If you love modern architecture and international design you already know that in Bologna there's a precious jewel that draws visitors from around the world: it's Dino Gavina showroom in Via Altabella, 23. It was designed and built in the 60' by Carlo Scarpa, one of most important Italian architectural design of the twentieth century, to host Gavina's furniture showroom.
Who is Carlo Scarpa
His prestigious teaching and professional activities are mainly concentrated in the preparation of exhibitions and shows, in the restoration of monuments, in the construction of private homes and shops.
Carlo Scarpa had the ability to develop projects and interventions in ancient contexts, thanks to his skill in reading the existing architecture. This feature was seen by his contemporaries as a limit but by today's critics is seen as a strength: he worked like the great architects of the past and his architecture is therefore against the current movements of his time.
Gavina's shop in Bologna
In Italy there are only two stores designed by Scarpa. One is in Piazza San Marco in Venice and hosts Olivetti showroom, the other one is in Bologna.
This shop, on the ground floor of a Bologna house, was previously an ironmonger's. Scarpa had to reshape an untidy space fragmented by load-bearing walls and unsuited to the client's display purposes.
The solution designed by Scarpa, using an outside facade with large round windows, became one of the most unique references in the urban landscape, giving rise, at the time, violent controversy in the name of conservation and respect of the ancient city.
Today this work is universally recognized as a cornerstone of contemporary Italian architecture.
How to visit it
The showroom was used by Gavina until 90' and then became a toy shop by Hoffamann until Feb. 2016. Now the shop is a temporary store where architect Enrico Guandalini of Reverso decided to exhibit design furnitures and craft items, some of which designed by Scarpa, to give back this place its original aim.
It will be open until Jan.2017 (and hopefully longer) and you can visit it for free.
Dino Gavina's showroom
Via Altabella 32, Bologna
Carlo Scarpa - Sergio Los - Taschen, 1993