Repubblica / 8 April 2014 / Italy
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Or read below the english version of Rem Koolhaas’s interview to Repubblica: ”
DO NOT call him archistar. Rem Koolhaas does not really like it at all. But words aside, the architecture has made him a celebrity on a global scale (to speak with him you slalom between conferences and airports). Award-winning (Golden Lion, the Pritzker Prize and Imperial Japan Award), director of this year’s Biennale of Architecture di Venezia, Koolhaas has changed the perception of the city with half a dozen revolutionaries books as Delirious New York. His firm OMA (over 300 people) produces one of the most controversial and acclaimed architecture, one in all the CCTV Beijing headquarters of the Chinese broadcast television company (hyper imaginative but also iperconservatrice due to state censorship). He comes back to Milan frequently, especially for his collaboration with Prada: he disegns its shops, and its fashion shows and he is now working on the project of their new headquarter in Largo Isarco, an industrial area built in the early twentieth century.
What is your opinion about Milan?
“It’s a complex city. Consisting of very similar pieces juxtaposed and added together. This makes orientation difficult. Sometimes to get through that I have the impression that I never move, but I continue to move in a circle.”
Do you like Milan?
Yes, I like complexity.
How does the new Prada Foundation deal with complexity?
“I imagined a nine-storey glass tower, a staple in this swirling vision, a skyline observatory. Around it we have designed an unpredictable space, which condenses wide variety of content and allows full freedom of use. The new buildings coexist with three historical ones. ”
How are the contruction works going?
We are going fast, very fast, we will be ready for the Expo.
What does Milan represent in the design world?
There is the largest concentration of creative minds, something which goes beyond the intellectual knowledge. Here, there is the ‘know how’ to do. Apart from intuitions and ideas, Milan also found the way to make them real. Last year, at the Salone, we presented a series of office furnitures for Knoll and I experienced myself, the skill and the quality that you can find here.
Is it the quality of italian design?
It also belongs to fashion. It is the ability to translate an idea into a product. Something which goes beyond immagination, it relates to the facts, with the materials.
What are you going to show this year at Salone?
An hommage to the belgian designer Maarten Van Severen, passed away in 2005: two films on screen at Triennale and a show for Lensvelt (via Ventura 5, Lambrate district)
How do you deal with the Salone week?
I like to be there but i try to stay away from crowd. Perhaps because of my claustrophobia, I get afraid and excited at the same time.
What do you think about italian design?
My Biennale will give the answer. It is divided in three parts, the one at Arsenale will be dedicated to Italy. It will be a scan/ a survey of your Country, featuring my italian architects’ and designers’ friends but also my passion for Italy, his history, his music, his art.
Will it be referred to the past or to the future?
To both of them
Any young italian talent to keep an ey on?
Many. The 10% of the designers in my office are italians.
I am sorry but I have to go, my plane will take off in few minutes.