Electa

Triennale Milano & Electa are devoting a long-awaited exhibition to Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg - Milano New York

Triennale Milano & Electa are devoting a long-awaited exhibition to Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), curated by Italo Lupi and Marco Belpoliti in collaboration with Francesca Pellicciari. The exhibition is a tribute that Milan owes to this great artist, who dedicated so many of his sharply intelligent works to the city in which he resided during his formative years.

The installation on the first floor of the Triennale in the great “Curva”, a vantage point in the Palazzo dell’Arte, was designed by Italo Lupi, Ico Migliore and Mara Servetto in a sensitive dialogue with its architecture.

The exhibition is filled with drawings in pencil, pen, crayon; with works made using rubber stamps and watercolour, paper masks, objects/sculptures, fabrics and collages, documenting Steinberg’s intense and versatile artistic output. These works are complemented with documenting material and photographs which provide a closer understanding of the artist’s life. In ad- dition the set up shows a meticulous selection of original mag- azines and books including some of Steinberg’s most signifi- cant contributions, for instance the famous covers for ‘’The New Yorker’’. 350 works circa, come from important institutions, such as the Saul Steinberg Foundation, the Jewish Museum and the Hedda Sterne Foundation, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as collectors and friends of Steinberg, both in Italy and abroad.

On this occasion, there will be the opportunity to preview a selection of part of the important donation of works by the artist that the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense recently received from the Saul Steinberg Foundation.

The exhibition is part of a journey that Triennale Milano is currently embarking, which involves several protagonists of twentieth century culture who, starting from Milan have created an aes- thetical vision that was able to spread its influence all over the world. A series of monographic exhibitions that restore greatness to complex characters, outlining new ways of interpretation that go beyond superficial labels and pigeonholing.

Steinberg never forgot the years spent in Milan (from 1933 to 1941), where he gained a degree at the faculty of Architecture in the Royal Polytechnic, besides making important friendships with several leading figures in the lively cultural world of the city, starting with his brotherly friend Aldo Buzzi.

Milan is also the place where his artistic career starts, thanks to his first contributions to satirical magazines such as Il Bertoldo and Settebello, in the 1930s, through which he gained his preco- cious fame as a cartoonist.

Saul Steinberg Milan New York at Triennale Milano takes its inspiration from these very beginnings to provide the first evidence for his connection with Italy in general, and with Milan in particular, but without neglecting other cities – whether real, like Venice or Carpi, or imaginary, the product of extraordinary pastiches of cityscapes composed of Roman cupolas and ar- chitectural fantasies, not related to any particular city but with a completely Italian flavour.

Due to racism, Steinberg was expelled from Italy in 1941 and through great difficulty, he reached the United States in 1942. From there, having joined the allied armed forces, he left in order to provide an eye-witness account of the events in that global conflict, reaching theatres of war in China, India, North Africa and even Italy.

From his war experiences would come important works, two of which – previously exhibited in the MoMA during the exhibition Fourteen Americans in 1946, will be in the Triennale.

The nucleus of the exhibition is a work that Steinberg made specifically for Milan: four preparatory drawings, each com- posed of a strip of paper, folded like a concertina, 10 metres long; after being enlarged photographically, these were en- graved, using the technique of “sgraffito”, onto the curved walls of the Labirinto dei ragazzi (The Children’s Labyrinth) intended by BBPR (a studio for architecture), for the 10th Triennale di Milano in 1954. These four leporelli (strips of paper folded into a concertina shape), part of the gift made to the Biblioteca Braidense, contain many of the artistic motifs and signs that Steinberg was aiming to develop throughout his long career. First and foremost is the motif of the line, the simplicity of which in Steinberg’s hands and mind, takes on inexhaustible forms in a continuous experimental narrative.

In order to provide a comprehensive representation of the Labyrinth, besides the documentation of the architectural proj- ect by the BBPR, from the Triennale archives, in this exhibition there is a Mobile by Alexander Calder, from the GAM (Gallery of Modern Art) in Turin, as a reminder of the one that stood in the centre of the maze.

