local boys, Turin style

November 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

20131109-201657.jpg. Ok, so actually Modena, in this guy’s case, but Turin was certainly his adopted town. A day off today, serious research-wise, but a full day to spend walking around Turin. Guarini Guarini was a Theatine monk who was an amateur mathematician and, eventually, court architect to the Savoy dukes in the late 17th century. Turin was a center of power and wealth at the time, and this is one of two churches that he did within about 100m of one another. The Sindone Chapel, the more famous one, suffered a fire fifteen years ago and is still under restoration, but this one, the Real Chiesa DI San Lorenzo (1687), is no slouch’ especially for an amateur. You can see the mathematical influence at work in the ribs, which are laid out in four pairs–each one of which connect nodes that are three corners apart. So you can “follow” the ribs as they bounce around the dome, a really captivating balance of visual statics and dynamics.

20131109-203607.jpg and speaking of dynamics, another famous son of Turin (again, more of an adopted son, by bear with me) was Battista “Pinin” Farina, whose automotive design firm was founded there, eventually working with both Ferrari and Fiat on some of the postwar eras most iconic designs. In addition to the Nervi and Guarini buildings (and a Egyptian museum, and oh, yes, a shroud…) Turin has a world class automotive museum that was assembled and built with Fiat resources, but that is remarkably global in its collection. My car-nerd days are largely past, but the classics still strike a chord with me. I think it’s the same sense of a really clear design emerging from hugely constraining circumstances–or, maybe, I just haven’t outgrown the 15-year old in me after all.

20131109-204341.jpg I mean, come on…that is a beautiful, beautiful thing, isn’t it?

On to Milan, where one or two more beautiful things await…

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