Michelle de Lucchi
Architect, Designer and curator of the exhibition

In recent years the architect’s profession has been deeply affected by the
massive invasion of technology which has radically changed ways of designing, building and thinking on the subject. In today’s context the polymath figure of the Venetian architect Giambattista Piranesi is more significant than ever. There have been many reappraisals of Piranesi, some very successful and enduring, but here we are proposing something new, a re-engagement with his uniquely creative and eclectic sense of design.

We have considered Piranesi as a man of our time and we have interpreted his work using the latest technology to explore the wealth of his eclecticism and his eccentric, inspired creative vein. Of the hundreds of prints made during his fascinating career – the Giorgio Cini Foundation holds a valuable collection published by Firmin Didot – we chose those that seemed to represent the complexity and versatility of his theoretical, design and professional experience.
The prints presented here, connected to various specific design and decorative series, have been used to produce real objects. This helps us to imagine them as if they were on the drawing board in some manufacturer’s design office, conceived for today’s market. Piranesi's designs have become the starting point for an engagement with modern technology that has resulted in a group of exquisite objects and facilitated a deep analysis and investigation of an influential designer.
The resultant objects have a genuine intensity. They demonstrate yet again, as if there were any need, Piranesi’s greatness as an artist. They have also provided more grist to a highly topical ongoing debate at the Giorgio Cini Foundation on the importance of treating originality as a process and celebrating the past as a 'living present'.


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