Filippo Brunelleschi and his Dome

By Asia Leonardi for the Carl Kruse Arts Blog

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), architect and engineer, sculptor and painter, is universally considered the pioneer of the Italian Renaissance and the creator of an approach to architecture that would dominate the European art scene, at least until the end of the 19th century. Through a passionate study of antiquity that brought him several times to Rome starting from 1402, he reacted to the anti-classicism of late Gothic architecture and artistic culture, referring consistently to the language of the ancients and proposing new design systems based on modular structures. The keystone of this cultural and technical turning point was the invention of the vanishing point perspective in which the great technological tradition of Tuscan architects and masters was combined with the new trends of scientific thought, all converging towards the ever-increasing use of mathematical tools in the study of reality.

By unifying all orthogonal lines towards a single vanishing point, the scientific rules were built to objectively measure the decrease in depth of bodies inserted in space. The  Florentine artist was among the first to elaborate and use rules and numerical relationships in the architectural construction of space and figurative representation. And this, together with the effort to identify the geometric principles used to organize the reproduction and creation of space, was the basis of a return to antiquity.

Architecture was for Brunelleschi a tool for mathematical control of design. Classical architecture is understood as an example of the exact measurability of space, as a clear example of the concrete possibility of subjecting the whole substantial reality of architectural space to rigorous mathematical formulas.

 

With Brunelleschi, a new system of organization of the construction site and of construction work came about and the new social figure of the architect was born.

The architect was no longer a superintendent of works, endowed with equal dignity concerning workers to a large extent operating on an autonomous level concerning him, as was the case in the Middle Ages, but an intellectual, cultured, an updated figure, who conceived and prepared the project and the details of the building, to which the activity of the workers, artisans, and contractors engaged in the work had to be instructed.

It was the end of the ancient organization of building activity, which had supported and achieved the great Florentine, and more generally Tuscan urban expansion of the 12th and 13th centuries. In a new relationship with the client, the new artist, as was outlined in the Bruneschellian experience, was a well-defined figure in his individuality, who ventured into the field of artistic innovation with a new, freer and more secular spirit.

But the figure of Brunelleschi would still be unclear if we did not put him in his historical context, in his place, that is, in Florence at the height of its territorial expansion and closely linked to its republican institutions. In the first sixty years of the fifteenth century Filippo Brunelleschi, Masaccio and Beato Angelico, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, and Lorenzo Ghiberti, Paolo Uccello and Filippo Lippi, Leon Battista Alberti, Luca Della Robbia, and other artists lived and worked in Florence, all animated by the same effort of cultural transformation, all converging in outlining the contents of new art and a new artistic figure.

Why, we might ask, did this constellation of artists come together in Florence? The early Renaissance artists, like few other examples in history (and the comparison with the Athens of the 5th century BC, although abused, may be useful), was configured as the expression, in the work of artists, of a cultural renewal that affected the entire city.

Thus, the desire of the artists to revive the noble classical prototypes was linked to the fervor of literary and humanistic studies and above all to the investigation, the enhancement of the virtues of the ancients, to the awareness that they could relive – indeed, that they were living – in contemporary Florence.

The Search for Measures and Proportions: Inspiration From the Classic

The trip to Rome (between 1402 and 1404) with Donatello was decisive for the formation of Brunelleschi’s architectural ideas. While his friend was more interested in the still visible examples of ancient sculpture, Brunelleschi studied the proportion of buildings and construction techniques. From Rome he returned with the idea that the architect should invent the overall structure of the building in proportional terms: concentrate on those, as the value and beauty of the work depended on them, and abolish the superstructure of the decorative elements, so dear to Gothic architecture. The assumption of ancient orders served this purpose: to limit the structural and decorative uncertainty of the Gothic to a reduced and correlated case study, according to ancient rules. The distance between two columns, to give an example, does not determine the height of the pointed arch thrown above them but instead defines the height of a round arch that joins them and allows to proportion the measures of the base and those of the height of the arch. The column, the pillar, the pilaster, the entablature, the round arch were the indispensable ingredients of an architectural practice that had, as its primary purpose, the creation of modular structures and the geometric rationalization of the plans and elevations. This is the radical innovation of the architectural practice made by Brunelleschi, who gave concrete proof of it in the buildings, secular or ecclesiastical, entrusted to him by the Florentine public groups and, more rarely, also by some private clients.

