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NEXT, 8 Mostra Internazionale di Architettura
La Biennale di Venezia

by: Luca Molinari

I have an innate difficulty in identifying “next things”, but I think that a public reflection on the future, on what is to come, on what might be, on what we would so like it to be, what we would like to be considered important might breathe fresh air into the world of architecture which is so often stifling. I think it might be important to address the issue of today’s absence of utopias which makes every notion of the future seem like an only slightly altered notion of the present. It is as if we are no longer allowed to dream, to imagine different worlds and spaces, far away from the superficial protagonism of certain exponents.
But this is another matter. This is why I’m back in Venice, back in the Corderie, back in the Gardens. As I walked through the elegant layout of the 100 projects in the Corderie, I was gripped by a strange sensation which went beyond the perfect mise en scène: the beautiful models, the few but highly polished drawings left me with a gut feeling of emptiness which slowly grew as I approached the Arsenale. I believe this was caused by an intentional absence of reality, of the people who will inhabit those projects, of the sounds and smells which will soon impregnate those walls. A dangerously tactful way to exclude certain problems from a discipline which needs to renew itself, and not to find another elegant frame for itself.
Then I go back to the Gardens and I find fragments of “nextness” in several interesting niches: the dramatically eloquent leather in the Israeli pavilion, the wallpaper in the Belgian pavilion, the info point of the DARC (the real “next Italy”), the underlying reflections on the Asian tradition in the Japanese pavilion (there is no “next” without a “past”), the traditional African houses and the experimental Finnish ones.
And I remain ever more convinced that if there is a search for one or more “next things”, the only way for them to come out is by silently, inquisitively and respectfully listening to reality.

Luca Molinari
24th September 2002


Luca Molinari (Milan, 1966) graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in the Polytechnic of Milan in 1992 after working and studying in Delft, (Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft, Holland, 1989) and Barcelona (ETSAB, 1990 – 92). He currently collaborates with several international architecture magazines such as Lotus, Abitare, Ottagono, Il Progetto, Archis and L’architecture d’aujourd’hui. He has edited and designed numerous catalogues and exhibitions in the architecture and contemporary art field, most notably Santiago Calatrava. Work in Progress (Triennial of Milan) Le forme del cibo (Opos, Milan), Stalker (Opos, Milan), I sentimenti del 2000. Arte e fotografia dal 1960 ad oggi (Triennial of Milan), and Side Effects (Triennial of Milan). Since 1995, he has been the architecture editor for the Skira publishing house. In 2001, he was nominated architecture and urbanism curator for the Triennial of Milan, and he is presently the co-ordinator of the architecture section and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Triennial.