13/09/2018

CARLO SCARPA, PASSION FOR DETAIL

#CarloScarpa

A wholehearted admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, but also influenced by the Viennese Secessionists Joseph Hoffmann and Otto Wagner, the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa is a special case in Italian architecture, maybe because he was remote from Rome and Milan, the Italian cultural centres and forefronts of the contemporary architectural disussions.

“Furniture is necessary. Thus the corollary: taking care of furniture, of its conservation, and especially, of beauty, strikes me as a categorical imperative for our profession.” Carlo Scarpa, Arredare, Venice, 1964

Scarpa’s work is to be understood from its details, obsessively elaborated through uncountable drawings, in such a way that the whole is only built by the tension between its parts. This led him to pay a special attention to design, turning every fragment, every object, into an aesthetic device and integrating them into a continuum of space formed by multiple aesthetic episodes.

Maybe because of this, the most important part of his work is his interventions on historical buildings and their conversion into museums, like the Abatelis Palace in Palermo or, especially, the Castelvechio Museum in Verona, where he manipulated the ancient buildings with few minimum changes while he singularised the pieces at display.

Given his particular idiosyncrasy, Scarpa was more related to crafts than to industrial design. Hence, he was designer and art director for two important Murano glass producers, Capellin and Venini. Although the furniture that he designed for his dwellings had an important role in his approach through fragments, as it we can see in the dwelling for lawyer Scatturin, it only started to be mass produced in 1968. The Doge Table, originally created as a unique piece for the luxurious Zentner House in Zurich, started a series of straight-shaped pieces for the firms Simon and later Bernini.

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