 The Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Brunelleschi’s meditations on radial harmony developed during a long gestation resulting in one of his most daring and complex projects, the very symbol of the Florentine Renaissance and one of his best-known works in the world: the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore.

He was involved in it from 1417 until his death, through successive phases in which the various components of the colossal project were progressively developed: the huge converging caps raised in the void upwards, above the drum; the final lantern, keystone of the dome (completed around 1460, after the artist’s death); the dead stands, decorative elements but also buttresses of the formidable lateral thrusts caused by the large dome. Brunelleschi’s genius in this undertaking, as has been repeatedly noted, did not consist so much in the conception of the pointed arch shape of the dome, which was forced by objective requirements (for such dimensions it was not possible to think of using a hemispherical shape ), as in the ability to prepare the tools to complete the work (construction systems, machinery) and in the correct planning of the work phases.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - diagram

Problems Posed by Construction.

The conclusion of the large apse tribune of Santa Maria del Fiore, by Arnolfo di Cambio (1367), and the subsequent erection of the massive octagonal drum (1413) with its four meter-thick walls, had left open the difficult problem of completing construction of the cathedral through an enormous dome, already foreseen by the original Arnolfian project. The opening that was intended to be covered by the dome, almost forty-two meters in diameter, was slightly smaller than the largest dome of antiquity, the Pantheon.

Following the competition launched at the Opera del Duomo in 1418, the construction of the dome was entrusted to Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, who were proclaimed winners after their joint a model of the project. The work began in 1420 and with that also disagreements between the two artists, and in 1426 Brunelleschi found himself with sole responsibility, something new for him, of the direction of the works.

The great innovation he introduced in the construction of the brick dome, supported by eight large white ribs, was the use of a load-bearing structure in every major phase of the work. The choice was a must: at this distance above the ground, it was not conceivable to use wooden reinforcements (ribs), as the traditional technique required.

Project and Organization of Works.

By adopting a double cap, internal and external, Brunelleschi simplified and strengthened the construction, placing the external one, parallel to the first, on twenty-four supports raised above the segments of the internal dome. The external dome was designed for practical and aesthetic purposes, to better protect the building from water, and to make it appear, as the work of the cathedral demanded, more magnificent and spacious.

It was up to Brunelleschi to think of the mechanical devices necessary to solve the complex problems of installation. For example, to lift the building material on the scaffolding he provided platforms for the workers; he even designed special boats for the transport of marble and bricks along the Arno. He designed every aspect of the dome covering, a first in the history of modern architecture, the position of sole manager.

Religious Significance and Earthly Significance.

After sixteen years of intense work, the dome was consecrated on 25 March 1436 by Pope Eugene IV. From a symbolic-religious point of view, it represented the triumphal crown of the Virgin to whom the Florentine cathedral was dedicated. But far more important was the earthly, social, and political significance of the work. Emblem of a city that had expanded its borders, the dome rose, with its expanded volume, over the roofs of the medieval city, detaching itself from the underlying body of the basilica, demonstrating a new way of considering history and space. Admired from afar, against the background of the hills that surround Florence, the dome, for the essentialness of its lines, for the visual effect induced by the contrast between the red brick of the caps and the white curvilinear ribs, becomes the pulsating center of a large urban system; dominating the entire region. The effect it had on his contemporaries must have been great because, as Alberti wrote, it seemed to “cover all the Tuscan peoples with its shadow”. It is a work still linked to the spirit of the Gothic because it is based on the  calculation of structural forces in equilibrium, but the result of a new mentality as it redefines and re-proportioned the underlying building redesigns and subdues the surrounding area. However, it is a Renaissance work because, as the architectural historian Leonardo Benevolo wrote, it is the first “where the architect is not only a high-level consultant for a collective body of executors, but the only one responsible for the form, decoration, structure, and construction site organization”.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Sketch of Dome

 

Construction Techniques of the Dome

The size of the dome that was to be built forced Brunelleschi to adopt new solutions to solve extremely difficult technical problems, also aggravated by the considerable height. The work was entrusted to him not because he had presented a particularly compellingly shaped dome model, but because he had provided a coherent work plan for its construction.

