Gallery & Culture Club
Patricia Urquiola designs the new Jewelry Museum in the historic Palladian Basilica in Vicenza, Italy.
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Spanish-born, Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola discusses the recently completed Jewelry Museum she created inside the historic Palladian Basilica in Vincenza, Italy:
The museum's curator and director, Alba Cappellieri, is a professor of jewelry design at Milan Polytechnic and a leading scholar of jewelry in Italy. She followed the project from the beginning, and together with Fiera di Vicenza, devised, financed, and managed it. A particular request of Cappellieri was to have the displays and showcases not line the wall but be at the center of each room, to emphasize and focus on the jewels.
The space, which is located in the heart of the Basilica Palladiana a historic 16th-century building and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, confers on the museum a high artistic worth. It's a place where the Renaissance and the modern era come together. We offered it a new vision. It was a challenge to create a dialogue between an emblematic icon like the Basilica Palladiana and a reinterpretation of how jewelry-the real star of the show-should be represented within its walls. The museum creates a symbolic path between containers and casings, from the marble loggias, with their Palladian windows; to the museum rooms; to the display cases and stands; to the jewelry.
In addition to the artistic design of the galleries and the "Accessory" spaces, including a bookshop, we were also in charge of the artistic direction of the new architectural elements-in particular, the staircase that connects the ground floor with the first floor. For the restoration part of the process, our studio cooperated with the experts of Comune di Vicenza and Fiera di Vicenza, mainly to solve all the technical aspects related to the equipment. I also designed all furniture, which was produced by two different Italian producers: Molteni realized the showcases and the museum furniture, and Bieffe produced the bookshop furniture. The showcases are made of MDF wood and metal, with a lacquered metal effect in gold, copper, and Corten.
The showcases for the jewelry were specially designed for the museum with the intention of creating nonconventional elements that could meet the programming requirements as well as be evocative of the nine different themes represented: Beauty, Function, Magic, Symbols, Art, Fashion, Design, Icons, and New Scenarios. In each room, the display cases vary according to the theme, with the exception of Art, Fashion, and Design rooms, which are of the same type yet composed in different ways.
Once inside the 500-square-meter space, visitors don't follow a chronological itinerary: The nine themes suggest an emotional path. The museum is conceived as a dynamic space designed for both experts and newer, younger generations. Visitorsare involved in an unusual aesthetic and exploratory experience. The display cases and casings capture the attention of the visitors and represent "micro-worlds" containing the museum's protagonists: the jewels.