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The Italian Side of International Style

Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel (ACPV)

The Italian Side of International Style
By Antonio Citterio, Patricia Viel -

«...Let me reiterate: water equals time and provides beauty with its double. Part water, we serve beauty in the same fashion. By rubbing water, this city improves time’s looks, beautifies the future. That’s what the role of this city in the universe is. Because the city is static while we are moving. The tear is proof of that. Because we go and beauty stays. Because we are headed for the future, while beauty is the eternal present.» Josif Brodskij, Watermark - Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992

For the global collective imagination, Italian architecture is epitomised by Venice.

Although a somewhat reckless statement, it is nonetheless a declaration of hope. Put simply, it associates architecture with the ability to transform the world we inhabit in two opposite ways: by signalling power or by signalling governance.

The signal of power is the highest tower in the world wherever it may be; the signal of governance is the urban plan: the Eiffel Tower as against the Flatiron, to quote two neutral icons.

In this sense Italy’s contribution to architecture has been much more a culture of governance than of iconic projects that stand apart from the everyday. In other words, the Italian architect is seen as able to plan lifestyles rather than architecture. If this is a plus, and we think it is, then there is hope for Italian architectural projects.

On the world market, the Italian architectural project enjoys this sort of expectation. We are recognised as having that “lifestyle” factor thanks to our product design; our deftness at many different project scales has given Italian designers and architects a very special identity. Our way of working is considered European in its intense bond with context, and Italian in the quality of life it expresses - as technologically sophisticated as a design object but at the same time unique, unrepeatable or at least, not standardised.

The growth economies of the...

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