Interviews - Commissariato Italiano Esposizione Universale di Shanghai 2010

Silvana Annicchiarico
Silvana Annicchiarico

“Italy of the people at Shanghai”
An interview with the Director of the Design Museum at the Triennale di Milano, Silvana Annicchiarico.

'Italian urban culture has never been and never will be just the culture of architects, city planners, princes and courts, but it has always been and will always be the culture of its citizens. It is for this very reason, in my opinion, that the Italian historical cities have avoided homologation in the name of modernity'.

This has been strongly stressed by Silvana Annicchiarico, director at the Design Museum of the Triennale of Milan and partner of the Italian Commissariat for the development of the concept.

'This is probably the unrepeatable uniqueness of the Italian urban model and its main difference from the dominating models in oriental and american geopolitical areas today. In Italy it is the individual who is at the centre of his development. An all Italian cultural model which shows how our country has had the capacity to progressively absorb and integrate all the cultural patterns derived from all the political trends without wiping out its past' claims Annicchiarico.

It is not a mystery that the Italian cities throughout history have managed to fuse and harmonize the Greek, Etruscan, Latin and later the Arab, Aragonite, French, Spanish and German cultures.

'The Italian city is multilingual and made up of multiple layers, where the new never cancels out the old, but absorbs it and remodels it keeping its memory alive', Annicchiarico points out.

A unique specimen, a privilege that, objectively, has made the Italian city the most beautiful and unique in the world which has made the citizen feel a sense of pride and belonging to his city building his individual and collective identity. ‘Most of the time Italians have lived with the perception of living in a unique and unrepeatable places'.

'I believe' concludes Annaicchiarico, 'that the Italian presence at Shanghai must somehow represent these elements, which are its own: the syncretism, the belonging, the identity are absolutely necessary in the city of the future in order to give its inhabitants a better life'.

An example and an idea, which is, in fact ancient. 'Since the middle ages Italy has been the only western country that has developed incredible models of cultural fusion between east and west. Just think about Marco Polo and his II Milione'.