Mantua, one of the most important Renaissance cities, was the seat of the celebrated Gonzaga family. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in July 2008.
At the center of the city, flanking the Church of Sant’Andrea, is Piazza Alberti. The Church was designed by Leon Battista Alberti, while the dome was conceived Filippo Juvarra. One of the chapels contains a monument to Andrea Mantegna, the famous painter of the Gonzaga court.
For many years, the piazza was used as a car park, wreaking havoc with its architectural harmony, not to speak of its peace and intimacy. A disfigured area, denied to social life.
The entire piazza has now been reorganized and furnished to a project by Archiplan Studio. Neri has created the new lights and modern-shaped benches, specially conceived by its designers. The dimensions of the lamp post and the structure are proportioned to match the surrounding buildings, and the urban scale of the public spaces in general. The dimensions of the lamp post and the structure are proportioned to match the surrounding buildings, and the urban scale of the public spaces in general.
The lighting fixture, attached to a sort of suspended cable, aims, instead, to form a relationship with the circumscribed space that we might define as domestic. The lamp generates a comfortable and romantic light, in fact, affecting a precise and limited zone, unlike the undifferentiated diffusion of light characteristic of many similar systems. The new lamp post provides a synthesis between the relative scales of the public and the domestic spaces.
The long benches extend beside the lamp posts to suggest a group dimension – a series of urban-scale ‘divans’.
The lamp posts and the benches combine to create an intimate space – an island within the piazza.