It is no accident that Steinberg and Calder are side by side in that project: besides being very close friends (later, Steinberg would write a moving obituary for Calder) these two artists had already been working alongside each other as they were both commis sioned to prepare works for the Terrace Plaza Hotel being built in Cincinnati, in the late 1940s.

In the 1970s, Steinberg dedicates to Milan other supremely intelligent drawings, depicting the city as prompted by his memo- ries. We can see the forbidding twentieth century architecture of the Regime, still deep in grotesque scenarios of daily life under the Fascists, the places near the Polytechnic where he was living in Milan, and other postcards from his past: “At that time, the air in Milan was perfect, and the light was absolutely beautiful, and I witnessed something that I had seen before: the calm and silent awakening of a city: people walking, people on bicycles, trams, workers”.

Alongside this there is room for the longest synopsis possible of everything forming Steinberg’s varied and surprising universe: a glimpse of a world that accepts, interprets and reworks motifs and subjects of every kind, in a style and with a vision that are immediately recognizable.

The book: Steinberg A-Z

To accompany the exhibition there is a book published by Electa, with the title Steinberg A-Z, arranged like an “encyclopaedia” of that time: a volume edited by Marco Belpoliti, that analyses Saul Steinberg’s œuvre in its multiple aspects, from architecture to drawing, from his connection with Milan to his relationship with New York, his maps, his correspondence with Aldo Buzzi, the artists who were his friends and companions, such as Costantino Nivola and Alexander Calder, but also Alberto Giacometti and Le Corbusier. This book includes contributions by Stefano Boeri, Marco Sammicheli, Claudio Bartocci, Stefano Bartezzaghi, Francesco Cataluccio, Gabriele Gimmelli, Nunzio La Fauci, Francesca Pellicciari, Mario Tedeschini Lalli, Stefano Salis and others who were allocated the lemmata of the encyclope- dia, about one hundred entries providing a vision of Steinberg’s universe.

The installation at Triennale Milano

The space in which the great Steinberg exhibition is housed is imposing, due to its position in the vast and certainly symbol- ic glass-covered semicircle named “Curva” on the first floor of Triennale Milano. While highly significant in the architectural geometry of the palace, its completely glazed and extremely well-lit curved surfaces have required complex solutions in exhibiting the works, especially in respect of the very intense light.

“In tackling this new adventure, together with Ico Migliore and Mara Servetto, resolute travelling companions and often conduc- tors, we decided that the main constraint on the project was an installation that would respect the noble architecture of Giovanni Muzio, who designed the Palazzo dell’Arte” Italo Lupi points out. Filtered by an initial area that is extremely dynamic, due to its diagonal edges and the wealth of photographs and literary works on its walls, the actual exhibition hall is broken up by a series of luminous cases and horizontal tables, but above all by the huge bookcase that closely follows the curve of the semi-circle, hous- ing as well as revealing the works on display.

This huge bookcase has been considered as a powerful diorama, with the capacity to provide an accurate account of the complex nature of Steinberg’s works.
The requirement to regulate the lighting, which for many works has to follow extremely rigorous standards, has meant that all the glass surfaces needed to be blacked out completely. A panorama that emphasizes the spatial conception of the architecture with- out cancelling it out. Also, through a chink left open deliberately, one’s glance runs towards the green area of Parco Sempione (Sempione Park), in which the Labyrinth, the historical monument of the BBPR/Steinberg, had stood during the Tenth Triennale.

A school of writing and publishing for high school students in Mantua

A school of writing and publishing for high school students in Mantua

In October 2021 an initiative for young people will get under way in Mantua: a School of writing and publishing entitled Il libro dalla A alla Z (“The Book from A to Z”), promoted by the City of Mantua (Office for Culture and Tourism and Councillorship for Education, in partnership with Teresiana Library), conceived and implemented by publisher Electa in partnership with Fondazione Arnoldo e Alberto Mondadori, to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Arnoldo Mondadori’s death.

