On May 9th Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 3, Milano, will be open to the public from 10 am to 9pm.
Once a former distillery, in the industrial south section of Milan–8,900 square meters, it is now the home of the biggest, and arguably, this city’s most exciting contemporary art space. The new location for Fondazione Prada, back to Milano after 7 years, returning from its Venetian venue at Ca’Corner della Regina in Venezia.
The complex will house a cinema, library, museum and a large exhibition space, which constitutes more than half the compound’s overall 205,000 square footage, the city’s newest and largest gallery of contemporary art, the first permanent home open to the public.
The venue is set to appeal to art aficionados of all persuasions. “This new opening is an act of responsibility towards present times,” said Mariuccia Prada. She continued, “Fondazione Prada will not be a museum, but rather the continuation of an intellectual process founded on the exploration of doubt and on extensive research.”
The project of Rem Koolhaas blended the building’s original industrial character with several expansions, including an eight-story tower (still under construction) described as a monolithic sculptural mass which they hope will become “a new landmark in Milan’s urban landscape.”
Ten buildings in total will be gallery spaces for the Fondazione Prada’s contemporary art collections, which are extensive, as well as a rotating series of specially commissioned exhibitions, including a cinema, a café, a library and other facilities.
At the heart of the compounds will sit the Haunted House, an intimate space which will house site-specific installations conceived by international artists.
Koolhaas declares, “The Foundation is not a preservation project nor a new architecture exercise. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction- offering an ensemble of fragments that will not resolve into a single vision, or allow any part to dominate the others. The complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each others challenges.
Astrid Welter, project director of Fondazione Prada, describes the projects as a pivotal moment in the organization’s history. “This is our transformation, our phase two of the Foundation,” she said. Continuing, “We have already become a platform for art exhibition and other disciplines like architecture, cinema and philosophy, and the new exhibition site in Milan will allow us to amplify all the activity which we have done so far on grander scale. It will ensure the Foundation will keep on investigating, with the help of various disciplines, useful and relevant for cultural discourse today.”
And then, for cinephiles everywhere: a bar designed “in the traditional Milan café style” by filmmaker Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel) who recreated a 1910 Milanese atmosphere in a bar open to the public from the street. He took ideas from the Vittorio Emmanuelle Galleria decorations in the centre of Milano. A truly epic urban space!
This should be a destination for many years to come. Very important is the kid’s area, designed by a group of students from the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’architecture de Versaille…and the programme for the next days, will include Roman Polanski who will explore the cinematographic inspirations behind his artistic vision…..so much to see, many events from May 9th throughout summer 2015. Especially well timed opening to coincide with the World Expo 2015 in Milano.
Sara Nitti, Boulevardiers Guest Contributor resides in Milan,
and more Boulevardiers are going in July…we can’t wait!!