The display structure for American photographer Steve McCurry’s photo essay “Sensational Umbria” is conceived as an ideal stage in which images become actors and transforms the occasional context in a setting in which a theatrical representation of the "green heart of Italy" takes place.
The reasons for the project originate from the desire to represent the soul of Umbria, without overpowering the installation’s content and by establishing a dialogue with its’ context. The project evokes the "U" of Umbria, the stage of the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, the perspective iteration of the Calce in Assisi, the discontinuous skyline of medieval Perugia, the wood of the Ceri in Gubbio, the steel of Terni and, above all, the Teatro Continuo, an installation designed by Alberto Burri and realized in Milan at the Triennale XV (1973-1989): a kind of stage set located on the central axis of the Parco Sempione and intended to frame the view of the Castello Sforzesco .
The exhibit premiered in Milan during the design week (Fuorisalone) in April 2013, in the Cortile Napoleonico of Palazzo di Brera. A prestigious courtyard organized in two symmetrical parts by the central gangway, bounded by two continuous superimposed arcades and marked by the iteration of a giant order, dominated by the bronze statue of Napoleon in veste di Marte. In July 2013 it was exhibited in Piazza della Repubblica in the medieval city centre of Perugia. In December 2013/January 2014 it was exhibited next to the cathedral in Piazza Doumo in the ancient city centre of Orvieto.
The display structure consists of a rhythmic iteration of ten overturned portals made of wooden beams, interspersed by metal gratings forming a decking raised from the ground through a system of adjustable feet. Five giant light boxes emerge from the spaces between the wooden portals on which high definition Plexiglas prints of the images selected by the curator are applied on both sides.
credits architectural design: HOFLAB (Paolo Belardi, Carl Volckerts), Andrea Dragoni structural design: Area Progetto (Roberto Regni), Agathos Ingegneria (Luca Leonardi) locations: Milan, Perugia, Orvieto (Italy) client: Centro Estero Umbria realization: totem chronology: project and realization 2013 dimensions: footprint area 100 mq, height 5,5 m photography: ORCH_Fulvio Orsenigo (Milan), Paolo Ballerani (Perugia) and Giovanni Tarpani (Orvieto)