With the goal of fuelling the love of reading and writing among the young people of generation Z, as part of the schools’ Life Skills and Orientation programme (PCTO or Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l’Orientamento), the project involves one year of training with lessons guiding and directing students toward various careers in publishing. Twenty lessons for 110 students in Mantua’s secondary schools will be held over 9 months (October 2021 through June 2022) at the Teresiana Library, presented by well-known professionals in the field such as Edoardo Brugnatelli, Lucia Tilde Ingrosso and Michela Tilli.

Before the school programme begins, two special lessons will be held, open to the general public, in Atrio degli Arcieri at the Palazzo Ducale on September 8 and 9, during Festivaletteratura: philosopher Ilaria Gaspari and sociolinguist Vera Gheno will invite the kids and everyone in the audience to “catch their wishes by the tail”, to paraphrase Picasso. A call for free exploration and expression of oneself and one’s thoughts, through the power of language.

In June 2022 the kids’ studies throughout the school year, from the city’s deepest historical and artistic roots to major issues of our times, will come together in the creation of a new Sentimental Guide to Mantua, featuring text, photographs and cover art by participants in the programme.

Mantua, a city with a great literary tradition, is also the place of origin of Arnoldo Mondadori (1889 – 1971), who passed away fifty years ago this year. The initiative also offers an opportunity to discuss and celebrate Mondadori’s publishing career: from his success in school textbooks to his experimentation with new editorial genres and formats. The heritage he left behind for the city will also be celebrated, such as the modern art collection featuring the paintings of Federico Zandomeneghi and Armando Spadini donated by the Mondadori family in the ‘70s and permanently displayed at the top floor of Palazzo Te since 1983.

Information on the events

An atlas of desires with Ilaria Gaspari

Wednesday, September 8, at 11:30 Mantua,
Mantua, Palazzo Ducale, Atrio degli Arcieri

Living comfortably in language: considerations about a universal right with Vera Gheno
Thursday, September 9, at 11:30
Mantua, Palazzo Ducale, Atrio degli Arcieri

Free admission, reservations required

The new Electa social feature #puntoeacapo

Electa is pleased to present #puntoeacapo, a collection of short digital stories –for the moment “filmed” from home – by writers, curators, creatives, editors and those working with the publisher, all sharing their different perspectives and activities. They will talk about books, exhibitions and the languages of art, from publishing to architecture, passing via museum bookshops.

The #puntoeacapo social feature of stories and accounts continuesthe Art and illustrated publishing experience through the faces and voices of curators, museum directors, archaeologists, art critics, artists, architects and designers. Born during the “lockdown” weeks, #puntoeacapo starts with Electa pondering its journey as a publisher and its role flanking museums. As we mark 75 years in publishing, we have started thinking about the Electa of today and of the future with many questions and some constants (old and new).

The first series of videos responds to a desire to revisit the#patrimonioitalia and rethink our cultural identity and past by conducting a Grand Tour through books, exhibitions, memories and emotions as we look to the future.

Electa grows in art publishing with the acquisition of Abscondita

Rosanna Cappelli appointed managing director of Electa S.p.A.

Our publishing houses together with ActionAid in “Insieme per l’istruzione” project

Mondadori, Einaudi, Rizzoli, Piemme, Sperling&Kupfer, Mondadori Electa and Fabbri Editori to support the “Insieme per l’istruzione” (Together for Education) project:
with the construction of two schools in the Raya Azebo district together with ActionAid

Even today 120 million children around the world do not receive a basic education, and more than half of them are girls. Without the chance to study it is impossible to imagine a future, without adequate quality education there are no opportunities to build a better and more secure life.

The right to an education is even more at risk in countries like Ethiopia, where almost 30 million people live below the poverty line and 30.4% of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. Too many boys and girls (70%) are obliged to leave education after primary school in order to help their families by working in the fields and because of a lack of the right kind of support.

This is why, for Christmas, ActionAid together with Mondadori, Einaudi, Rizzoli, Piemme, Sperling&Kupfer, Mondadori Electa and Fabbri Editori have come together to face an important challenge: to guarantee the right to education for 1,800 boys and girls in the Raya Azebo of Ethiopia, one of the places in the world where the provision of primary education is most urgent, and an area that is frequently without access to drinking water and adequate sanitation.

