PERSPECTIVE MONTHLY NOVEMBER 2017
The Italian city Bologna has long been celebrated as a gastronomic capital. Most recently, it has also become the principal showcase for state-of-the-art ceramics. Each year, the best of Italian bathroom and tile-makers gather in the terracotta-hued city of Cersaie to discuss trends, and advances in design and manufacturing.
Perspective took a day away from the 2017 fair and headed north-east to another Italian capital, Modena, la capitale dei motori. It’s a small town yet the birthplace of the world’s most dazzling supercars. It is the headquarters of Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini, and home to their factories and museums. This issue scrutinises the interiors of these luxury cars and considers whether what’s inside has evolved as fast and furiously as the engines.
Still in Europe, another centre of design excellence, Berlin, is where the 10th edition of the World Architectural Festival is held this month. The city has incubated innovative architecture movements from Bauhaus to Futurism, and a wide variety of cutting-edge designs continue to keep it on the design map. Here, we study Germany’s former Parliament building, the Reichstag, reimagined by British architect Sir Norman Foster with glass and steel conjuring notions of transparency and democracy.
There’s also the freedom-expressing East Side Gallery, where worldwide artists painted on the east side of the Berlin Wall when it came down in 1989 to protest the stormy political climate that divided the now-German capital. Picasso said, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” That point is made silently but eloquently on the 1.3 kilometres of German concrete by more than 100 artists from 21 countries. Now, new developments are endangering the historic wall and the artworks, even though dismantling it was a triumph worth celebrating.
For must-see architecture in Spain, we head to Barcelona, another reminder about the link between art, architecture and politics. The Catalan capital has been hitting headlines recently over its bid for independence, but in architectural terms, this is nothing new; the modernisme style for which the city is famed was part of a movement a century ago that sought to define a distinctive Catalan identity.
For many reasons – not just political – it is important to nurture the past in the present. In this issue we look at some successful renovation projects. They include Hong Kong’s newly redesigned 1970s hotel The Fleming in Wan Chai, the redevelopment of London’s Grosvenor Square and the refurbished art deco hotel Sheraton Grand London Park Lane. History, it seems, is in the remaking!