Photo / text Hadrian Tombak
Editor Shavira Anandiara
Together with Gabriela Adeline, I had a quick sip of an utterly beautiful city just one hour away from Milan. On one fine day in autumn we visited Bologna, where people believe that ragù, or widely known as bolognese sauce was firstly concocted in this city.
Our paths were instantly guided to La Scalinata del Pincio. The infamous stairways which was renovated in 2014, acts as a public platform that connects Via Indipendenza and Parco della Montagnola. Each steps gave us a refined experience of urban spatial, where us-pedestrians, could stare at our extraordinary surroundings with a whole new perspectives, breath the energy and ever-changing mood of Bologna with an elevated view.
We visited Showroom Gavina, one of Bologna’s hidden contemporary gem among medieval richness which was built in the 60s by Italian modernist master in architecture and design, Carlo Scarpa. Carlo Scarpa is known for his deep interest towards geometrical interlocking façade, which can be seen from his solution for the showroom. The external façade was covered with a large concrete plate pierced by large round windows, which then became one of the most singular places in the urban landscape that generated violent polemics in the name of conservation and respect for the ancient city at that time. However, his masterpieces in the city along with Showroom Gavina have always been destinations for international visitors, and today we can serenely recognise this work as a cornerstone of Italian contemporary architecture.
Another modern magnet we stumbled into was Shoah Memorial, designed by Rome-based SET Architects, that won the first prize competition for jewish memorial. The twin rustic metal boxes are situated in the city square framed by Via dé Carracci and Ponte Matteotti, greeting the influx of visitors to the city from the new train station located just across the way. It is composed by two massive asymmetrical steel boxes that stand within a break in the existing walls of the plaza, the narrow opening was designed to make visitors empathise with the “feeling of oppression” experienced by Holocaust victims. It was deeply emotional while we were entering the path. We felt a great emotional power and reflected on the biggest tragedy that happened in history. These majestic monuments sincerely stimulated our sensibility to narrate the past.
Balanced with a harmonious medieval medley of basilicas and piazzas adorned with miles of charming porticos, Bologna is often called La Rossa - The Red One; a city with a condensed shades of red for its eternal terracotta roofs. We sank deeper into the city and we found ourselves in love with our surroundings’ energetic pulse, as we realised that Bologna certainly has its unique allure of interweave ancient and contemporary values in art, architecture and education.