Art as shared emotions

Designer: Tobia Scarpa e Diego Chilò
Project: Interview
I have had the pleasure of meeting the architect Tobia Scarpa twice...

thanks to our mutual friend, the designer Diego Chilò. The first time I met him was around eight years ago in his studio in Trevignano, immersed in the beautiful Treviso countryside, and the second time was at his home near Venice, in a lovely peaceful area surrounded by the green fields. Here his design choices can be clearly recognised: stone, wood and steel.
In the warm, relaxed atmosphere, the Maestro, Diego (Chilò), Giustino Chemello the photographer, Alice and myself, all sat around the large solid wood table in the kitchen, with the cat, the coffee, the sunlight delicately filtering in through the wonderful corten cladding and, in the background, classic guitar music.
Just like the first time, I was eager to listen to and enjoy all this conversation about architecture, materials, books, ideas and projects, past and future – it is worth more than any number of academic conferences.

Tobia Scarpa: Emotion should be the driving force for man to build something he can offer to others, whether it is Art or Architecture, and the richer you are the more you should offer: Art and Conscience should follow a principle of values, and things should circulate without ever losing their spirituality.
Nowadays, unfortunately, the concept of patronage has been lost, the time when princes chose art so that they could leave their mark on history, to magnify themselves.
Even the choice of materials no longer considers durability, but those who use steel in a masterly way are fighting this trend, because steel lasts forever.

Diego Chilò: Steel is the doorway for architects of the future, where materials and resources will be increasingly scarce, steel enables outlining the performances, precisely defining new works to find the best solution for the structure and the decoration. In the future, one will finally have to work on a project concentrating on the substance and curability and less on the appearance and trends.

Tobia Scarpa: There is great talk of minimalism nowadays, but in truth it is just a flattening of shapes, colours and materials, there is no conscience anymore: schools that should instil value and identify new talents, just squeeze the students like a tube of toothpaste, instead of understanding their individual qualities, understanding the logic of their nature and their natural predisposition (to sound, shape, space…). That way, each one would be able to do the job they like and which fills them with passion and emotion.

Marzia Urettini: Minimalism, flattening, and care paid to details?

Tobia Scarpa: The detail is a necessary element to understand the order of the project, and is an integrative part of architectural language, because a project encloses everything, including the nuts and bolts.
However, knowing how to use AutoCAD is not enough to be able to design, a good designer must first and foremost understand the materials, the working techniques and the best technology. One tends only to just focus on the price now, expecting it to be as low as possible, which has caused the progressive impoverishment that has uprooted man’s desire for quality.

Marzia Urettini.: What does the project mean to you?

Tobia Scarpa: The project is a vision of what we can and wish to do in the future, for me designing leads to constructing, knowing how to organise the project respecting the nature of human behaviour, woven into the necessary formal choices. This sort of designing is, for me, the work of the architect.

Diego Chilò: I agree: the outcome of a project depends on human sensitivity, and qualities such as sustainability and durability, the resolved detail becomes the project, rather, in my opinion, the idea of the project. Size and quantity are not prevailing elements in my opinion; the “substance” is the real soul of the project.

I observed the kitchen windows: openings totally free of any volumes and joint covers, stainless steel frames that are hidden away in the wall, to leave a perfectly free view of the garden: when a detail dictates the proportions of the entire project.

Marzia Urettini
Acciaio Arte Architettura 50