Mantua: the Bridal Chamber has been waiting for two years, but there is talk of floating towers

From Mantua yet another grotesque heritage affair. A floating tower is planned, while the Bridal Chamber has been waiting for two years to reopen.

Were it not for the fact that the project will be financed in large part by public entities, there would also be smiles. There has been talk in Mantua for some time about the project that yet another archistar (by the way: what a horrendous term) who has arrived on Italian soil would like to foist on the unfortunate people of the day, in this case the Mantuans themselves. The architect in question is Eduardo Souto de Moura, and the project is a floating pavilion to be built forExpo 2015.

The fact is that only in recent days have we learned, in more detail, about Souto de Moura’s intentions. The day before yesterday, an article in Corriere della Sera spoke of “a tower rising from the waters of the Lower Lake,” “on three floors” and positioned near the San Giorgio bridge. On April 1 (and unfortunately, this is no joke), the Gazzetta di Mantova published Souto de Moura’s drawings on its website, and if we look at this one in particular we can easily understand what the Portuguese architect has in mind. Namely, a square skittle at the mouth of the San Giorgio bridge that will obviously impact the most famous of Mantua’s views, the one from which the city’s towers can be admired from the very area where the tower will be installed:

Panorama di Mantova dal Ponte di San Giorgio
Original photo:

The marketing creatives are therefore going far beyond their capabilities: after all, placing billboards on monuments under restoration has become commonplace by now, so why not propose a nice, grizzled panorama on which the Expo 2015 logo will stand out, which will inevitably enter all photos of the Mantua panorama? And anyway, the most grotesque aspects of this whole affair are at least three. The first: an October article, also in Corriere della Sera, said that “if the innovative work will also respect aesthetic canons while respecting the city’s architectural balance, the pavilion will become a permanent work of Mantua.” So in the worst case scenario Souto de Moura’s turret will continue to roam around Mantua’s lakes: if this hypothesis is a reality, we hope that at least the administration will have the good sense to remove it from the San Giorgio bridge.

The second aspect: the cost of the project, in the most recent article of those mentioned so far, is estimated at 450 thousand euros. All this while what is probably the most interesting work of contemporary art in Mantua, the so-called Suspended Factory designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, risks abandonment. And the whole thing is even more unbelievable if we think that at the end of 2012, an exhibition was dedicated to the Sospesa Fabbrica at Palazzo Te, and in the meantime the real work of art, the Sospesa Fabbrica precisely, announced that it was closing its doors, leaving almost two hundred employees of the Burgo Paper Mill that operated right inside the Fabbrica at home. These are jobs that the Burgo employees in Mantua, who are currently on layoff, are still fighting for. And so it is for this reason that there are those who are proposing to drop the plans for floating pavilions and instead focus on the Factory, which could become Mantua’s real calling card for Expo 2015 and will be able to return to providing job opportunities for Burgo employees. Also because the closure of work activities will only lead to the degradation of the place.

The third aspect: in Mantua, the Bridal Chamber has been waiting for its reopening for more than two years, due to bureaucratic delays, and it is feared that the reopening may even slip to 2015. Or to the fall of this year, if that’s okay. Does it make sense that the city’s real artistic heritage, the one that educates citizens and moreover constitutes an important source of income for Mantua, because since the Camera picta was closed over <a href=’’ target=’_blank>120 thousand visitors</a> have been lost, should encounter difficulties and obstacles and have to remain closed for about three years, while instead a probably ephemeral work that was not felt to be necessary will be realized in a very short time?

But then again, we know well the care our administrations take of workers and heritage, and we also know their passion for marketing. And not much good can be expected from this combination.

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