Tipoteca Italiana: the character of memory
The history of writing is a story as old as that of man. Indeed, in some ways, represents the history of humanity. Since this mammal raised on the hind limbs, becoming aware of itself and of the reality that surrounds him, he immediately manifested in him the need to communicate, first through the sound and the word, then through written language-graph, its feelings and emotions. In summary its belong to the world.
But if your writing on any support shows from one side the indispensable necessity of confrontation, on the other hand also highlights the need to hand down to posterity something durable and unchangeable; a sort of “perennial signum” of your way of thinking and being. Maybe writing does not hide nothing but man’s ambition to be immortal or at least hope to be. His body disappeared, will be his thought and his personality to be eternal thanks to writing. “Scripta manent, verba volant” said the Latins; what was written remains forever. The rock carvings dating back to the Neolithic, Egyptian papyri, the numerical tables, Roman stone engravings, architectural treatises of the 15th and 16th centuries and even modern computers are all evidence of this dream.
Since the invention of printing by Gutenberg, the art of writing has always seen as a faithful traveling companion, the presence of the typeface. The basic element of the print, even with its inevitable transformations, this brilliant and precious manifestation of human ingenuity can be considered as one of the elements that have marked the life and existence of printed communication. A faithful tool that impresses and records on material support the spirituality of humankind. Therefore, the typographic production forge and its use of typefaces has, in modern era, been considered an extremely important function to create and disseminate a communicatively modern and fast language.
In Cornuda, small town in the province of Treviso, the magic of print is concretized in the expertly crafted work of typography/printing house Antiga brothers who, around the years ’60, fills with its operational structures part of the old 19th century hemp mill “Antonini-Ceresa”, now at the end of its production activities. The modernization of printing mechanisms, the introduction of digital, has more recently imposed transfer of typographic work within new architectural spaces, freeing the original structures from each urgency related to the world of production. The willingness on the part of the brothers to maintain alive ancient memory and operating systems for old traditional printing, gave birth to the idea of create and place within these architectural artifacts, now decommissioned, a “Tipoteca“, i.e. a real institution capable of organizing to preserve, revive and work with printing character. The museums are organized in the former Church of Santa Teresa and the adjacent guesthouse.
The direct and logical consequence of this understanding was to schedule a project capable of expressing a multifunctional architectural structure that, on the one hand it looks like a real museal place, but on the other discovers autonomous spatial environments delegated to educational activities and management, illustrative of the production of printed materials. Entrusted to the skilful architects sensitivity Cinel, Ferrando y Arrufat, Pescarollo and Prandi, the redevelopment of old obsolete typographical buildings allows them to revive a new feature, no longer productive but pedagogically evocative. The backbone of the new Tipoteca turns out to be the Museum itinerary which guides the entire organization-building functional typology of the new institution.
This is a strictly protected location to visit Foundation environments allowing an audience interested or just curious to know and admire the means and techniques specific of operating print.
As a kind of Ariadne’s thread, it takes the visitor within spatial areas in which unfolds like a movie, that history, that until recently was the publishing world. And it is precisely within the print shop that this path is materialized in concrete terms through a steel ramp, a real architectural promenade, which cuts diagonally across the space allowing the visitor dynamic aviation visions, at different levels, of mighty printing machines still in perfect working order. But the Museum sector, while important, is not in a comprehensive manner all the availability of the space Foundation. Next to the latter, in fact, exist strictly intersected spaces for the completion of tasks of educational and managerial nature. An example of this is the workshop for the restoration of the typographical machines “Saroglia“. Situated on the ground floor of one of the two buildings of the Foundation, this functional area serves both practical needs for operating what was created, and pedagogical character. Enables the viewing audience through a curved perforated metal wall, what happens during normal working procedures related to the restoration of used machines for print.
In this architectural collaborative intervention, an important part, not only structural is recited by steel. In a non-invasive, almost aerial manner, this material marks architectural spaces and creates scenes. It performs the functions of static character and creates transparency. Used with tact and experience it establishes a dialectic relationship both with the mechanical printing machines steel and with movable type archives. In summary it is the component which allowed an old disused printing works to transform into a special locus that, if crossed carefully, will help to strengthen our belief that the press, whatever it may be, as sublime manifestation of human genius, actually takes a metatemporale condition and then of immortality. Conceiving, designing and building a small temple able to preserve and commemorate this condition should not have been a trivial undertaking. A special thank you to all those who made possible the realization of this magic.
Manuele Elia Marano, photographer and architect
Manuele Elia Marano was born in Udine the December 8, 1958. An architecture graduate follows for several years, at IUAV in Venice, photography courses taught by Italo Zannier photographer. He has always been interested in the photographic language, first analog and then digital. Starting from architectural photography he turned his interests to the landscape and even the human figure, exhibiting his works in numerous exhibitions.Contact Manuele Elia Marano