954 
Per gentile concessione della Fondazione Adriano Olivetti
It is a path that can only begin with Adriano Olivetti’s work in postwar Italy as the paradigm of a development model in which industrial politics, social politics and cultural promotion come together to promote an innovative direction for changes to the land. It was a unique experience for the times and the context, which induces a positive ‘nostalgia for the future’. Olivetti was an innovator in the way he did business and in his vision of the world, his choices and his principles. He was convinced that ‘doing business’ cannot stray from an ethical and responsible attitude to the workers and the area that housed the factories. A lover of the avant-garde in art and architecture, he involved all the most talented architects and designers of the 1950s, making every industrial complex into a work of art. Ivrea (Olivetti headquarters, near Turin) became the place for testing a virtuous ‘factory city’, considered an experimental module of a possible regional development. The Pavilion opens with this story because Olivetti’s vision - which kept architecture, economics and the land together - may become the key point on which to begin rewriting the future of the country.

2nd season: the assault on the land

Starting from the 1980s, with the widespread entrepreneurial fervour following the loss of major industries from Italy, there was a kind of ‘assault’ on the land by projects that were very vigorous in terms of production, but wholly disinterested in any form of architectural expression or appropriate insertion in the landscape. This was the period of production ‘in the stair cupboard or warehouse, often dressed up with a house in Swiss chalet style’, the zero point of architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system.

Ilti Luce Centro ricerca e produzione UdA Torino 2002 7 ph.Luigi Gariglio
3rd season: architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system

In the last 15 years some ‘Made in Italy’ companies - marked by an ‘Olivetti typology’ in dimension and specialised production - have decided to build their factories and head offices to first class architectural designs. The result is buildings that pay heed to the poetics of the places and the objects, to the lives of people and to environmental sensitivity, documented - and ‘narrated’ - in the exhibition. Doing ‘virtuous’ business also in imagining the production places and marketing is helping to create new landscapes. The exhibition is transformed into a pathway of discovery, knowledge and reflection on architectural and planning works for the ‘Made in Italy’ system. The sense of the perspective lies in their action: industry that asks architecture for the outline of the places, the everyday, its own identity. 

iGuzzini Light Laboratory Maurizio Varratta Recanati (MC) 2010 
ph. archivio Iguzzini illuminazione
 4th season: reMade in Italy

The challenge of the ‘fourth season’ - the systemisation of ‘Made in Italy’ companies in the direction of a Green Economy - is fated to meet the challenge of Expo 2015 ‘Nourish the Planet’, which will be an extraordinary opportunity for reflecting on the relationship between land and environment, city and agricultural production, and the sense of ‘design’ in the north and south of the world. Nutrition, which will be the hub of Expo 2015, prompts further analysis of the sustainable community concept: the relationship between city and countryside, industrialisation and agricultural production. The Italian Pavilion thus becomes a place where designers, businessmen and politicians begin to seriously look at the questions of living, in anticipation of an era when the obsession with the megalopolis must leave room for new rules inspired by the community, in which nourishment, moving and living become functions of the same equation. Some recent Italian experiments that move in this direction will be illustrated: upgrading towns by inserting new-generation production activities; rethinking of public spaces aimed at a city on a child’s dimension, which become the parameter of the quality of life in urban spaces, in an attempt to rethink the city as an eminently public place.

Sal.pi Uno Sede produttiva Enzo Eusebi Preci (PG) 2012 
in corso di completamento
A sustainable Italian Pavilion 

The Italian Pavilion does not restrict itself to asserting a new way of living, but tries to offer a kind of prototype of a different type of housing, which keeps together the culture of the environment and the Green Economy. The Pavilion will thus be turned into an energetically self-sufficient and environmentally welcoming place. Multimedia tools and innovative technology will allow the visitor to interact with the story, to ask questions, to virtually meet the main characters in the story being told. Interaction with animated elements - holograms, virtual people and videos - will mark every stage of the narrative. Conversations, interviews and performances will occupy the space every day.

Ciao from Venezia,

1 comment:

  1. Olivetti believed that people who respected each other and the environment could avoid war and poverty. He shared the wealth, cutting his employee's hours while increasing their salaries and fringe benefits, and hired innovative architects to turn his industrial complexes into works of art.