An interview with the author, Luigi Alini
The publication of the book “Liticità contemporanee. Da Stone Museum a Stone Pavilion” offers one the occasion to reflect on the relationship between materials which are rich in beauty and technical properties. In this interview, Luigi Alini, explains the approach of Kengo Kuma, maestro and expert designer of stone who is able to make stone come alive as it reveals its expressive potential at the 2007 stand he created for IL CASONE.
This volume written for IL CASONE is not the first book that you have dedicated to Kengo Kuma. Tell us about your approach to this research.
My disciplinary interests rotate around the inside of the technological dimensions of the project. The connections between the technique, the technology and the project itself have been at the heart of my work for many years. I discovered Kengo Kuma about 8 years ago and perceived a particular dimension of work which became the base of my research to understand what the material reveals. The research that followed and which progressively grew forced me not to remain on the surface but to probe the depths of his work in order to confirm my initial instincts. It has been a long road and has not yet ended. I continue to strive to work with a sense of conviction and determination that Kuma, paraphrasing Bachelard said, “a dreamer that listens carefully can hear the secrets whispered by the material”. I try only to understand this dream.
Contemporary stone... from the Stone Museum to the Stone Pavilion. What does this journey etched in prose suggest we explore?
I am certain that Kuma has the capacity to reveal each and every infinite element of beauty in a material. In this volume, written with Prof. Alfonso Acocella, we proposed an interpretation of an opera by Kuma in relation to the use of stone while highlighting the capacity Kuma shows in revealling its form. The works that we proposed, in reality, is just one piece of work. The creative tensions always the same and we change only the conditions around it. The relationship between tradition and innovation, between “it already exists” to “not yet” present a reality that Kuma reveals only if you look at his works with perseverance and only if one enters in communion with his work.
The expressive potential of stone is investigated with this exemplary example of work from a genius of contemporary design. What are the salient points of your research on this material?
I have to give much credit to Alfonso Acocella. I found in him not only a friend but also a reference point who allowed me to bounce made ideas and reflections off of in this project. Our conversations were very lengthy. Acocella in the last ten years has worked tirelessly and this book could not have been realized had it not been for the team effort between Acocella and Alini. Also I need to mention that IL CASONE has done just a magnificent job and have showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and positive can-do spirit which the project required. It was marvellous to see this work grow and progressively develop, and I will never forget the faces of many of my friends who came to see it at the inauguration at Marmomacc. The expressions of wonder on their faces filled us all with a tremendous amount of satisfaction and joy.
Regarding the second part of your question, it is difficult to indentify exactly which part of my research is most important. What I can say however is that this material provides us with a continuous set of challenges which all occur within the work of architecture. It is the material that becomes and generates the form.