Gallerie d’Italia opens a new venue, designed by Michele De Lucchi

In the photos by Walter Niedermayr, the construction site of the new Intesa Sanpaolo museum centre in Turin: it will open to the public on 17 May, a few days before the inauguration of another new venue in Naples.

On 17 May Gallerie d’Italia will “land” in Turin, where a new, futuristic site will join those in Milan, Vicenza and Naples (which, with the inauguration on 21 May, will now move to Palazzo Piacentini).

The inverted commas are a must, because it is in Turin that Intesa Sanpaolo, of which Gallerie d’Italia is the museum centre, has its roots, and the new location will occupy the historic spaces of Palazzo Turinetti on Piazza San Carlo, long the group's headquarters.

Domus guest editor 2018 Michele De Lucchi and his AMDL CIRCLE curated the project: ten thousand square metres, most of it literally invented on the five floors that will host the exhibition routes. 

The construction site, which Domus had the opportunity to preview thanks to the cicerone Antonio Carloni – deputy director and coordinator of the photographic projects and commissions – involved one hundred and forty workers for fifteen months, and developed over a depth of ten metres. The intuition of De Lucchi (who was also entrusted with the new Naples headquarters, which thus triples its size) was in fact to use all the underground spaces, building new ones in what were once the bank’s vaults, and to create a large access staircase inside the vast courtyard, to leave intact the parts of the building normally visible.

Walter Niedermayr, Rohbauten Intesa San Paolo 41, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Ncontempary Milano

While on the ground floor the public will find a cloister overlooked by a bookshop, a café/bistro and a restaurant, the main floor, once occupied by offices and reception rooms, will host the Sala dei Capolavori, dedicated to the Oratory of San Paolo and Piedmontese Baroque. But the big photographic and multimedia exhibitions will animate the three underground floors.

If in fact on the first basement floor there will be modular teaching rooms (which, through a large window, will benefit from a direct view of the exhibition below), on the second basement a communication and interaction space intended for reception will give access, through the ticket office, to the actual exhibition routes, but will also constitute a pivot point around which the whole museum seems to move: The Sala dei 300 (where the shareholders’ meetings were held) and the Sala Voltata (which served as a “think tank”), which will be the protagonists of the inauguration with a solo exhibition by Paolo Pellegrin. Or the Foyer, where it will be possible to see on display, in rotation, the materials from the Publifoto Intesa Sanpaolo archive: seven million photographs, many of which have been restored and all of which are in the process of being digitised (and, therefore, would be then available for consultation free of charge); refrigerated but “on view”, the archive will be located on third basement floor.

Roberto della Noce, Gallerie d’Italia di Napoli – Intesa Sanpaolo
Roberto della Noce, Gallerie d’Italia di Napoli – Intesa Sanpaolo

Also on the 3rd basement is a 40 x 14 metre multimedia room, equipped with 17 4K projectors, which promises an immersive experience where the gaze can wander 360 degrees.

All the sense of becoming, of evolution and also of investment, not only economic but also emotional, enclosed by Gallerie d’Italia Torino, is magnificently represented by the five photographic works that embellish our gallery. The compositions by the artist Walter Niedermayr are in fact part of the project in progress Edifici Grezzi / Shell Contructions: not a documentation, but a representation of buildings in a transitive moment, a phase of transformation that briefly highlights images that, in an only relative relationship with the reality of the construction site, then disappear into the definitive structures as work progresses, denying themselves forever.

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