Brunelleschi found solutions to thousands of practical questions, capturing the wonder and admiration of his contemporaries. Vasari lists some of these measures: Brunelleschi had organized a lighting system for the stairs and corridors that run, at various levels, between the internal and external envelope of the dome and had placed the iron support points there to make it easier go up and walk through those tunnels; he had arranged the support points for the scaffolding of whoever, in the future, would have wanted to decorate the inner shell with paintings or mosaics, as in fact happened.

 He had designed an elaborate rainwater drainage system; on the outside, he had even provided for “holes and several openings, so that the winds break, and the vapors together with earthquakes could not cause damage”. He went to the kilns to check that he was supplied with flawless bricks; he chose the stones one by one, making sure they weren’t cracked. He provided the stonecutters with models in wood and wax, and even carving them in turnips, in order to show them how the joints were to fix one stone to another. Nor could he overlook the problem of the organization of work. When the construction site gradually moved to higher altitudes, Vasari writes again, “workers lost a lot of time in going to dinner and drink, and they suffered great discomfort due to the heat of the day. It was therefore established by Filippo the order that taverns should have been opened in the dome with the kitchens, and wine should have been sold; and so no one would left work, except in the evening; which was to their convenience”. But the workers needed solid scaffolding to work safely at such high altitudes. At the beginning of the work, when the dome wall was still almost vertical, the scaffolding was supported by beams inserted into the wall, both inside and outside the building: but lastly, given the strong inclination of the masonry, he had to think of a different system. Filippo Brunelleschi designed a scaffolding suspended in the void, located in the center of the dome, probably supported by long beams on platforms fixed at lower altitudes. these platforms were also to serve as warehouses for materials and work tools. Brunelleschi had to take steps to lift the heavy bricks to the height of the installation.

He partly used traditional machines, derived from the construction practice of Gothic cathedrals, but he had to invent new ones, applying the multiplier system, invented for the manufacture of watches, which was able to increase the effectiveness of the strength of winches and pulleys. In such machines, the engine was driven by a couple of horses. By walking in circles, animals could rotate a vertical shaft. This, in turn, impressed it on a horizontal shaft from which the ropes that supported the loads, fixed at a height to pulleys, rolled and unwound. In this way bricks and stones could rise and fall through a difference in height of tens and tens of meters.

==============

Homepage: Carl Kruse
Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com
Other articles by Asia Leonardi focus on Maria Abramovic, Frida Kahlo and Forgotten Places.
Check out the other Carl Kruse blog at https://carlkruse.at
For those interested in green building construction find Carl Kruse at the USGBC here.

Simonetta Vespucci: Venus of the Renaissance


By Asia Leonardi


In the church of Florence of San Salvatore Ognissanti, where the secular exponents of her family are exhibited, rests today the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci in her secular sleep. But there was a time when the prodigious beauty was the inspiring muse of major Renaissance artists, such as Piero Cosimo, Verrocchio, Filippo Lippi, and one of the great interpreters of the Renaissance, Sandro Filipepi, known as Botticelli. The face of the lady was the most famous of the fifteenth century, reproduced in countless prints and on postcards depicting Renaissance masterpieces. Simonetta Vespucci was defined by her contemporaries as the “Living Venus.”

