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The Remnants of a Miracle. Cartiera Burgo.

Federico Padovani

What remains of the experimental dreams of Italy’s most talented architects and engineers after the economic miracle?


The years of the Italian "economic miracle", their cultural and socio-political climate, and what remains of their influence on architecture are under the spotlight in this video filmed and directed by Federico Padovani and Vera Leanza.

Along with two other works by Padovani and Leanza, the short documentary "Cartiera Burgo" is part of "The Remnants of a Miracle", a project curated by architecture historian Luka Skansi and exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 in the Monditalia pavilion. The overall project - an installation that includes photos and videos - is about some of the most representative episodes among the abandoned masterpieces of Italian modern architecture that were built in the period of its highest economic prosperity, between the 1950's and the 1960's.

This short film explores the deserted, ignored spaces of the magnificent Cartiera Burgo designed by Pier Luigi Nervi and Gino Covre (Mantova, 1961-1964). The original appearance - showcased through photos during the exhibition - virtually dialogues with the contemporary neglected condition of the architectural spaces that are narrated in the video. The contradictions of the Italian economy and politics of the period, their inadequacy and incapability to protect and preserve this dismissed monument are displayed through a slow exploration of the left-overs of a great architecture, that is still eloquent and quite inspiring.

Authors icon Credits

Author: Vera Leanza
Architects: Pier Luigi Nervi, Gino Covre
Mentioned project: Cartiera Burgo (1961-64)
Project location: Mantova, Italy
Research: "The Remnants Of A Miracle" by Luka Skansi, Venice Architecture Biennale (2014), Monditalia pavilion.
With: Marcello Fodale (exhibition design), Federico Padovani and Vera Leanza (foto, video), Marko Pogacnik (foto)
Music: Sola-Mi

Italy 2014
Duration: 2'29''

Premiered at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale (Venice; June - November 2014).