olivetti showroom, venice 1957-1958.
architect: carlo scarpa, 1906-1978.
one of the greatest twentieth century staircases, carlo scarpa’s neo-plasticist essay in stone and brass. I built a model of this as a student, still love it. it was a high point in three dimensional neo-plasticism, even if it was also a kind of swan song.
the movement or language was long gone when scarpa designed his olivetti showroom – mies had returned to classicism, wright had apparently left the planet for his final UFO shaped monuments, and rietveld had lost his position as one of the masters of modern architecture, although we mustn’t forget his late masterpiece, the pavilion in arnhem, a very personal development of de stijl ideas completed three years prior to the olivetti.
scarpa’s strength, or one of them, was to return neoplasticism to its painterly roots. he had recently arranged an exhibition, the plan of which was one of mondrian’s compositions and he made it work. it gave him a freedom which pinwheel based compositions had otherwise lost, reduced as they were to site plans and at best the free standing wall in front of a theatre wardrobe or bathroom core.
scarpa’s use of modern painting as a source for his designs also shows in the floor which quotes from paul klee. klee’s surface treatment, despite his bauhaus creditials, owned something to the byzantine surfaces of the vienna secession, in turn inspired by the gain and loss of venice as a austrian province, and scarpa can be said to be completing the circle by returning his pattern to st. marks’s square.
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the carlo scarpa set.
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Posted by >seier+seier on 2008-11-09 09:07:00