|Not Columbus, not 1972|
Our introduction to postmodernism came, in of all places, Columbus Ohio--not, or not then, a pacesetter in architecture. We were tourists, and we arranged to eat dinner in one of the city's trendy new restaurants. The place occupied a long-narrow space several feet below street level, and everything was painted black. To our surprise, the resturateur and his designer had made only the most minimal effort to cover up the "guts" of the place--the ductwork and electrical cables that made the place function, the old brick. No lowered ceiling, no styrafoam ceiling panels, no wall paneling. Painted black, yes, but hardly invisible; indeed, right in your face. It was 1972 or 1973.
|More Pompidou Center|
|Probably a film projector|
By this definition at least, Rome has come late, and barely, to the postmodern revolution. Renzo Piano was no help. Although Rome would be the site of one of his best buildings--the Parco della Musica--it shows not a hint of the architect's place in the postmodern pantheon. Not a duct in sight.
We've found two examples of what we'll call Pompidou Postmodernism in Rome: one in architecture, the other in product design.
|The beast unveiled|
|Exposed girders at MACRO|
The building we have in mind is one of our favorites: the MACRO gallery, in the Nomentana quartiere. It's a lovely combination of sleek, curvilinear modernism and defiant Pomidou Postmodernism.
While the bathrooms are aggressively modern--whether they can actually be used, we can't say (oh, yes we can, says Dianne), but they sure look good--that and other modernist flourishes succeed in part because of the postmodern environment in which they're embedded: the exposed steel girders, with bolts and all, there to remind visitors of the brewery that once operated on the grounds.
|Revealing glass elevator, Macro|
For more pictures of MACRO, see an earlier post.
|Modern, streamlined muscle|