- Verde Prato. Urban experiments between ecology and reuse
Putting on a show about urban policies is no mean feat, which makes the exhibition titled Verde Prato. Sperimentazioni urbane tra ecologia e riuso (Green Prato. Urban experiments between ecology and reuse), curated by Elisa Cristiana Cattaneo and Emilia Giorgi running at the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato an excellent example of how to provide an engaging narrative of what the town planners are doing in and around the town.
The master plan of the municipality of Prato - an innovative urban planning document prepared by its planning department and adopted in September 2018 - is based on the legacy left behind by the urbanist Bernardo Secchi, who worked on the master plan for Prato between 1993 and 1996. This plan showcases the metropolitan dimension of Prato, which is not far from Florence, aiming to resurrect the city's manufacturing heritage on the one hand, and to look at the natural heritage in a new light on the other in order to bring down the (imaginary) walls between the city and the agricultural spaces.
Internationally renowned experts including the architect Stefano Boeri and the scientist Stefano Mancuso contributed to the plan. The citizens were also involved through a wide-ranging participatory programme to foster reuse in the city with sustainable responses to global challenges like climate change and to the local challenge of making the town liveable for the people.
The exhibition is structured into three theme areas: Ecology, Re-use and Going Public. The exhibition mounting by the young Milan-based collective Fosbury Architecture is based on a scaffolding system designed as a piece of stage equipment to present such a wide range of materials as drawings, maps, design documents, historical photos and videos. The storytelling develops around texts and images along a concept process that aims to turn Prato into a green, European, open city, integrating the system of nature with the built system.
In addition to the technical focus on the urban plan, the exhibition includes an installation created for the occasion by Stefano Mancuso, photography projects by Fernando Guerra, Maurizio Montagna and Delfino Sisto Legnani and interactive robotics so visitors can find their way through the various areas of the Plan.
A selection of the shots from the photographic investigation by the award-winning Portuguese architecture photographer Fernando Guerra is very eye-catching. He worked on this at the end of 2017 to interpret the city's transformation, uncovering the layering of the landscape and the many types of city that Prato is constructing, with a focus on repurposing and redeveloping its industrial legacy. On a slightly different note, the Milan-based photographer, Maurizio Montagna used his Paregon (2018) project to focus on the plant world, whose dynamics seem to pave the way for a new collective action, thus changing our reference viewpoints after centuries of a human-centric vision.
The exhibition is completed by an area imagined as a meeting place and somewhere to accommodate educational activities, conferences and round tables to turn the exhibition into a forum for debate, a living and breathing town square inside the museum.
Exhibition: Verde Prato. Urban experiments between ecology and reuse
curated by Elisa Cristiana Cattaneo and Emilia Giorgi
19 March to 11 April 2019
Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (Tuscany, Italy)
Find out more:: https://www.centropecci.it
Images: see captions
Exhibition images: OKNO Studio