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Boticelli 2
Ritratto di Giovane donna, Botticelli, 1475-1480 Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
Carl Kruse Art Blog - Boticelli 1
Ritratto di Dama, Botticelli, 1475-1480, Städel Museum


Simonetta was born in Genoa (or Porto Venere) in the year 1453, from the noble family of Cattaneo, in decline after the fall of Constantinople, the city to which they had linked their trade. She was only 16 when she married Marco Vespucci, an acquaintance that came to her through her mother’s family, more precisely from the lord of Piombino, Iacopo III Altopiano. Marco Vespucci came from a
line of Florentine bankers, to which the well-known Amerigo belonged, the one who gave his name to America. It is known that at the time the marriage between the exponents of the wealthy classes did not contemplate the importance of feelings and was essentially a suitable contract for consolidating assets and alliances (remember, in this case, the sweet letters written by Eloisa
to her Abelard, three centuries earlier, which described marriage as captivity, and adultery alone as the principle of true love), the testimonies of the time attest that the groom was sincerely in love with Simonetta. The union of the two young people, due to the importance of the families involved, had a wide resonance and was celebrated in the presence of the Doge of Genoa and the
local aristocracy.

When Simonetta and Marco moved to Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent had just come to power. Under his enlightened government, and thanks to the skillful use of patronage as an instrument of political propaganda, Florence experienced a splendid cultural flowering. Theater of amazing encounters, crossed by minds such as Marsilio Ficino, Pico Della Mirandola, great painters such as Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, souls all close to the Medici, who became the protagonists of an unrepeatable artistic season that remains, in many respects, unmatched throughout history.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Simonetta Painting #3
Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Cleopatra, Pietro di Cosimo, 1480 Musée Condé of Chantilly

In this scenario, Simonetta made her first entry into the city of Florence. Under the excellent relations between their families, Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano welcomed the couple in the Palazzo Medici in Via Larga (which currently bears the name of via Cavour, in Florence) and organized a sumptuous feast in their honor in the villa of Carreggi. From that moment on, the couple continued to animate court life in a crescendo of sumptuous parties, rich banquets, and joyful pastimes.


Simonetta’s adolescence, meanwhile, had turned into splendid beauty, giving her a slender body with a pale complexion, large, clear eyes that illuminated her face framed by wavy blond hair. At the time, all the most prominent young people in Florence were conquered by her grace, first of all, Lorenzo’s younger brother, Giuliano, who in the meantime, with great probability, became her lover.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Boticelli - 4
Ritratto di giovane donna, Botticelli, Galleria Palatina, Florence, 1475

In 1475, Giuliano, bedecked in dazzling silver armor studded with precious stones, and a helmet designed by Verrocchio, won, in Piazza Santa Croce, the knightly tournament that sealed the peace agreement made by Lorenzo the Magnificent with the other Italian powers. The palio for which the contenders were disputing was a flag, perhaps painted by Botticelli, in which Simonetta, crowned queen of the tournament, appears in the guise of Athena, with her feet resting on a burning olive branch, on which a scroll is placed with the French motto “La Sans Par” (“the incomparable”). The entire composition referred to the theme of courtly love, a great passion for medieval troubadours, for which
the beloved woman was considered sublime and unattainable. The event went down in history as the “Julian Tournament,” since it was a worldly event of great public visibility, celebrated with praise by many of the intellectuals of the time. In Angelo Poliziano’s “Stanze per la giostra di Giuliano de’ Medici” Simonetta appears decorated with these verses:


She is white, and her dress is white / But even
with roses and painted flowers and grass: / The
ringed crin of the golden head / Descends into
the humbly proud forehead.


In the opera, unfinished due to the death of the protagonist on the Pazzi Conspiracy of 1478, Poliziano sings of Giuliano’s love for Simonetta. The life of the young de Medici is abruptly interrupted, and the end of the beloved woman is no different, even though she seemed to wear a beauty immune from all pains and difficulties: the plague, chose to take her away on April 26, 1476, when she was still 23 years old.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Painting - #5
Venus and Mars, Botticelli, 1483, National Gallery


Lorenzo learned about his friend’s condition while he was staying in Pisa, and asked to be constantly informed of her health through an exchange of letters with her father-in-law, Piero. He even went so far as to send his doctor to the Vespuccis for a consultation. It was his agent, Sforza Bettini, who told him the news of the young woman’s death, who inspired the four sonnets at the opening of his work, entitled “Comment on my Sonnets,” to the Magnifico.
In the notes to the sonnets, taking a cue from the description of Beatrice in Dante’s Vita Nova, Lorenzo imagined that he had received the inspiration to compose the work one night, after having observed a bright star, which could only be the soul of the young Simonetta ascendeding to heaven to enrich the firmament.



