Padiglione Italia – Biennale Architettura 2014

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Edition: 14. International Architecture Exhibition - Fundamentals directed by Rem Koolas (7 June - 23 November 2014)
Titolo del Padiglione Italia: Innesti/Grafting
Curator: Cino Zucchi
Commissioner: Maria Grazia Bellisario
Catalogue: Innesti/Grafthings, 14. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura La Biennale di Venezia. Padiglione Italia, a cura di Cino Zucchi, Marsilio, Venezia 2014


In the project "Innesti/Grafting", conceived for the Italian Pavilion at the 14. International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (7 June - 23 November 2014), curator Cino Zucchi started from the assumption that "Italian architecture from the First World War to the present day shows an 'anomalous modernity', represented by the great capacity to interpret and incorporate previous states through continuous metamorphoses. Not a posteriori formal adaptations of the new with respect to the existing, but rather 'grafts' capable of transfiguring the conditions of the context into a new configuration: an attitude once seen by some as nostalgic or compromise, but today admired by Europe and the world as the most original contribution of Italian design culture".


The project was therefore a tale of our best architecture from an unprecedented point of view. Ancient, recent and contemporary works were chosen through the eyes of a botanist rather than a historian, in original ways to reveal their ability to indissolubly unite interpretation and innovation, existing material and future form.


The fundamental proposition of the Pavilion, the graft as the leitmotif of Italian architecture over the centuries, was represented both through the interpretation of the projects on display and through the very structure of the exhibition and its scenic layout, to create a single large portrait with a strong visual and formal impact, where each element represents the thesis in its own way.


In the exhibition of the Italian Pavilion there was no idea of a linear evolution, but rather an examination of single episodes or design events linked over time by unexpected relationships. If modernisation has involved the entire peninsula in the last century, the case of Milan was taken as an example "laboratory of the modern", whose architectural and urbanistic events of the last hundred years - but also some pivotal moments in its past history - have shown the particular ways in which projects with a great transformative power have been confronted with the pre-existing urban structure. The second part of the exhibition displayed a series of architectural collages with the evocative representation of a large contemporary landscape made up of images of recent projects where architects of various generations have confronted challenging contexts. A series of autographed "postcards" by foreign architects that gave a synthetic interpretation of the particular Italian condition seen from different corners of the world. The exhibition is opened and closed by two signs, two physical "grafts" in the context of the Arsenale signed by Cino Zucchi himself: the large arched portal of the entrance next to the Gaggiandre and a large bench-sculpture that has developed among the trees in the Giardino delle Vergini.


On the occasion of the presentation of the exhibition, the Italian Pavilion launched a public invitation to collect a series of videos interpreting the places of collective life in Italy made by students, ordinary people and video makers. A selection of these videos made up the choral work "Paesaggi Abitati" (Inhabited Landscapes) curated by Studio Azzurro, aimed at investigating how man interacts with the transformations dictated by architecture and how he in turn adapts them to his daily needs.