Wednesday, June 04, 2014

WHERE ARCHITECTS LIVE - Part 1


This was the most significant event at the Milan Furniture Fair this year. Called 'Where Architects Live', this   extraordinary exhibition, brought to life by Francesca Molteni and Davide Pizzigoni, provided an intriguing insight into the private sanctums of eight outstanding architects of this era. It reflected the sensations that envelope their daily lives at home, the immediate environment around them, the mental makeup of the city that they chose to live in and the nuances that make them who they really are. 
Walking through this exhibition was a privilege of sorts for me, after all, it isn't often that one gets to peek into the homes of such luminaries. Set in Hall 9, I found the eight enclosures arranged around an open courtyard. In the centre were scale models of the layouts. Many people, of various ages and nationalities - standing, sitting on chairs, some even sitting on the floor - absorbed the videos that played on hanging big screens. It was, quite simply, a shrine.
Given the different geographical and cultural backgrounds, and the eight diverse cities, I reasoned that each installation was obviously going to be as unique as the work they are each known for. Sound, video and light were all heavily used, so that the visitor did not just experience the space, but felt the architect’s world in a moment. 

Zaha Hadid's space simply had to be the one I walked into first. This acclaimed and critiqued architect, a disruptor of convention, lives in London. Her installation was built around spatial and visual fluidity. Light, motion and seamlessness. Long white walls had incessant streams of red and yellow light, that seemed to follow the sounds of the piano and Hadid's resonating voice. It came from the screen in the centre of the room, juxtaposed against a folded opening, the horizontal surface of which held images from her home, each flowing into the next. Hadid's
Middle Eastern roots and her professional western orientation are evident. She comments that while she is very fond of her house in Baghdad, she likes being in cosmopolitan London. "I have become a gypsy" she says. "I think the right time for an architect to design your own home is either at the beginning of your career - like a sort of manifesto for your ideas - or when you are about to retire. And I'm not ready to retire yet.”



Middle Eastern roots and her professional western orientation are evident. She comments that while she is very fond of her house in Baghdad, she likes being in cosmopolitan London. "I have become a gypsy" she says. "I think the right time for an architect to design your own home is either at the beginning of your career - like a sort of manifesto for your ideas - or when you are about to retire. And I'm not ready to retire yet.”
Across the aisle was the Parisian house of the irrepressible duo of Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas. Six tall backlit boxes, of Dogon art sculptures from Mali, traditional guardians of homes, but also representing the comfortable marriage of the organic and the contemporary, met you at the entrance. Through the arch was a room with a long table, overlooking tall windows with a view of a beautiful part of this magical city, near the Place des Vosges. The sensation was of a simple country house, steeped in history and values, rooted within a global city.
This is part 1 in a 4-post series. See the next post here
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