Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Shining Surface in Milan, Italy by Park Associati
June 15th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Park Associati
Park Associati architects work on ‘human scale’ architecture. Issues such as context, environment, routes, landscapes and views are in their everyday vocabulary. Their buildings relate with the landscapes with such a lightness and harmony to make them looking perfectly in place, as if they had always been there. Yet they are very recognizable signs, they have contemporary concepts, shapes and surfaces, made with advanced techniques and materials. But this is precisely the key: a historical knowledge and a contemporary vision. In Park’s works, we can feel suggestions from the Modern Movement, lessons from certain Milan architectures and condominiums of the Fifties and Sixties, to the purest Mies van der Rohe of the Twenties, up to Antonio da Sangallo and Michelangelo of Palazzo Farnese. All these inspirations are assimilated, forgotten, and re-invented.
It is with such disillusioned eye that Park, founded by Filippo Pagliani and Michele Rossi, looked at Inside Art, the Saporiti Italia project at the Museo del Novecento. The task was not to design a building, butt to interpret the space, to do a research on the nature and use of this peculiar site and on the development of possible interactions.
The answer is Shining Surface, an iridescent and translucent surface, made of modular steel tiles, which can be composed in different sizes and inclinations, to fragment, reflect and multiply the space, at the same time creating a series of new and different pathways inside Sala Fontana. Shining Surface is an architecture lying on the floor, the best location in this context to create a dialogue with the people (again, the concept of a ‘human scale’ architecture) and the site with everything that is inside (and out).
Here, the architectural references are true icons that Park assimilates and re-proposes in his work with a new meaning: the monumental architecture of Arengario by Giovanni Muzio, among the most fascinating examples of the Italian and metaphysics Modern tradition of the Thirties in Milan, the Struttura al Neon for the IX Triennale by Lucio Fontana (1951), which is the Spatial Concept that radically overturned the idea of a work of art, no longer considered as an object but as an environment, and finally the urban landscape standing out as Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and Palazzo Reale.
Shining Surface is a horizontal wall, iridescent, like many of the facades by Park, who have worked here with the same concept they use in architecture. So the wall, the skin, the surface becomes a fundamental element that creates a genuine relationship between inside and outside, which evolves even depending on the light, the atmosphere, the movement of the people. The project for the Saporiti commission distil these dinamycs. And while it makes you think to certain architectures, it recalls also some artistic experiences by the conceptual and kinetics neo avant-gardes of the Sixties and Seventies, and of some of the designers of those time, particularly appreciated by Park.
The idea of a changing surface is one of Park’s recurring themes. Particularly relevant is the one made for the Salewa headquarters in Bolzano.On the southern side, toward the countryside, the façade is modulated in vertical and horizontal steel sections, with green shades changing according to various angles of the light, and reflecting the mapping of the surrounding agricultural fields. To the north, facing the mountains, the surface is transparent to create a direct and immediate dialogue with the landscape that enters, literally, into the building, while the employees have the impression of having their desks hung on the rock. At the U27 Offices Building too, under construction at Milanofiori/Assago, Park are working on surfaces alternating transparencies, reflections and matter vibrations (glass and gray terracotta), to follow the different configurations of the master plan, alternating architectures and forests.
Modulated with a more regular pace, which fits into the dense and historic Milan urban frame, instead, is the skin of the Via Turati business center.Built in 1962 by the Soncini brothers for Campari, the building, now Morgan Stanley, was recently renovated by Park. Here the architects have worked on the facades by creating openings and modules reflecting the surrounding buildings during the day while, at dusk, they let the light filter outside, as if the architecture is transformed into a lantern, which strongly declares its shape and volume.
The very idea of the wall as an element that unites more than it separates, is applied to another project under construction in Milan, the renovation of a Marco Zanuso building in Via Melchiorre Gioia. Here the architects work on a building marked by massive horizontal concrete bands, working on the rhythm of the windows, made of solids and voids, transparency and opacity, glass and wood, with a modular frame that changes and that is perceived according to the movement. Whenever it’s interior or exterior, Park’s surfaces are a landscape in the landscape, dynamic and assertive. Dynamic because they accompany the movement, the light, the atmosphere. Assertive because they are precisely declared in their shape and in their concept.
This is Shining Surface, whose constructive module, a small three-sided element on which is mounted a steel tile, is enlarged to reach the dimensions of a cube which, assembled in several components, creates a modular and shining seat. Once again, a kind of iridescent surface, skin, floor, reflecting not only the light, but also the possibility to build the space, from a small to a large scale. This is also one of Park’s subjects .
 E. Crispolti, Omaggio a Lucio Fontana, Carucci, Roma Assisi, 1971, p.101. “ “The spatial environment was the first trial to get rid of a static plastic matter, the setting was totally black, with the black light wood’s lamp, you stepped in and you were completely isolated by your own, every spectator reacted according to his specific mood, precisely, you did not influence the man through objects or matters imposed like goods for sale, the man was by his own, his consciousness, his ignorance, his matter, the point was to avoid the usual display of artworks and sculptures, and enter the spatial debate“.
 Salewa. Headquarters Salewa Spa., Bolzano, (2011) with Cino Zucchi Architetti
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