“Going to school in Ethiopia and being able to complete studies with quality education is a right that is denied to too many children especially girls. To able to work alongside a partner like Mondadori is to receive the kind of fundamental support that will make it possible to realise the dreams of 1,800 children who have neither classrooms, nor books or materials. Thanks to the contribution of the publishing houses of the Group we will be able to build two new schools, provide electricity, drinking water and sanitation, support teacher training and build awareness in the local community of the importance of educating girls, in one of the poorest regions of the country,” declared Marco De Ponte, Secretary General of ActionAid.

The importance of an education worthy of the name – that is equal, inclusive and accessible to everyone – is an absolute priority for the Mondadori Group: indeed, it is part of a profound sense among the people who work in the company that it is a natural and fundamental element of our traditions and history as a company” declared Enrico Selva Coddè, Chief Executive of the Trade Area of Mondadori Books. “This initiative allows our publishing houses to go further and engage in a concrete and inclusive solidarity project that will benefit one of the areas of the world in which the need is most urgent. Being able to work alongside a partner like ActionAid is a guarantee for us of the seriousness of our joint commitment” concluded Enrico Selva Coddè.

The project

Most of the schools in the Raya Azebo district have wooden frames and mud walls. And due to the lack of separate toilet facilities for boys and girls, it is impossible for girls to go to school during their menstrual cycle. Such frequent absence from lessons consequently leads to poor results and even abandoning school altogether.

With the “Insieme per l’istruzione” (Together for Education) project, ActionAid and the publishing houses of the Mondadori Group will create a safe school environment for 1,800 children, half of them girls, in the primary schools of the Barie Woyane and Hawulti communities. During 2020 two school buildings, each with four classrooms, a library and separate toilet facilities for girls, will be completed. Also teaching materials and classroom furniture will be provided, along with support for girls and initiatives to improve school governance, with the increased involvement of the local communities.

The progress of the project in Ethiopia can be followed on the web site: insiemeperlistruzione.it.

With this initiative, ActionAid and the publishing houses of the Mondadori Group are committed to the shared support of the fourth of the Sustainable Objectives set by the United Nations for 2030.

ActionAid for schools

Over the last year we have ensured and improved access to free, safe and quality education for boys and girls in around 5,000 schools in 25 countries. We have also involved over 400,000 parents, teachers and students in activities aimed at preventing and combatting the early abandonment of school.

The Mondadori Group for education

We are a publishing house with over 100 years of history. Thanks to our strong links with authors and readers we are acutely aware of our responsibilities, also to civil society. There is no doubt that the right to quality education and information is an essential prerequisite for the development and growth of a country. Consequently, the active promotion, in Italy and around the world, of a culture that is accessible to all, is a central part of our mission and one of the principles of the Group’s sustainability policy.

What ActionAid does

ActionAid is an independent international organisation operating in Italy and in 44 other countries. It collaborates with more than 10,000 partners, alliances, NGOs and social movements to combat poverty and social injustice. For over 40 years ActionAid has been working alongside the poorest and most marginalised people and communities, supporting them in the knowledge that it is only through collective efforts in support of solidarity and justice that real social change can be generated. A fair and equal world for all: this is the vision that inspires ActionAid and provides its strength. In order to transform this vision of the world into concrete reality, ActionAid has adopted a specific mission for the next 10 years: to work for the promotion and adoption of democratic participation and to involve people and communities in the protection of their rights, and to collaborate, at a local, national and international level, for the realisation of change and the spread of social equality, improving the quality of democracy and consequently supporting those who live in situations of poverty and marginalisation.

The Mondadori Group adopts the ePub3 format for all new eBooks

From this month all new eBooks from the publishing houses of the Mondadori Group– Mondadori, Rizzoli, Einaudi, Piemme, Sperling & Kupfer e Mondadori Electa – will be published in the new ePub3 format.

The Mondadori Group is the first Italian publisher to adopt the most recent international standard for all new digital publications, confirming its commitment to the development of digital publishing and the innovations demanded by the market.

