Interview: Italian architecture in spotlight at Shanghai Expo: architect

11:17, April 19, 2010      

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For the first time in history, Italian architecture will be presented to the Chinese public at the Shanghai Expo as national top excellence blending design and technology, a leading architect told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Italy's top design is not merely the Ferrari, fashion and good food but also our century-old architecture that has created such marvels as the Leaning Tower of Pisa," Braccio Oddi Baglioni said.

Oddi Baglioni, president of the Italian Association of Engineering, Architectural and Technical-Economic Consulting Organizations (OICE), looks forward to the expo as an opportunity to spread awareness on this particular form of Italian know-how and concepts.

In fact, architecture has always been considered as a sort of "Cinderella" among Italy's excellences and the OICE president believes it's time to change the perspective by boosting promotion efforts.

"The occasion for doing this is the Shanghai Expo, where for the first time Italian architecture will be given the place it deserves with a one-month exhibition titled 'Italian High Design and Quality,' scheduled for September. It's a real record, especially since it will also be the first time we organize an exhibition in China."

The exposition will be showcasing 10 projects that have passed an international online competition for the restyling of the Old Silk Road, a strategic commercial path in ancient times leading from Europe to China and traveled by Marco Polo and other Venetian merchants.

The winning projects will be placed on a three-dimensional map of the Silk Road, running for 20 meters along one of the walls of the exposition room.

"The Silk Road has always represented a bridge between Italy and China. Through the online competition we aim to launch a cultural challenge and foster innovative ideas on how to make the ancient path relive under a modern perspective in a bid to further unite our two worlds," Oddi Baglioni said.

"Everyone can take part in the competition, both Italians and Chinese, designers, poets and writers as well, though I believe the majority of participants will be architects," he said.

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