Casa del Sole

Estate of Carlo Mollino

February 21, 2008–April 04, 2008

Salon 94

Salon 94 is proud to present its third exhibition of the work of Carlo Mollino. It is the first exhibition of his architecture and furniture design, for which he is mostly widely known. Carlo Mollino, (1905-1973) was an Italian architect, designer, photographer, and theoretician of architecture, photography, skiing, and all things modern. This exhibition focuses on his Casa del Sole, a building in the Alpine town of Cervinia, which both informs modern Alpine design following it and underscores Mollino’s deep seeded commitment to modernity.

In his “Taboos and Tradition in Mountain Construction,” (1954), Mollino wrote: “today, imitating shapes and veiling structures of ancient buildings that are the outcome of material availabilities and specific destinations that no longer exist or that have changed, is like building the scenography of a non-existent reality.” Mollino sought to break from what he saw as “romantic, folkloric” mountain architecture in an effort to create a structure contemporary to his own time. This break from the existing architecture of the region is for Mollino, interestingly, keeping with tradition: the older buildings in the area reflect their periods, while his reflects the aesthetic and material of his time.

The cement edifice of the building is divided into nine stories and is asymmetrically surmounted by a wooden cabin. This cabin on the roof lends the building an off-balance appearance, further alienating it from the surrounding mountain buildings. The architecture is both modern and utilitarian, as all doors, windows, and surfaces are essential and simple. Within the building are twenty apartments and various amenities to residents: a restaurant, dry cleaners, and the like. The coexistence of the apartments and services is also both functional and modern. The remoteness of the location demands these services be on hand for the wealthy inhabitants, while it also reflects a certain belief in the total environment where everything is accessible in one space.

Each unit in the building is fitted around a fireplace, around which Mollino has designed identical tables and chairs reflecting his unique interpretation of rationalism. The queen sized beds are comprised of two parts that can be stacked as bunk beds if necessary. This aesthetic efficiency is evident also in cupboards that disappear behind boiseries. The Casa del Sole is the only of Mollino’s buildings where each space is composed of serial elements that contribute to a ‘housing unit’ or unita abitative.

The exhibition is comprised of unseen materials relating to the design and construction of the Casa del Sole, as well as Mollino’s research into Alpine architecture. The furniture from Casa del Sole exhibited is executed in durmast and chestnut wood. It exemplifies Mollino’s simplicity of design and represents the most mature phase in his oeuvre, characterized by attention to the structural essence of the project and a strong architectural quality.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a full color catalogue on the Casa del Sole is being published by the Carlo Mollino estate, along with Salon 94.

The exhibition is comprised of unseen materials relating to the design and construction of the Casa del Sole, as well as Mollino’s research into Alpine architecture. The furniture from Casa del Sole exhibited is executed in durmast and chestnut wood. It exemplifies Mollino’s simplicity of design and represents the most mature phase in his oeuvre, characterized by attention to the structural essence of the project and a strong architectural quality.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a full color catalogue on the Casa del Sole is being published by the Carlo Mollino estate, along with Salon 94.

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