Scuola Grande della Misericordia

Venice. 20 May – 2 June 2021

From Tuesday to Sunday – From 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
Limited admissions

Exhibition curated by Domitilla Dardi


Running at the same time as the Venice Biennale of Architecture, an exhibition at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia celebrates the 10-year collaboration between Alcantara and the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts.

The research on contemporary design topics, which has characterized the partnership between the company and the museum since 2011, is being presented in Venice as a recount of the Studio Visit project which, curated by Domitilla Dardi (MAXXI Design Curator), has constructed a dialogue in the last four years between the Masters of the past and those of the present, invited to provide a key to understanding the architectural-design heritage by using Alcantara® as their principal language of interpretation.

For each edition of “Studio Visit” the authors (Nanda Vigo, Formafantasma, Konstantin Grcic and Neri&Hu, who will be presenting the results of their collaboration at MAXXI this coming Autumn) have been invited to dialogue with the work of one or more Masters of the MAXXI’s permanent architecture collection, and to render their own personal vision of it. Each designer has dedicated time to researching the archives, perfectly free to choose any topic or work. The results of their considerations have been presented on various occasions in the museum halls, in a way that resembles an atelier, a “studio” open to the public and presented in the form of an installation.

The Venetian event briefly recounts the four stages of the Studio Visit, by offering unprecedented details of the three projects already showcased at the MAXXI and giving a special preview of the exhibition scheduled to open at the end of 2021.

Nanda Vigo has chosen the stellar architecture of Paolo Soleri. For his Arch-Arcology, presented at the MAXXI in 2018, “Space IV”, the great scroll of the drawing for a stellar city imagined by Soleri in 1984, is the origin of a reinterpretation conferring an original three-dimensional extrusion to that vision which, when flooded with electric blue light, transforms the space into a total environment.

For Nervi in the making, inaugurated in 2019, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin (Formafantasma) have approached the archives of the undisputed master of design applied to reinforced concrete structures, Pier Luigi Nervi, and have re-read the structural lesson to fully understand his work on this material, only to discover some unprecedented and surprising analogies with another material that would seem to be quite different, but which, likewise, has been created to design the future: Alcantara®.

Konstantin Grcic with his project titled L’immaginazione al Potere (Power to Imagination) exhibited in 2020, has identified a connective thread, that of fantastical architecture, by directly associating it with the invention of Alcantara®. On one hand, the German designer has focused on three Italian Masters who were active in the post-war period – Sergio Musmeci, Giuseppe Perugini and Maurizio Sacripanti – and on the other hand, on the contemporary Lebanese architect – Bernard Khoury. Using Alcantara, the designer has created a fantastical landscape, on the borderline between reality and a surreal dimension, while reflecting on such topical themes as the dialogue between nature and artifice, between man and technology.

Finally, for the next edition of the project, Neri&Hu studio with Transversing Thresholds has chosen to address one of the greatest authors whose work is comprised in the MAXXI archives, Carlo Scarpa, by building a cultural bridge between the western and eastern worlds, between sensitivity and vision. The authors have identified the Scarpian interpretation in the notion of “threshold”, a concept existing in both the Chinese ‘jian’, and in the Japanese ‘ma’, which reappears in the spatial passages of the Italian Master.  The installation designed by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu reinterprets Scarpa’s vision in its central nodes: the invention of detail, the dialogue between solids and voids, the creative combination of materials.  It is in this latter ambit that the presence of Alcantara, with the full potential offered by its versatility, makes the work an authentic nexus between past and present.

Alcantara has placed at the disposal of each of these exhibitions its exceptional properties of flexibility and formal interpretation, qualities that are equally essential to the performance of a conceptual research. In this way, textural experimentation and study materials have revealed a close analogy that has triggered new thinking.

The three works by Nanda Vigo, Formafantasma and Konstantin Grcic are now part of the MAXXI Architecture permanent collection; the same will apply to the project by Neri&Hu.

The installation designed for the Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice gives a dedicated showcase to each of the projects. Four multimedia boxes greet the visitor with detailed contents: videos, interviews, images of original drawings executed by the Masters of the past, together with the results of the contemporary designers’ studies.

The partnership between a Museum, in this case the MAXXI, an icon of experimentation and cultural innovation, and a company, that of Alcantara, whose dialogue with creativity is one of its founding values, has led to the definition of a new form of cultural collaboration in the art world.

The exhibition titled STUDIO VISIT. ALCANTARA-MAXXI PROJECT will be open to the public in compliance with governmental directives, until 2 June 2021.

The press folder and a selection of images may be downloaded from the reserved area of the MAXXI Foundation site at  by entering the password areariservatamaxxi and from the Alcantara website | |

MAXXI PRESS OFFICE +39 06 324861


From Tuesday to Sunday – From 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
Limited admissions