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According to Italo Rota, “Museums are gradually changing to form a composition made up of several aspects: memory, research, science, industry, art and humanism, connected and made possible through the personal participation and intervention of individual people to bear witness to the freedom and responsibility that the future invites us to consider every day, both as individuals and as a community”. The opportunity to investigate these subjects is represented by this exemplary, internationally recognised case history: Italo Rota’s project for the new Musei Civici in Reggio Emilia: a complex, sophisticated project involving one of the most ancient museums in Italy in a city that today, has assumed a new role in contemporary society.
A museum that is proposed as an archive of the commons, beginning with the physical aspect of the testimonies to continue with an even critical re-examination of local history. As well as the texts by the project curator the book also includes articles by conservators and researchers, part of the teamwork that also involved museum directors and collection curators, in a constant dialogue between exhibition concepts, scientific requirements, and requests for participation.
The description of this unusual project is rich in images of great visual impact, an elaborate montage of archive photos, images by master photographers from the city collection, and commissioned news reports on the completed projects.
This is not simply a museum catalogue but acts as the entrance to the museum itself.
Italo Rota, architect and designer, graduated in 1982 from Politecnico di Milano, and began his professional life working with Franco Albini and Vittorio Gregotti, with whom he participated in the competition for the University of Calabria. Before graduating, he worked with Pierluigi Nicolin to create the review Lotus International, and with Gae Aulenti in the restoration and staging of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
He spent over ten years in France, curating museum staging and working on important restoration projects including the Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou with Gae Aulenti, and the new rooms of the French School in the Cour Carré du Louvre; the illumination of Notre Dame Cathedral, and the restoration of the Nantes city centre. On his return to Italy, he created further exhibition projects including the Museo del Novecento in Milan, cultural spaces such as the Anzola and San Sisto Media Libraries, and urban design projects like the Foro Italico promenade in Palermo (Gold Medal in Architecture for Public Spaces, 2006). Other important international projects include the Kuwait and the Italian Wine pavilions for the EXPO 2015 hosted in Milan, the Casa Italiana at Columbia University, the Hindu Temple in Mumbai, the Chameleon Club at the Byblos Hotel in Dubai.
He is currently the Scientific Advisor at NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan, lecturer at the Shanghai Wusong – International Art City Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, and Advisor at the Tsinghua University of Beijing.