O clear star that with your rays / Remove the
light from your nearby stars, / Why do you shine
much more than your costume? / Why do you
still want to contend with Febo? / Perhaps and
beautiful eyes, which have been taken away from
us / by Cruel death, which by now assumes too
much, / You have welcomed in you: adorned
with their divinity, / his beautiful chariot you
can ask Phoebus. / Or this, new star that you
are, / That adorns the sky with new splendor, /
Called hear, god, and our vows: / Lever of your
splendor so far, / That in the eyes, they have
eternal weeping zeal, / With no offense glad you
show yourself.


No less moved was the tone in which Bernardo Pulci recalled the uncovered funeral granted to the beautiful Vespucci:

But perhaps that still alive in the world is the one
/ then that seen by us was, after the end, / in the
coffin even more beautiful.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Portrait of Medici
Portrait of Giuliano de’ Medici, Botticelli, 1478-80, Staatliche Museen Zu Berlin


A stunning honor for those times, reserved by law for knights only. Simonetta’s death was also wept by Girolamo Beniveni, by Naldo Naldi in two epigrams, and by Francesco Nursio Veronese in a poem. But what made the charming lady immortal was painting above all else, although, in all probability, she never posed for a painting. For a lady of her rank to pose would have been judged contrary to decency and social conventions; it was only in the sixteenth century that it became more common for high-bourgeois women to be portrayed by an artist. Vasari in the “Vite dei piú eccellenti pittori, scultori e archittettori” (“Lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors, and architects”) writes of how two portraits were preserved in the wardrobe of Duke Cosimo I, one of which, he recalls, “it is said that was the one in love with Giuliano de ‘Medici” executed by Botticelli. But was the young woman in question Simonetta, or was she another woman loved by the handsome Giuliano?

Academics still dispute today on the identification of the portrait cited by the Arezzo man: was it perhaps the “Portrait of a Lady” from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, that of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, or the “Portrait of a Young Woman” from the Palatine Gallery in Florence?

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Birth of Venus by Boticelli
The Birth of Venus, Botticelli, 1485-1486, Uffizi Gallery


Although some critics speak more of a search for idealized beauty rather than a muse in flesh and blood, it is not difficult to recognize the similarity in many of Botticelli’s female portraits, which supports the hypothesis of the existence of an inspiring model. It is therefore believed that it is the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci who is depicted, half-naked, in the guise of the goddess Aphrodite in the “Birth of Venus” — an allegory of Love understood as the driving force of Nature; it is necessary to mention the last verse of Dante Alighieri’s Paradise: l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle (“the love that moves the sun and the other stars)” — in “Spring” as the goddess Flora, and as Venus in the painting “Venus and Mars,” now preserved in the National London Gallery.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Spring by Boticelli
Spring, Botticelli, 1477-1482, Uffizi Gallery

Botticelli’s obsession with Simonetta’s face, even after her death, made her an archetype of beauty with a refined and elegant air, eternalized in a timeless place, and which still today makes us associate her face with aesthetic canons of the Renaissance. If beauty, expressive purity, and formal balance are the most immediately recognizable figures of Botticelli’s art, it must be borne in mind that they still represent only a first level of interpretation of his masterpieces. The second implies a complex system of allegorical references, which refer to the Neoplatonic idea of the possibility of rising from the material world to the contemplation of the divine through beauty and spiritual love. A sophisticated symbolism is also present in the works of Piero di Cosimo, who imagined Simonetta in the guise of a topless Cleopatra caught just before the fatal bite in the painting, now in the Musée Condé in the Castle of Chantilly, accomplished in 1480, years after her disappearance.


Carl Kruse Art Blog - The Education of Pan - Lost in fire in Germany
The Education of Pan, Luca Signorelli, 1490; destroyed in the Flakturm Friedrichshain’s fire in Berlin of May 1945. Flakturms were heavily fortified German Anti-aircraft towers built during World War II.

