"Threshold and Treasure’questions the role of thresholdandtreasure in the field of art, architecture and, more specifically, galleries as places of display.
It is about the incredibleopportunity to generate a mechanism, as philosopher and writer Giorgio Agamben might say, that is able to unhinge, in a certain way, the difficult approach to art, characterized by a threshold which is perceived as hardly accessible by masses.This detachment, even if it is mainly mental, puts people in a state of uneasinesswhen confronted to the idea of a world so deep and so rooted that it seems unreachable to many, to those who do not normally deal with culture, to those who do not consider themselves as “educated” enough to have access to such beauty and such intensity of meaning.
‘Threshold and Treasure’aims to pay tribute to the work of Mats Bergquist. It is precisely in the space of the threshold that the meaning of the entire project unfolds: thus, the entrance becomes both work of art and urban system. It is a matter of volume: one can caress its concave shape, canexperience it, and can perceive its thickness from the seat created inside, as in a frame that reminds of Edward Hopper’s representations. And again, it is meant to be crossed in order to reach the first “secret” garden and enter in a whole different dimension, by leaving behind the chaos caused by the surrounding urban context: an essential,oneiric peace which has been sought for onepurpose only, to host art.
The path is designed with the aim of gently leading the visitorinsidethe exhibition area from the furthest side: the place unveils itself gradually, following aclosed sequence of crossings, one threshold at a time. At this point, the itinerary reaches the so-called ‘black threshold’, which is a place definedby a twentieth century addition consisting of a frame in reinforced concrete, whose presence is here underlined by an ‘absolute black’ coating. This expedient focuses on the visual perception of the viewer,making the eye attentive to the layers and, at the same time, appeasing it, thanks to a background suitable for experiencingart pieces in an inevitable dialogue with the existing building. Precisely by the visible original wall,the presence of a third threshold can be perceived: the memory of what used to be a typography and, before that, a barn, leads to the discovery of a whole different spatiality, which isauthentic since it has been freed from theadditions of time. Here, in the background, is located a discrete volume of visiblereinforced concrete which encloses restrooms, and captures light thanks to the contrast with the wooden slab. The longitudinal development of the great hall entirely opens up revealing an additional threshold: a glass and steel cage which expands the spaceunveiling the internal court, almost as if it was a treasure. It reminds ofa Japanese garden, scattered with sculptures by Mattia Bosco, and it provides a privileged viewpoint, and also a moment of rest.
By going back to the glass volume of the entrance, it is possible to distinguish thestair leading to the upper floor. This presence reveals adesign operation that made possible the “detachment” of the Liberty building – whichnow hosts the artists’ temporary residence –from the Twentieth century addition. In that specific position the stair becomes a key element to the re-organization of the syntax of the multitude of stratifications, showing the passage of time. The separation of elements (the villa and the warehouse) is a necessary break: the unpolished façade conveys the power of this break, which is then mitigated by the connection provided by the new stair. The stair and the beam in reinforced concrete generate an additional mechanism, a three-dimensional threshold, the sixth one, which leads to another treasure, the garden. This green space proves to be a sort of “panopticon” from which, among trees, it is possible to lay eyes on a typical Venetian historic centre. This point of attraction consists of aquestionably complex blending of styles and colours which, overall, determine a contemporary tapestry, a setting which is itself a work of spontaneous art, defined by the alternation of architectures without architects (as Bernard Rudofsky would say) which contributes to the memory and tradition of the place and, for this reason, should be interpreted with pride.
One more threshold needs to be crossed in order to enter the atelier: a large sliding door in natural steel reveals a further pivoting window which, finally, gives access to a pure space. The concrete volume, visible on the external side, is characterized on the inside by a continuous white surface which stands out on a wooden floor recovered from a kindergarten in Borneo, enriched by kids’ carvings which bring back to the domestic dimension of the entire building.The covering, with regardsto geometry and materials, brings together the architectural elements of the rural Venetian tradition and thetypical features found in industrial buildings. The volume hosts a place dedicated to the artists exhibiting in the permanent collection, a space that, per se, reflects the poetic of the curator, Elena dal Molin, a contemporary patron who finds inexperience, in sharing and in aesthetic researchthe fundamentals of her own activity:the perfect client for an architect.
From here, once again, it is possible to capture the intention to perpetuate a constant connection with the landscape, thanks to the ten-meter-longopening, defined by sliding window frames. The art projects itself toward the outside. And it’s where time stops.
While tracing back the itinerary, the ‘panopticon’ captures the visitor and, through a 360° rotation, one can see the impressive artisanalgutterwhich collects water and drains it towards the garden. Once again, on the ground floor, one can rediscover the garden and its twisty path:also the exit isa discovery. At this point, there are some more details that can be perceived, such as the bench inviting the visitor to stay for a little longer and think about their experience, before meeting again the quintessential mechanism, ‘Threshold and Treasure’, and leaving that peculiarancestral dimension, which has been staged by the project thanks to the cooperation ofart, memory and place.
Through the threshold, a space unveils, where a multitude of forces, guided by imagination, emotions and freely experienced matter, concentrate in a fact of preserved culture which projects itself towards the only possible measure: the infinite.
Architect: AMAA - Collaborative Architecture Office For Research And Development - Arch. Marcello Galiotto PhD, Arch. Alessandra Rampazzo PhD
Project architects - Partner in Charge: Arch. Marcello Galiotto PhD
Project management: Arch. Mario Azzarello
Design team: Arch. Marcello Galiotto PhD, Arch. Alessandra Rampazzo PhD, Arch. Mario Azzarello
Models: Arch. Simone Agosta del Forte, Arch. Nilo Forcellini, Arch. Francesco Baggio, Leonardo Tagliente
Models pictures: Elena Pellizzer
Pictures (realized project): Simone Bossi
Structural engineering: Ing. Claudio Lorenzetto
Fire: Sinergo spa
Electrical engineering: Aig / Elettroimpianti
Mechanical engineering: Ing. Stefano Faggion
Collaborative Architecture Office
For Research And Development
Arch. Marcello Galiotto PhD
Arch. Alessandra Rampazzo PhD
Arch. Mario Azzarello
Lighting design: Viabizzuno
Acoustics: Perito ind. Luca Dal Cengio
Landscape design: Angelo Renna
Contractor: Il Grifo S.r.l.
Client: Atipografia (Elena Dal Molin)
1. Steel details: Officine Bernardini S.r.l.
2. Curtains: Tecnotenda
3. Atelier window fixtures: WOLF Fenster AG S.p.A.
4. Exhibition space window fixtures: Santuliana Design
5. Atelier pivot door: Fiorotto Design
6. Front gate: Luigi Savoiani
7. Custom-made furniture: Faccin S.r.l.
8. Mechanical installations: Sit
9. Electrical system: Elettrogamma / Jung.de
10. Green areas: Daku / Dall’Ava