The Vertical on Piazza Duomo

Posted in Artworks

Already since 1959, Gruppo T had teamed up with Lucio Fontana for a number of large scale projects, which have remained unbuilt: among others, the one for Torre del Parco in Milan on the occasion of the 12th Milan Triennial in 1960. Giovanni Anceschi realised its only surviving model. It was a tensostructure to be arranged next to Torre del Parco, where a bundle of aluminum wires interrupted by large concave triangular laminae would have descended along the metallic structure down to the ground. A flow of air generated by gigantic fans for theatrical use would have stirred them, with large military spotlights to illuminate them (this description is based on the testimony by Alfonso Grassi, a member of Mid group).

On this background, possibly, Gruppo T was invited in 1962 to participate to the public initiative called Parata Luci (Light Parade) organised by the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce of Milan. The president of the artistic committee of Parata luci was Bruno Munari. Together with Gruppo T, a variety of architects, designers and artists was invited. Among them, Enzo Mari worked in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and Massimo Vignelli invented the “Radiolari di Natale” for the street lamps of Piazza della Scala.

Vittoriano Viganò, a brutalist Milanese architect, was equally involved in the Parata Luci. In the 1920s his father Vico had been obsessed with the project of a net-gothic tower on Piazza Duomo as a bell tower for the cathedral. Benito Mussolini had been proposed the project but failed to take a decision when the building was blocked by the war and never completed.

Vittoriano Viganò, in order to pay an homage to his father and his unbuilt project, proposed to Munari to build a 100-meter tall tower. Munari involved Gruppo T, who designed an ever-changing light and sound installation measuring 10×10×100 meters, made of metallic elements picked from Praticus scaffolding materials catalogue and mobile semitransparent coloured panels. The variation was obtained through light sources and the rotation of panels due to the wind. The sound design was curated by Livio Castiglioni. Joe Colombo took the photographs documenting the Vertical on Piazza Duomo.

Anty Pansera, Fontana alla Triennale ovvero Fontana o del progetto, in Enrico Crispolti (ed.), Centenario di Lucio Fontana, Charta, Milan 1999, p. 162.