With sketches, furniture, art, magazines and even a rose garden, Fondazione Michelucci is a bricks-and-mortar tribute to the visionary who designed Santa Maria Novella railway station and the San Giovanni Battista church on the A1 Autostrada.


The Florentine
recently paid a visit to Villa il Roseto, the former home of Giovanni Michelucci, during Invasioni Digitali, an annual event when cultural institutions and museums open up their doors to the social media savvy. Perched on a Fiesole hilltop with jaw-dropping views toward Florence, the villa is now the headquarters of the Fondazione Michelucci.


First up were the drawing archives, a Wunderkammer of original designs of the striking, green-roofed Autostrada del Sole church, erected as a memorial to all those who lost their lives during the construction of Italy’s most important motorway, and Veneto’s Longarone church, impressive in its white purity and signature ramp.


Next, Michelucci’s love of designing furniture throughout his career is apparent in the wooden, primarily walnut, pieces that display the evolution in style from his youth until the 1980s.

 

“The reality is, I know nothing about the science of architecture. If I did I’d be a maestro, so I’d be less calm than I am, because I wouldn’t have the consolation of the everyday discovery of life.”

Scattered throughout the villa’s rooms are paintings, sculptures and objects that bear witness to Michelucci’s friendships with his peers, artists and artisans who were often involved in his projects. Also taking pride of place on the walls are paintings and pastels by Eloise Pacini, Michelucci’s wife and a prominent artist in her own right.


The Pistoia-born urban planner also dabbled in publishing. On show are original issues of La nuova città, in which Michelucci laid out his ideas on how to rebuild Florence after the Second World War; Esperienza artigiana, a pamphlet aimed at promoting local craftsmanship; I confini della città, discussing how to address the dearth of architecture in Florence; and a wealth of interviews and articles published in the Italian and international press.


The gardens are something else (and they're shortly to be at the forefront of a crowdfunding campaign). Places of deep contemplation and restful consideration, you can almost picture Michelucci unwinding amidst the irises and roses, a mere pause before the snap and vigour of yet another project and idea.

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