Promoted for Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture, MITA Museo Internazionale del Tappeto Antico is designed by OBR by Paolo Brescia, Tommaso Principi and Andrea Casetto as Cultural Center of Fondazione Tassara, owner of the world’s largest private collection of antique carpets, from Asia, Europe and Africa, donated by Romain Zaleski.
The center is located in Via Sostegno in the Don Bosco neighborhood, one of the city’s youngest and most multiethnic suburbs, on an area of about 1,300 square meters, converting the site of a former foundry.
The idea that inspired OBR is that of an “open theater” that links the collection to its public around a central space that opens like a stage to the city, giving something back to the public domain.
“With MITA we want to promote a new idea of a museum that goes out of itself, beyond itself, opening to the city. We thought of it as a living theater, participating in urban life, where something is always happening” said Paolo Brescia.
The architecture of MITA, OBR’s first project in Brescia, reflects the museum’s ethos in terms of openness, offering a journey of the encounter and comparison of different cultures, recognizing in the diversity of the collection itself the new identity of Brescia.
MITA covers a total area of 1,300 square meters with spaces dedicated to the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions and educational programs for education and research. By creating a succession of open spaces, the project creates a path that gradually leads the visitor from the public space of the new stair-step plaza to the increasingly intimate and protected environments of the museum designed for contemplation and study.
The façade features a portico that frames a sequence of reflective and transparent surfaces, superimposing fragments of landscape with the works in the collection. By playing with natural light outside and artificial light inside, the façade takes on an ever-changing iridescent effect, combining the colors of the reflected urban context with those of the works inside. Made of a lightweight metal structure, the portico serves as a multimedia backdrop to the new square. Descending into the stepped plaza, visitors are welcomed into the lobby, which in turn introduces them to the full-height central space, conceived as a balconied stage, in which ancient works dialogue with video installations.
The heart of the museum is the central space, through which all parts are related to each other: the exhibition hall, library, multimedia room, restoration laboratory, storage room, meeting room and offices. In this way, the interior of MITA is presented as a unicuum, without the typical separation of traditional halls.
Going up to the second floor, the visitor can appreciate with an unexpected perspective the great artworks of the collection exhibited in the full-height central space, and then conclude the visit in the belvedere, designed as a “decompression” space, where the exhibition can be reworked, admiring the new square and the urban context.
OBR’s layout for MITA is designed to create a close relationship between the artworks and the architecture, which enhance each other, stimulating a multifaceted perceptual experience with varying degrees of contemplation and interaction between the artworks and people.
More than an isolated building, MITA is conceived as an “open system”, acting as a medium between the collection and its audience, working on time before space, overlapping the present with the past and the future: it is not just a museum, but a relationship.