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Concept of the book

The book focuses on the figure of one of the masters of Italian architecture of the second half of the 20th century, designer and painter. It is conceived as an anthology where Maria Bottero’s texts present and close a series of critical essays taken from out of print books. It will be a mix of older and more recent essays, with the intention of offering an overview of the critical contributions around the figure of Umberto Riva as wide as possible. In particular:

  1. Maria Bottero – The experimentalism of Umberto Riva. Conclusions in the form of a preamble
  2. Mirko Zardini – The landscapes of Umberto Riva (Barcelona, 1993)
  3. Pierluigi Nicolin – For Umberto Riva (Barcelona, 1993)
  4. Francesco Cellini – Four Exemplary Projects of Urban Restoration (Rome, 1993)
  5. Giovanni Raboni – Beyond form (Milan, 1997)
  6. Marco Romanelli – Starting from painting. A conversation with Umberto Riva (Milan, 1997)
  7. Marco Rapposelli – Understanding by Error. Umberto Riva’s Interiors (Padova, 2007)
  8. Mirko Zardini – Rooms you may have missed (Zurich, 2015)

The book will be published in Italian, French and English.

The illustrative part of the anthology consists of a focus - more or less extensive but chronological - on some of Umberto Riva’s works. A valuable collaboration with the architect’s personal archive and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal will allow us to find and present his sketches and drawings to the public.

The publication will also include a photographic section consisting of archive images and unpublished photographs, commissioned specifically for this project from photographer Alba Deangelis.

The graphic complexity of the project and the search for coherence between graphic materials of different origins will be studied together with the Parisian graphic studio Spassky Fischer, with whom Cosa Mentale works since 2014.

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Umberto Riva and Maria Bottero

Umberto Riva (1928), is one of the masters of Italian architecture. He graduated in 1959 in Venice with Carlo Scarpa. From Scarpa he inherited the artistic-craftsmanship of design, a taste for open form and a sensitivity for an operational scale that extends from material detail to landscape. In 2018 he received the Gold Career Medal. His work (which also includes a parenthesis of painting practice) ranges from the design of objects and lamps where light becomes the protagonist, to urban projects, passing through residential buildings, schools, churches, interior architecture, exhibition installations.

Maria Bottero, (1932) architect, was full professor of ’Environmental Design’ at the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano. From 1963 to 1974 she edited the international architecture magazine Zodiac,founded by Adriano Olivetti. He has published essays and articles in Zodiac and in periodicals. Among her books: Frederick Kiesler, art, architecture, environment (Milan: Electa 1996, in conjunction with the homonymous exhibition she curated at the Triennale di Milano, in European coordination with the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Valencia and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam); Progetto Ambiente, (Milan: Clup 2005).

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Support this project!

We firmly believe in the importance of this book. Beyond its historiographical necessity, we like to think of it as a gesture of homage to Umberto Riva, a way to thank him for all the works of architecture, design and painting he has given us during his career. To all lovers of Milanese architecture and design, or more generally of Italian architecture and design in the second half of the 20th century, or simply of quality architecture and design: this funding campaign is addressed to you! We have been working on this project for a long time, continuing to develop it and discuss it with the author Maria Bottero and Umberto Riva himself. With your support, you will make the project possible! We are working strongly to present the book to you by the end of this year!

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