A menswear designer's thoroughly Italian, thoroughly American take on tailored clothing & the lessons of his father
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Italian Ingenuity - Michelangelo's San Lorenzo
It was my freshman year of college. I had just moved back from Italy and the influence of the country's art still captivated my every interest. My creative writing teacher asked me to write an essay about where I saw myself in ten years. Needless to say, it began back in Florence in the Piazza San Lorenzo. I envisioned myself on the steps flanking the Medici family church, with a podium in front of me and Michelangelo's newly completed facade to my rear. As a Renaissance fanatic, my dream was to get that facade built as Michelangelo had planned it. I had succeeded and was about to commence with the opening ceremony.
While my interests have broadened in the past few years, I still think of that church, the Medici family who continually patronized it and the legacy that they left the world through art and architecture daily. That is why I was happy to discover yesterday that the Commune of Florence has been entertaining the idea of completing Michelangelo’s long abandoned plan. Some of the details can be seen here.
Now that we have successfully seen the revival of the classics in menswear I find myself wondering if and when a similar shift will occur in architecture. I liken contemporary architecture to a strong-shouldered, five button Armani suit: It may seem ground breaking at the time of its conception but centuries later it's just another preposterous monstrosity. Unfortunately, a retroactive shift in contemporary architecture is not as easy to effect as the ever moving tide of men’s fashion. A change in architecture would need to commence at the academic level and this would be no small feat. I know that at my alma mater’s school of Architecture the history books BEGIN with the Bauhaus movement. The only way an architecture student at USC can study Michaelangelo’s Porta Pia and Palladio’s Villa Rotunda is in an art history class. Vitruvius’s ten books on architecture were chucked into the furnace along with the coat and tie a long time ago. Now that the wardrobe is back I would love to see a push in new building as well. Maybe we should start with San Lorenzo and go from there.