A posthumous portrait — the author, in the year of the young woman’s death, was just a teenager — and perhaps posthumous also the marble bust of the National Gallery of Art attributed to Verrocchio and many other representations, including the lost painting “The Education of Pan” by Luca Signorelli of 1490, which all testify to the emergence of a sort of cult of Simonetta in the art world in the last decades of the fifteenth century.

The truth is that we do not know of any painting that has handed down the real features of Simonetta Vespucci to us. Similarly, no document has ever been found capable of proving that Simonetta posed for Botticelli, or at least ever appeared in one of his works. The most recent criticism has now dismantled these hypotheses, considering them a reflection of a true “cult” for Simonetta Vespucci which spread in the seventies and eighties of the fifteenth century in Florence and which exerted a considerable influence also on nineteenth and twentieth-century criticism. However, this does not mean that, at the time, there were no portraits inspired by the beautiful girl: in a letter sent by Simonetta’s father-in-law, Piero Vespucci, to Lucrezia Tornabuoni, mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de Medici, reference is made to an
image of Simonetta that would be given to Giuliano after the girl’s death. The fact that the portraits of Berlin and Frankfurt (excluding the unappealing lady of the Palatine) have a rather high degree of idealization and could lead to a lot of discussion about the possibility of hypothesizing that one of the two is the “image” mentioned by Piero Vespucci. But perhaps, as the art historian Stefan Weppelmann recently wrote in a catalog entry on the portrait of Berlin, “the question of whether the Berlin and Frankfurt paintings represent Simonetta Vespucci seems far less relevant than their possible role of literary images and, consequently, their intent to depict the humanistic formulation of the ideal of beauty.” Because in the end, observing these works, we see nothing but ideal women who transmit to us the canon of the beauty of fifteenth-century Florence: and it is certainly not a small thing! In many admirations, her character remains an enigma: no woman of the Renaissance was given so many awards by her contemporaries and, if we consider that she lived only seven years in Florence, this veneration appears even more exceptional. Perhaps the young Genoese woman could inspire many artists precisely because she was prematurely torn from life, granting art only the promise of eternal beauty, combined with inconsolable regret for her loss.

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Church in Florence - Image
Intern of the Chuch of San Salvatore Ognissanti, Florence

Removed from the corrosive action of time, Simonetta survives idealized, eternalized forever in Botticelli’s masterpieces with her gentle features, in
which her large eyes veiled with melancholy stand out, emblematic of the angelic woman coveted by the Dolce Stil Novo. One last curiosity: the church of Ognissanti, in which the mortal remains of Simonetta Vespucci rest, also houses the remains of Sandro Botticelli who, according to legend, asked to be buried at the feet of his muse. The reality, however, was probably much less romantic, because both the Vespucci and the Filipepi had their family tombs in the same place of worship, both having lived in the same neighborhood.

==============

Carl Kruse Art Blog Homepage

Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com

Other articles by Asia Leonardi on the blog include an expose of the German painter Charlotte Salomon, Action Painting, and an interview with Berlin architect Andrea Liguori.

Andrea Liguori, a Wonderful Mind in Berlin


by Asia Leonardi for the Carl Kruse Arts Blog


Into the urban traffic of Berlin so many people are walking, with them come ideas from all over the world, sometimes changing the surrounding environment. This is the case of Andrea Liguori, an architect from Palermo who has now lived in Berlin for many years. I had a pleasant chat with Andrea, where he told me about his work, his love for architecture and painting.


What brought you to Berlin, Andrea?


“What brought me to Berlin? A girl; sometimes happens that love takes you around the world … sometimes you move for work, other times because you meet someone who moves something inside you. What I always point out is that it’s not so important how you got there but why you stayed there. In my case the reasons for staying were mainly the business aspect, Berlin is a beautiful reality, there is room for all: but also so much competition, and you have to
live with this. for an architect like me there is so much to do, and many possible niches… Here the field of architecture is very interesting because new construction sites are always opening, and Berlin has also an important role in the history of architecture, it was one of the headquarter’s of the Bauhaus.”

