Neri&Hu reinterpret Scarpa

The architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu interpret the work of Carlo Scarpa at the MAXXI in Rome

A bridge between west and east: the exhibition Neri&Hu: Traversing Thresholds curated by Domitilla Dardi is on view at the MAXXI in Rome until 13 March 2022.

Neri&Hu, the design studio based in Shanghai founded by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, approaches Scarpa’s legacy with an installation that re-examines the great master’s vision in its key points, namely the importance of detail, the dialogue between fullness and emptiness, and the creative juxtaposition of materials.

Lyndon Neri&Rossana Hu, photo by Jiaxi Yang Zhu Zhe

A very personal reading on the part of Neri&Hu, centered on the notion of the threshold seen in architectural terms as the physical mediation between two contrasting spatial conditions, inner and outer, public and private.

The concept of the threshold is reflected in the Chinese jian and the Japanese ma, indicating space or pause, as can be observed in the spatial passages of the famous Italian architect: “Reflecting on the threshold, this idea of jian can be understood as space, a middle element, or also as time,” Lyndon Neri explains.

“It is the space of a gap,” Rossana Hu adds, “but also a pause if we think about time; therefore it is not just a space, but a sort of abstract concept between space and time or between two structural elements. A certain empty something as opposed to something that fills up, almost like the rests in music.”

Floating Datum
Off Axis

An original, precise and powerful narrative that develops in six key passages of Scarpa’s architecture: Pivot Plane, Eroded Corner, Inserted Landscape, Floating Datum, Slit Window, Off-Axis. Six windows on cherished themes, such as the subtraction of fullness, the dialogue between materials, the suspension of gravity, the perspective progression of space, the shifting of structural axes.

“Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri have given us a different viewpoint on Carlo Scarpa’s work, one of the most precious elements of the architectural archives of MAXXI,” the curator Domitilla Dardi explains. “Through the concept of the threshold, the sense of space as pathway and passage opens to an oriental design sensibility, latent in Scarpa’s work and revealed in this installation by contemporary architects.”

The exhibition is the fourth stage of Studio Visit, a format of the Alcantara-MAXXI project that juxtaposes masters of the past and present, inviting designers to offer a personal interpretation of the great architects included in the museum’s collections, while using Alcantara as their main material.