The updating project was completed after a detailed analysis of the new format aimed at further improving the reading experience to make it more inclusive. In fact, the technical specifications of ePub3 make it possible to produce eBook with improved accessibility and graphics.

The new format facilitates the publication of digital text with a higher level of accessibility thanks to more precise metadata, content marking and image description, giving the visually impaired a much wider range of books that can be used with adaptive technologies, such as special keyboards and voice-overs.

This is a continuation of the Mondadori Group’s commitment to extend access to reading for people with sight impairments, to which the company has always paid special attention, also through collaboration with institutions such as the Fondazione LIA and the Fondazione Paideia on ambitious inclusion projects, such as the catalogue of accessible Italian books (https://catalogo.fondazionelia.org) and the digital books in AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication ) project ILIBRIPERTUTTI (https://www.ilibripertutti.it).

Entirely retro-compatible with all reading devices and apps, the ePub3 format will also make it possible to more easily produce books with complex graphics and augmented features, such as multi-media, interactivity and animations.

The Mondadori Group is the market leader in trade books with a total market share of 25.7%. Since 2010 Group has published the majority of its editorial products also as eBooks, with a catalogue of around 20,000 titles.

Vatican Chapels

In sort of triptych that includes the previous experiences at the Art Biennales of 2013 and 2015, the Holy See takes part for the first time this year in the Venice Architecture Biennale, through the creation of the Vatican Chapels Pavilion curated by Francesco Dal Co.

The project takes its cue from a precise model, the Woodland Chapel built in 1920 by the renowned architect Gunnar Asplund at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, a work featured in an initial exhibition space, illustrated with original drawings of the project.

The theme of the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter, mediation and salutation – as Asplund put it – was suggested to ten architects who were invited to design and build ten chapels in a wooded area at one end of the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Therefore this will be a composite, distributed pavilion, visited in stages along an itinerary that is also a spiritual pilgrimage. The chapels created by the architects, thanks to the indispensable support of important contractors and contributors, will be arranged in “an utterly abstract natural setting, marked only by its presence on the lagoon, its openness to the water,” as Dal Co explains, emphasizing the unique, original character of the initiative that has granted the architects complete freedom to design “without any reference to commonly recognized canons.” Inside the chapels, the shared fulcrum and identifying, unifying feature is represented by the presence of the altar and the lectern.

The choice of the invited architects was based on the decision to focus on designers capable of applying different expressive languages, all strong characters from the standpoint of constructive experimentation, belonging to different generations and hailing from Europe, Australia, Japan, the United States and South America, in order to reflect the universal – indeed  “catholic” – nature of the Church.

The architects who have designed the ten chapels and the exhibition space of Vatican chapels are: Andrew Berman (USA), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Javier Corvalàn (Paraguay), Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores (Spain), Norman Foster (UK), Terunobu Fujimori (Japan), Sean Godsell (Australia), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), while Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel are the designers of the pavilion that will contain the exhibition of the drawings of Gunnar Asplund for the “Skogskapellet,” the “Woodland Chapel” in Stockholm.

The opening of the Pavilion, with the presence of Cardinal Ravasi, will be on Friday 25 May in the gardens of the Island of San Giorgio in Venice. The Pavilion will remain open to the public from 26 May to 25 November 2018.

The catalogue edited by Francesco Dal Co, with essays by Gianfranco Ravasi, Francesco Dal Co and Elisabetta Molteni, published by Electaarchitettura, will be available from 23 May.

Millennial Editor: the publishing houses of the Mondadori Group are looking for the editors of the future

A project aimed at young talents with a passion for books

The publishing houses of the Mondadori Group are launching the Millennial Editor project for talented under 30s who dream of becoming  book editors.
An innovative and unprecedented programme, aimed at graduates in the humanities and economics, through which the Mondadori Group offers millennials with a consuming passion for books and reading a unique opportunity to enter the publishing world.

Einaudi, Electa, Mondadori, Piemme, Rizzoli, Sperling & Kupfer, Mondadori Education and Rizzoli Education, through a selection process in various stages, will identify eight young talents who will be guaranteed a period of two years of work and training as an editor with an apprenticeship contract.