Carl Kruse Blog - Andrea Liguori - Wood House




Woodhouse by Andrea Liguori

How did you start your career?


“My very first experience was working in a studio in Palermo with two partners, an experience that I abandoned once I moved. Here I started working in the studio of an architect who spoke Italian, and it was useful for me to start learning German. Gradually I got to know the local reality, I built new acquaintances, and I started being able to do some more personal projects. Today I am a consultant for a studio, with which I design new buildings, such as hotels and apartments … but I also have my studio, where I take care of my projects, which mostly concern bars, restaurants, or small villas.”

And how do you divide yourself between the two activities?


“Since I am an external consultant, I can manage my time based on the importance of the projects I have. I work a lot, I often stay up late, I work on weekends, but all in all, when you find something you like it’s a hobby, and you feel like you never work. I’m not saying it’s exactly like that, because sometimes the tiredness is real, but I enjoy it. I never get bored because I like to differentiate. I’m also into furniture design. Me and a friend of mine have a company in Palermo, we design lamps, objects, we have also worked as
designers for Italian firms. In short, I have a holistic approach, I deal with a bit of everything that has to do with the world of drawing, design, architecture.”

Carl Kruse Blog - Andrea Liguori - Hotel in Georgia

Andrea Liguori – Hotel in Georgia

How do your ideas arise, and how do you put them into practice?


”With architecture, there is a study of reference manuals, while the creative process in design is more important and lighter. It comes from the experience as an individual when you go to a place or buy an object, you look at it, you
are interested, you think about possible changes …but the best ideas always
come in moments of leisure, of freedom, as the theory of creative idleness explains: when you are relaxed, maybe take a shower, an interesting idea comes to your mind more easily.”

How did you experience the lockdown? Was it a
period of greater creativity?


“When we are busy with everyday commitments there are many bureaucratic issues to complete, emails to write, accountants, lawyers, appointments to deal with. During the lockdown, all of this has slowed down a bit, I felt less pressure, and thus creativity increased. I have never been bored, thanks to my other passion that is painting… I paint with watercolors. Three or four years ago I also held a watercolor paintings exhibition in Palermo inspired by places in my city, and I keep painting to this day. I feel a little homesick now and then, but it relaxes me, I like the subject, and I continue to paint.”

Carl Kruse Art Blog - Foro Italico

Foro Italico in Palermo. Watercolor by Andrea Liguori

Was there a project that had left a mark on you, or that you particularly enjoyed doing?


“There is no more important project than others, everyone has their importance. Projects are a bit like children for an architect. I like traveling a lot, and I try to do projects all over the world, and those have a special flavor to me, even if it’s a smaller project. For example, at the moment I am working on the project of a large hotel here in Germany but I enjoyed doing a very small boutique in Miami, Florida last year because it was an opportunity to
discover a new world, a fun place … They are all projects born thanks to public relations, it is important in my opinion to convey your passion to others, you manage to involve them, and they call you and ask you for advice. Social networks also have their weight, with Instagram I share things that maybe don’t have much to do with my work but that give the idea of my vision of the world, of what I like to do, and maybe if there is someone who knows me
and sees himself in my posts he looks for me, calls me and the affinity is
born.”

Andrea is a fascinating man, with a firm and confident gaze; he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. His university love continues to blossom day by day: he lives with his partner in his Berlin apartment. What struck me most about Andrea is the dedication and commitment he puts into his work, his delicacy in the choice of words, which reveals a brilliant creative intuition, typical of a successful architect. Transforming an idea into something real is what I admire most about architecture, and about art in general: Berlin’s urban planning is varied, always open to new construction sites, always new, always changing, ready to welcome those who, like Andrea, dare to put their personality into this wonderful city.

Carl Kruse Blog - Andrea Liguori - President of Italy

Andrea Liguori with Italian President Sergio Mattarella


==========

Homepage: Carl Kruse Art Blog
Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com
Other posts by Asia Leonardi are here, here and here.

Berlin related posts on the blog include the Boros Bunker art gallery and coverage of Berlin artist Yury Kharcehnko.
Carl Kruse is active in Berlin with the Ivy Circle.