“Newer, bigger, more museum”: this is how the museum in the Palazzo dei Musei in Reggio Emilia, redesigned by Italo Rota, is presented to the public today. With the narrative power of a design concept imprinted and focused now on the second floor of the nineteenth-century building, where, once the works have been completed, a chronological path unfolds that goes from Prehistory and Protohistory to the twentieth century, contemplating among the preciousness the testimonial rarity of the Venus of Chiozza or the Ax of the Copper Age.
So whoever enters via Spallanzani, three overall development floors and a large monumental staircase, today does not encounter "only" four centuries of historical collections, a thousand objects on display, the new permanent exhibition dedicated to contemporary photographs of the Reggio master Luigi Ghirri, video animations and video montages, but the complete translation of the vision of a new museum: the invitation to immerse yourself in a large Archive of Common Heritage, according to the meaning of Claire Bishop, in which nothing is lost and everything regains meaning in the perspective of our time, with a stimulus for comparison.
"After the first reasoning it was decided, with the municipality, not to build a new museum, but to distribute the budget of a new building over 10 years, offering it to a new experimentation and this was a very original idea: not to create a yet another container that perhaps would soon fill up, but work on the existing, on the idea of a radical museum participated not only with conservators but also with citizens ”, declares Italo Rota.
It has become a way to optimize a heritage and make a project circular and sustainable that has produced a model already recognized as one of the most interesting at international level, because it works with and for the community. “Talking about sustainability means talking about a new aesthetic”, continues Rota. “Everything we do belongs to a perspective of reinvention, reuse, re-circulation. Just as we talk about the circular economy, we can talk about circular knowledge. An idea close to the concept of Mutation, perhaps the most necessary quality for current architecture, if mutation is the characteristic that will allow us to respond to a reality made up of changes, such as, to remain current, the Coronavirus ".
A recent experiment, during the pandemic, was, for example, to bring the school into the museum: five primary classes worked directly with historical materials in a sort of live laboratory. The spatial container recalls a sort of moving time tunnel connected by an ascent system, the walls lined with special wallpapers, which change nuances from age to age in dialogue with the works on display, the boiseries that include objects and videos, the brushstrokes of polychrome lights.
Each section was the subject of a filmic montage of space-time frames that welcome changes in register declined in a mixture of shapes, materials and colors. The transparent offices are also part of the exhibition itinerary, with large picture windows through which the museum's conservators can be seen at work. They represent an enrichment of the museum experience of knowledge with a view to serendipity. Without forgetting that the third floor of the museum will soon be completed, more specifically reserved for experimentation.