The candidates selected will pursue a path during which they will be required to measure themselves against the activities of the various publishing areas and participate in training sessions with highly experienced professionals of the Group’s various publishing houses.
An all-round opportunity to learn the profession of editor, not only the specific aspects of publishing, but also the institutional, technical and managerial sides, interacting and collaborating with all of the protagonists involved in the book chain, starting from authors and senior editors. Each participant will develop the key skills necessary to face the challenges of a continuously evolving market.

The Millennial Editor project is developed in collaboration with Monster Italia, a highly specialised company in personnel research, and the technical partner in the recruitment phase.
You can submit your application from today, to this link.
After an initial selection based on qualifications and experience, in the second half of March suitable candidates will take part in an Edithon, a one-day event at Palazzo Mondadori during which they will meet the leading figures involved in the  project and, after being divided into work groups, will have the opportunity to put themselves to the test.
By the end of April, the eight young talents selected will be allocated, according to their characteristics and inclinations, to one of the areas, i.e. non-fiction, miscellaneous, fiction or educational of the publishing houses involved: Einaudi, Electa, Mondadori, Piemme, Rizzoli, Sperling & Kupfer, Mondadori Education and Rizzoli Education.

Toulouse-Lautrec: the exhibition in Milan

From 17 October 2017 to 18 February 2018, Palazzo Reale in Milan celebrates Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) in a major exhibition detailing the whole of his artistic career and his extraordinary modernity.

The exhibition, curated by Danièle Devynck (director of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi) and Claudia Zevi, is promoted and presented by the Cultural Department of the Milan Municipal Council, Palazzo Reale, Giunti Arte Mostre Musei and Electa, together with the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) in Paris.

Organised in themed sections, the exhibition helps visitors grasp the full extent of Lautrec’s vision and his role in the history of art as, despite never belonging to any school, he constructed a new, and extremely provocative, realism, a superlative synthesis of colour, shape and movement.

Despite his aristocratic background, Lautrec chronicled the slums and brothels of Paris and here the evolution of his style is traced in each and every phase of his development, in his paintings and his sketches, with a particular emphasis on his profound knowledge of Japanese prints and his passion for photography.

The exhibition comprises over 250 works by Toulouse-Lautrec, with 35 paintings on display, in addition to lithographs, etchings and his complete series of 22 posters, from the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, other major museums and international collections and a number of private collections.

Palazzo Niemeyer: a new permanent illumination marks Mondadori’s 110th anniversary

  •  Artistic restoration by Mario Nanni
  •  This evening a preview for the staff and collaborators of the Mondadori Group with the poetry of light Sospeso, leggero ma non troppo
  •  Francesco Dal Co presents the new edition of the book Oscar Niemeyer. Il Palazzo Mondadori

The Mondadori Group has chosen the summer solstice to inaugurate the permanent artistic restoration of the illumination of Palazzo Mondadori, the building designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

An important renovation project on an iconic example of contemporary architecture, at both the national and international level, with which the Mondadori Group wants to celebrate 100 years of history.

“In recent years, the Mondadori Group has changed, embarking on a new solidity with new prospects, by focusing on the “fundamentals”, the activities related to the publishing of books and magazines, in both traditional and digital forms. And I like to seen an analogy in this capacity to innovate, without forgetting our roots, with the building that Niemeyer designed for Mondadori,” underlined Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori Group, “and that everyday surprises us by its visionary modernity, comprised of solid and traditional architectural elements that are in harmony with extraordinarily creative forms; an architecture that is new each time we look at it, but is, at the same time, history, and, with this new feature, increasingly the future.”

THE NEW PERMANENT ILLUMINATION

The building, which is owned by Gruppo Generali and has been the headquarters of the Mondadori Group since 1975, was built according to three fundamental Vitruvian principles as a way of providing large working spaces for a business that is a symbol of Italian excellence, Mondadori (utilitas or utility): a building constructed on water and on the earth, with strong and solid pillars (firmitas or durability) with a suspended body for the work areas; and, above all, a building with the capacity to express a beauty that aspires to the sublime (venustas or beauty and delight).

