CARLO SCARPA (1906-1978)

Andrew Wallace, from Andrew Wallace Architects, an architect and interior designer from Liverpool went to an exhibition about Carlo Scarpa, that shows his work.

Born in Venice in 1906, Scarpa studied there at the Academy of Fine Arts and has lived and worked in and around the city all his life. He is a Venetian to the core, cultivates the local dialect in his speech and reveals in his work that feeling for materials and textures which, as Adrian Stokes has so brilliantly observed (Venice, an aspect of art), is a marked characteristic of Venetian building. To this sensitivity must be added a strong urge to create memorable forms and spaces in which the various elements are often combined to produce patterns reminiscent of Mondrian, whose exhibition in Rome Scarpa so sympathetically designed (1956).

As a man dedicated to the craft of building, Scarpa understandably admires the great figures of the last craft age, the Art Nouveau and the Viennese secession, especially Mackintosh and Olbrich. After the last war he rediscovered, through Bruno Zevi’s first two numbers of Metron, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Its influence at the time was profound, affecting even his way of drawing, though he did not actually see any of the buildings until 1967 when his appointment as designer of the Italian pavilion for Expo at Montreal took him across the Atlantic. In the late ’40s Scarpa, who was teaching at the Faculty of Architecture in Venice and whose work was included, willy-nilly, within Zevi’s broad definition of organic architecture, suddenly found himself at the centre of events.

Liverpool architects and achitects elsewhere in the UK may be interested to go to this exhibition and the work of Scarpa.