IMAGINANDO LA CASA MEDITERRANEA. Italy and Spain in the 1950 | Side Gallery

Side Gallery

Side Gallery





OCT 02 2019 - JAN 12 2020

The exhibition “Imaginando la casa mediterránea: Italy and Spain in the 1095s” shown at The ICO Museum in Madrid brought together works of architects who designed houses in Italy and Spain during the the middle of the past century.

Curated by Antonio Pizza, the exhibition “Imaginando la casa mediterránea” (Imagining the Mediterranean house), told the story of the intense cultural exchanges that animated Spain and Italy in the 1950s, with a focus on the search for a type of housing that was to be integrated with the landscape, as well as on the recovery of spontaneous architecture, typical to the Mediterranean area.

The archival documents, photographs and interior drawings of the houses built on the Italian shoreline, for example the Casa Oro in Posillipo and the imitation of its ceramic floor painted by Rudosky, prove the vigor of the research that deciphers the domestic space as a simple structure, with pure lines, integrated into the original context and in harmony with the elements of nature – the sea, the sky, the sun – and its inhabitants. “We don’t need a new way of building, but a new way of living”, wrote Bernard Rudosky, the Austrian architect who initiated the debate on the “Mediterranean house” in 1938.

Documents and publications shown in the exhibition illustrated the role of certain international figures, such as Gio Ponti and Alberto Sartoris, in the post–war period in promoting “Mediterraneanism” as a vehicle for architectural renewal against the uniformity urban life and homogenous construction.

Domus magazine, which in the fifties helped spread the relationship between Italy and Spain, is the backbone of the exhibition: the reproduction of the magazine pages brought the visitor on a journey through architecture.

“The Spanish define the house with a beautiful word, vivienda, “to live”, because living is something else than just inhabiting"

In those years Gio Ponti published the projects of Spanish houses integrated into landscapes flooded with light, such as those of the Catalan architect Antonio Coderch, and spoke of the passion for the domestic “Mediterranean” dimension: “the Spanish define the house with a beautiful word, vivienda, “to live”, because living is something else than just inhabiting. It is a complex of living, lazing, contemplating, enjoying, suffering, sheltering, isolating, loving, imagining between walls and sky, between walls and sun”.

On display were, videos, private notes and reports on the spontaneous architecture of the islands. Trips such as that of photograph Luigi Figini’s to Ibiza in 1949, told of a renewed interest for the vernacular architecture of the Mediterranean coast. Indigenous gems, such as the fishing villages, became a new source of inspiration for Italian and Spanish architects.

The balance between the visual and textual content of the exhibition, and the dialogue that facilitated the rich and diversified sources, allowed the audience to grasp the varied approach with which the theme of the “Mediterranean house” had been addressed through architecture, but also through anthropology and landscape.

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