Rome’s Maxxi Museum had a troubled gestation, taking its time and courting controversy before ultimately emerging triumphant as a Stirling Prize winner in 2010, one of Zaha Hadid’s best works of the past five years. Now a new show hopes to build on the Maxxi’s archi-credentials by presenting a cavalcade of well-known Italian architects who have built internationally to great acclaim. The show, designed the New York/Naples firm of Lot-Ek, set up in 1993 by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, snakes through the galleries of the National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, encompassing a broad range of styles, periods and locations.
That breadth of content is unsurprising when you consider the exhibitors. The curators have cast the net wide, taking in the work of such well-known expatriates as the late Pietro Belluschi, Lina Bo Bardi and Paolo Soleri, all responsible, in their own singular ways, for diversifying, fragmenting and exploring different aspects of inter-war modernism in their new-found milieus of big business Manhattan, high culture South America and west coast desert subcultures respectively.
Others include current contemporary favourites Renzo Piano and Studio Fuksas (and the exhibit nods to Richard Rogers’ Italian ancestry as well), while studios as diverse as Delugan Meissl, Djuric-Tardio Architectes, Benedetta Tagliabue and Correia/Ragazzi Arquitectos highlight the global impact and diversity of Italian design talent. The accompanying catalogue includes contributions from journalists, educators and practitioners around the world, including Peter Eisenman, Shumi Bose and Hans Ibelings.