"With exhibits ranging from royal palaces, gardens and private residences in the first part, to machinery for plays and entertainments, fortifications, scientific and public institutions, and ecclesiastical architecture in the second (culminating in a spectacular model of the Smol'ny in St Petersburg), the visitor's eye is simultaneously drawn both to individual exhibits and the long perspective "enfilade" of the rooms.
• exhibit design and materials: Along the route, the oxidised iron floor sheets and the window blinds (to exclude natural light) empathetically distance the exhibited architecture from the architecture of the host building.
Slanting partition walls cut like swords through the larger spaces, while the models are raised on studio trestle tables and iron sheet platforms so that the eye perceives them as real buildings. Drawings and engravings are displayed on large stylised lecterns mounted on hanging grids.
One of the most innovative features of the exhibit is the presentation of the architectural fragments, which are positioned on plans (screenprinted on the floor) of the buildings they come from to make their original siting and purpose clear. Space is constructed with lights (spots for the models, soft wash for the drawings) which in some cases change in angle and intensity to produce an accelerated sequence of the times of day: time itself is scaled down to the imaginary space of the models.
Italo Lupi's graphics exploit the three-dimensional nature of the architecture: the floors tell stories, the screened windows become the pages of a book that unfolds as the exhibition progresses, and the large information panels at the entrance form a container for service areas like the bookshop and cloakroom.
For "special effects" like the reproductions of Roman monuments in the antechamber to the exhibition, we were fortunate and privileged to have the services of Pier Luigi Pizzi, who also added inspired scenic touches to the magnificent Ballroom."
Mario Bellini Architects
Mario Bellini with Giovanna Bonfanti
Giovanna Bonfanti (project architect ) with Giovanni Cappelletti and Raffaele Cipolletta
Italo Lupi with Alessandro Farina
Henry A. Millon (President scientific committee) with Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani
Mario Bellini, Alfredo pollice
Exhibition fit out
Mariani Allestimenti, Lissone
Serigrafie Fallani, Venezia