Saturday, June 07, 2014


This is part 4 of a 4-post series. See the previous posts here: 1, 2, 3

    Daniel Libeskind's installation of his New York home stood out amongst the lot. Red walls, cut off spaces, recessed screens showing caricatures, images and videos of his memories and the cultural idioms that made him. Of his installation, he writes: “For me, to 'live' is living in the cross-section of thememory of places”. But what does home mean to him? "Home is more than just an abstraction, it's the streets, the neighbourhood, the people," he says. "Architecture contributes to making people feel happy or depressed... There is nothing banal in our lives, not even those gestures that seem unconscious."

When I walked into Mario Bellini's installation of his 19th century Milan house, I was accosted by impossible scale. Built within the little area was a massive shelving system that supported a staircase. Atop the stairs, you looked down onto images of the elements that made his world - from his books and music, to the surroundings and things Milanese. It said a lot in 30 seconds. Bellini's house is designed around a vertical staircase that is nine metres and crosses three floors. "My house is a huge, soaring bookshelf", he says. And "stairs are not something the leads you up or down, they are a central element to which other parts connect". He says that he has a desire to "inhabit a neutral, White cube" because he feels the need to scale down and focus attention on "what has now become the essence of things, the emotional crux of our living space".

The last installation was that of British-born David Chipperfield's Berlin home. "The Neues Museum sucked me back into this city", he admits in the video that plays on the deepest wall of the space, blocked off by a large wall of Green felt. On either side are images of disparate buildings that show the fractured, static nature of Berlin. Many visitors had finger-written their names on it. Listening to him speak, I realised that the felt wall stood for something profound. Each visitor to the installation was invited to leave their mark just as each day of each inhabitant leaves his/her mark on the city. "I think architecture is part of a dilemma; it both protects you and at the same time, it throws you back out again and re-presents the world to you... When we constructed the campus, we became our own clients, and this implied a useful change in perspective." 

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