Postcard from... Como


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The Independent Online

Being an “starchitect” isn’t always easy – at least not in Italy. While New York is celebrating star designer Daniel Libeskind’s work at Ground Zero, locals in Como have snubbed plans for a 20-metre high Libeskind monument in the middle of their famous lake.

To mark next year’s Expo 2015 World Fair in Milan, the business association, Friends of Como, asked Libeskind to design a standout monument for Como; one that would also pay tribute to the local scientist Alessandro Volta. Daniele Brunati of the association told La Stampa: “It will be a contemporary work of art, a transparent and shining icon, with a light but complex profile, made from innovative materials and technologies. It will become a tourist attraction.”

But the idea of placing a seven-storey-high object smack bang in the middle of one Italy’s most celebrated beauty spots, has gone down like a lead balloon among some locals, with the architects guild leading the opposition. Order of Architects president Michael Pierpaoli said: “We don’t dispute the quality of the project, but the location will bring the work into conflict with the delicacy of the landscape.” In other words, it would ruin one of northern Italy’s most beautiful vistas.

In facing opposition to bringing his modern designs to Italy, Daniel Libeskind is in good company. Italy’s own starchitect Renzo Piano had a tough time in Trento realising his modern science museum. Baroque Italy has yet to be convinced of the need for new-fangled things.