Thanks to the permanent illumination designed by the master of light Mario Nanni, the Palazzo Mondadori will be seen in a new light, an intense narrative able to express the life of the building and the structure of its arches.

Mario Nanni has designed a total work that brings together light, cinema, music and publishing; a work dedicated to the daytime and the night-time, for a day-to-day homage to life, thought and beauty. A work for both those who work in the building and those who will see it only from a distance: a work for everyone.

Palazzo Niemeyer: a new permanent illumination marks Mondadori's 110th anniversary

THE BOOK IL PALAZZO MONDADORI

Mondadori’s 110th anniversary and the realisation of the permanent artistic restoration of the illumination of Palazzo Mondadori, also offer the perfect occasion to present – with the words of Professor Francesco Dal Co, editor of CASABELLA – a new edition of the book Oscar Niemeyer. Il Palazzo Mondadori, by Roberto Dulio (Electa).

The book, which has been completely re-designed since the first 2007 edition, published to mark Mondadori’s 100th anniversary, retraces the story of the conception and construction of the company’s headquarters between 1968 and 1975: a precise and accurate study that aims to reconstruct the commissioning of the building to the Brazilian architect who went on to place it within a broader cultural context.

«The Palazzo Mondadori is the son of Itamaraty, the Foreign Ministry building completed by Niemeyer in Brasilia in 1964, and much admired by Giorgio Mondadori. The light of the arches of Itamaraty is the same; whereas in the Palazzo Mondadori it varies: a monument in one, a “symphony” in the other, commented Professor Francesco Dal Co, editor of Casabella. Moreover, in the Palazzo Mondadori the floors hang to the cover and float on empty space. But if Niemeyer completed in Milan an exploit that he had only touched upon in Brasilia, this is also due to the companies that produced the special materials used in its construction and the Italian engineers that calculated the static.»

Oscar Niemeyer. Il Palazzo Mondadori includes documents, original and unseen sketches by Niemeyer, plans, photographs of the site and the completed building, as well as a photographic campaign by Gabriele Basilico and a more recent one by Roland Halbe, made after the restoration of the building, that make it possible to retrace the various steps that led to the realisation of the building in a philological, visually enthralling and engaging manner, not only for fans of contemporary architecture, but also for normal readers.

THE INAUGURATION

The new lighting project for Palazzo Mondadori will be presented this evening after sunset with “Sospeso, leggero ma non troppo”, a poem of light dedicated to all those, staff and collaborators,  who work everyday inside this iconic construction.

A story in light and music that will transform Palazzo Mondadori into a canvas on which the illumination will depict the passage of time and offering a new interpretation of its architecture in the night-time. To ensure that real architecture enthusiasts – and others, too – won’t miss the show, the event will be broadcast live this evening on the Mondadori Group’s Facebook page.

«Faced with a monumental building, made of imposing material and with an historical existence, necessarily requires study, respect and listening to the place. A syncretic intervention of high symbolic value which, comprising architecture and landscape, solar phases and chronobiology, brings you up against the infinite rules of natural light through a background that generates light and shadow, that celebrates the beauty of the complex, even after sunset, and making it eternal,» said Mario Nanni.

The twenty-three pillars of the facade will be matched by as many minutes, plus one, the twenty-fourth vertical element that completes the rhythmic composition of the building. The meridian light will caress the building like the page of a book, in a composition that brings together different and complementary knowledge, reaching out beyond time, paying homage to the beauty of the Palazzo Mondadori.

The dialogue between architecture, light, water and fire will last for a total of thirty minutes: twenty-four minutes of poetry, followed by a pause of six minutes, during which the light will stay on to enhance the architecture as a whole, in the magic of the night.

«The choice of the summer solstice to inaugurate my work of light is because it is a special night,” – explains Mario Nanni – “indeed, it is the shortest night of the year, in which we enter the sign of Cancer, whose constellation, during the presentation of the project, will become a great fire that will illuminate the night, with a unique and unrepeatable image of the building,» Nanni concludes.