Current Issue: Domus 1010

In this issue

Domus 1010

Cover: graphic interpretation of the sketch
by John Pawson for The Design Museum London. © John Pawson

Editorial: On awareness

Of the four stages into which we have divided the process of architectural design – awareness, imagination, profession, freedom – the most important and complex is certainly the one dedicated to awareness. And as we shall be seeing, this is for a number of reasons. To talk about that awareness we shall start from the subject of our thinking, the architectural project, in an attempt to reconstruct its
development and to describe its making.

On beauty; and the impossibility of defining it

For the 300th anniversary of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s birth, the m.a.x. museo of Chiasso dedicates to this German master of classical culture an important exhibition focusing on his fundamental work, Monumenti antichi inediti , presenting, among numerous documents, all of the 208 engraved plates from the 1767 editio princeps published in two volumes and part of the museum’s collections.

Building writ large

Designing residential buildings, following a path of cultural growth and mindful maturity, is the objective of the course held by Stephen Taylor at the Metropolitan University of London, a truly key moment in the preparation of future architects who see architecture of the past as a useful instrument for critical reflection.

School of Design, Politecnico di Milano

Founded in 1993 in the historic Politecnico di Milano, the School of Design fosters learning based on the “epistemology of praxis”, where experimenting in the field, and international openness come together to create an “Italian approach” to technology filtered through liberal arts disciplines and the increasing hybridisation with craft processes.

A genealogy of modern architecture

The historian Gevork Hartoonian offers readers a critical interpretation of Kenneth Frampton’s latest publication, which reflects on the culture of building using a particular analysis method: one of comparison, by directly pairing two buildings.

Culture and local development

The recent expansion of the Ex Seccatoi del Tabacco exhibition spaces housing the Burri Collection forms part of a complex cultural reactivation operation underway in Città di Castello and that will drive new forms of collective intelligence.

Rediscovering Ico Parisi

A fine exhibition curated by Roberta Lietti and Marco Romanelli at Villa Reale in Monza for the Triennale casts light on the life and work of Ico Parisi, architect and designer as too art director, photographer, film director and painter. An active participant in the cultural and design circle that emerged in Como in 1948, this exhibition revisits his work from those years via his unusual permutations of the table type.

The beautiful factory

In 100 archive pictures on display in Settimo Torinese, the home of its most innovative factory complex, Pirelli tells the story of a business culture reminiscent of Olivetti’s “industrial humanism” and how it remains fundamental to the creation of new opportunities for development.

The 1966 chronotope

Can we believe in the existence of a specific time and place coinciding to produce a series of events so prolific as to lay the foundations for a new phase in history? The year 1966 in Florence – when and where the modern movement ended under the blows of radical architects’ vast repertory – seems to demonstrate the validity of the “chronotope” genre.

Office building and hotel, Rome

The complex reconfiguration of the former Mercati Generali on Via Ostiense in Rome has yet to receive a definitive solution. The project by Stefano Cordeschi for a section of the area proposes an urban reading where the base of the building connects to the existing surroundings and the upper part links to the powerful transformations underway.

Constitution, protection and earthquakes

Seeing that Italy is the most landslide-prone in Europe, the most vulnerable to hydrological and seismic damage, it is not adverse fate but a chain of events that ought to trigger mechanisms of awareness. As Settis underlines, it is time to give up on emergency culture, forever crying after the event, and instead focus on prevention.

The Design Museum London

The urban rehabilitation of the area in which the Commonwealth Institute was built in the 1960s endows the British capital with a new piece of contemporary city. Here we tell the story of this delicate renewal through John Pawson, who redefined the interior of the preserved landmark building; through OMA and Allies and Morrison, who conducted a masterful renovation of the iconic parabolic roof and reconfigured the site with new residences; and lastly through Ricky Burdett, whose essay underlines the innovative characteristics of the entire design-, culture- and finance-driven operation.

Extension of the Oyodo annex, Osaka

In a small addition to a building he designed in the mid-1990s across the way from his longstanding atelier, the Japanese maestro Tadao Ando once again demonstrates his meticulous attention for the relation between indoors and out, and his love of extreme structural rigour.

Parking garage, East Hanover, New Jersey, USA

The multi-storey car park type serving a pharmaceutical company campus is designed with rigour but a new approach. Unexpectedly light for its size, it translates function and pragmatism into airy and surprisingly welcoming spaces. 

Summer residence, San Salvatore, Montione, Umbria

The carefully thought-out renovation of an old building in the Umbrian countryside enabled these British architects to restate their focus on space and light. A small extension flanking the old construction transforms the plinth to emphasise the relationship between the terrain and its surrounding landscape.

“If I read I forget, if I look I remember, if I do I understand”

Come to the design world self-taught and after twists and turns through the “world of doing” and the family business, Carlo Contin has a twofold interest: in mass production and industry; and exploration of new directions and experimentation with new materials and techniques, leading to limited editions and self-productions. In both cases, design is a way of extending beauty and good quality to all.

Origins and Equivalences

In conjunction with two major solo exhibitions opened recently in Rome – one curated by Massimiliano Gioni at Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and the other at the Galleria Gagosian – the Turin artist talks to Domus about his work method: from the importance of writing – essential to associate ideas and condense them – to the execution of a work that progresses by indulging the material.

Elzeviro: “Gimme Shelter”

The extraordinary case of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s self-built cabin and the possibility it offers to consider the concepts of “hiding in a shelter” versus “making the world explode”.