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space in the tempo of light - triennale di milano
place:triennale di milano
project:michele de lucchi
buyer:fondazione la triennale
lighting project:mario nanni
foreman:alessandro pedron - studio plt
the palazzo dell'arte in milan was built in 1931 to a project by the architect giovanni muzio, who designed an imposing building featuring a large semicircular apse, a sort of industrial cathedral. as well as housing the triennale, the building was intended to accommodate all displays of art and culture. for this reason, novel structural techniques were used in the design of the building, which proved to be practicable even with the most recent renovation projects. from the lighting point of view, as well, the palazzo dell'arte is an extraordinary lesson in design and the use of natural light has a pivotal role in the concept of the building. great beams of light strike the walls along the main staircase and the light that filters through the curtains that cover the windows in the beamed shed roof becomes a graphic sign of architecture: it is perfect, calibrated, detailed and proportioned, just as every light fitting should be. in more than seventy years of existence, the building has become one of the landmarks of industrial design and art in italy. although the building suffered bomb damage in the second world war, student occupations in the late 60s and more than a decade of neglect, no mark has been left on the structure. the most recent renovation project, which began in 2002, was entrusted to the architect michele de lucchi, whose aim was to restore the original appearance, as a mark of continuity. the modernisation project also incorporated the first floor exhibition area, where a design museum was established. de lucchi designed a bamboo wood bridge, connecting the foyer to the museum, simultaneously signalling the link and independence between the new area and the original palazzo building. there is admiration for the historical space, but without a sense of being crushed by the solemnity of the venue; there is balance, connivance and added value in this architectural project, capable of settling in without being invasive. the lighting design has drawn on the same inspiration, implementing the same sort of comparison with the original style. this is why mario nanni has given life to a lighting project capable of communicating with its surroundings: history, architecture, objects and people. the museum is an evolving space which renews the collection of works as time goes by: it is the temple of objects, of their innovation and their design. because design is ability and manual skill and the hand is the real protagonist of this space and its project.

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