Milano Design Week

Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone 2024

With Aqua, water returns to Leonardo’s canal locks

Balich celebrates Da Vinci's first work in Milan with an installation, restoring its dignity after decades of neglect.

In addition to a Milan with its new buildings and major reclaim projects, there’s also a city that can, at times, stop and restore a forgotten treasure, or rather, one that was foolishly neglected. This is the case with Leonardo’s Locks, which were his first design for the city under Ludovico the Moor.

This is the case with Leonardo’s Locks, which were his first design for the city under Ludovico the Moor. A work of brilliant engineering that, despite the 500 years that have passed, is quite relevant even today – the Suez and Panama canals use the system inspired by Leonardo’s – but unfortunately abandoned after water stopped flowing through here, in the 1930s. So what had been the second port of a city traversed by canals became a haven for stray cats and the homeless, right next to the dehor of a pub. 

Aqua. La visione di Leonardo is the name of the installation made by Balich Worldwide Shows for the Salone del Mobile in Milan, which restores the water to the Conca dell’Incoronata, with a small manmade reservoir and a wunderkammer in which the natural element that Leonardo had closely examined – as an artist, architect, engineer and philosopher – is celebrated in its most essential form: drops, which in a large, dark room of mirrors seem suspended in space and time while they gush forth in long, slender vertical jets.

On the outside, a sci-fi capsule for an imaginary boat sharing in a Milan where the canals have been reopened and a large screen with a skyline of the future, made by Territory Studio, the creative agency that worked on the settings for Blade Runner 2049. Others engaged in the project include Andrew Quinn, NONE collective, Karmachina, Chiara Luzzana and Maurizio D’Aniello. 

Aqua. La visione di Leonardo
Conceived by:
Marco Balich
Opening Dates:
April 6-14
Conca dell’Incoronata, via San Marco

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