30 June 2010

The new lakeshores of Piemonte. An assessment

Above: Pallanza (Verbania): a view of the new large, airy and smooth lakeshore and its street furnitures so simple and wiseUnder: Arona (Novara), the new south lakefront - view of the large "pergola"on which stands the Grand Allee to the Fair of the city (in the background the castle of Angera)Sopra: Pallanza (Verbania): uno scorcio del nuovo ampio, arioso ed armonioso lungolago ed il suo arredo sobrio e sapiente
Sotto: Arona (Novara): il nuovo lungolago Sud. Veduta della grande pergola sulla quale si attesta il grand allee verso la Fiera (sullo sfondo il castello di Angera)
(photos of Enrico Mercatali)

The new lakeshores of Piemonte 

An assessment

Nearly every municipality of the Piemontese side of the lake has been supplied, during the last ten or fifteen years, with modern lakeside structures, which are adequately equipped areas near the lake, specifically designed for the lake shores’ embellishment and improving, and for the furnishings that can characterize and highlight its environmental, cultural and touristic qualities, storically expressed by its areas.
Some of the municipalities were already supplied with these structures, due to interventions at the beginning of the century, with equipments of beautiful design and pleasant image, for example the “Pergolato del Glicine” (the Bower of Wisteria) , between the old pier and the new expansion’s areas, that, already in the 30’s, gave to the walks along the lake that sensation of belonging to a historically relevant site, full of environmental qualities, already framing so well the Rocca, that could see its natural complement in Angera on the other shore of the lake. Thus, both looking at the best examples that history had already offered (which by themselves had been able to make make daily life more pleasant to the premises) both showing an ability to formal synthesis between “spirit of the places” and their valorization in the modern, some localities such as Intra-Pallanza before, Baveno and Arona itself, later on, for the areas that look on the New Fair of this last, have been equipped with lakeside structures that can be considered, without difficulty, able to concur to the proneness of the places, formal and functional, and to the image of their past that can give a clearer view of the present, and with the idea that the next generations will get about this. Operartions of good synthesis of the more ancient urban wefts with the less recent ones, in some cases showing sage connection between social and service traditions and the more recent signs of a fruition to tourist vocation.
In Pallanza it couldn’t peraphs have been made something better (besides, obviously, with the only maintenance), between the landing-stage and the small port, composing with appropriate materials the generous and well designed group-sitting with the opportune green presences, calibrated for essences and quality, in the context of a total planimetric design able to qualify and exalt the whole historical inhabited place’s front, and the lake’s horizons, where the islands,some of the most beautiful ones in the World of such kind, stand out.
Even in Intra, around the well-renovated historical landing-stage, the planimetric compositions have balance and a good measure, so as all the appropriate choices about interventions on the green.
Baveno has wanted to give itself a more frivolous tone, ironizing but with grace, about social and cultural themes, which move from its notorious granite processing, and on its figurative expressive possibilities, which, winking to post-modern readings, have left trace in metaphors of ossolani mountains… In the very surroundings of Villa Branca, then, to playfully resume the disneyan architectonic forms of its revival-gothic, a dragon made out of granite enters and exits from the land, giving life to an unusual and original playground. The whole is simply well-made, without shyness or excess…
Arona, finally, teaches minimal and simple balances, nearly rarefied, in definig few but very composed architectonic figures of the manual repertory, in the wide spaces that surround the preexisting fountain: the wide boulevard (which with time will become grand thanks to the masts), the bower (point for a panoramic view, unfortunately lacking in appropriate seats), the pedestrian bridge, beautiful and simple, which connects to other predefined spaces beyond the ferries access, superimposing but well distinguishing the paths.
Also Lesa has been recently equipped with a system that doesn’t disappoint the expectations, which, although in meagre spaces, has also demostrated to be hospitable when many show companies have been called to perform for a numerous public.
Unifies and marks positively all the interventions cited above, a design and a system of frank rationality, simple and measured modernity, far from the uncertain vernacular suggestions which you can still find in our zones so frequently, and far from the too easy use of wrong materials, hurriedly evaluated and often badly rested too.
The topic of a unitary and continuous path, similar to a pedestrian cycle, along the entire feature of bank that connects Arona to Verbania, remains today open to the most various suggestions; it has already been realized in various spots, but in most parts it’s not even been projected, because of objective difficulties and high costs.
We will not lack in making ourselves an active part, in the most opportune sites, when an occasion may happen, so that such unitary project doesn’t become oppressed, but it is instead promoted and valued, and so that its realization, also in parts, is as fast and as qualitative as possible, since we believe that, thanks to it, the whole piedmonese lake area could put in motion its ulterior great resources.

Milano, maggio 2007

Enrico Mercatali

(Translated from Italian by Penelope Mirotti)

Attached pictures:

1- The Borromee islands viewed from Baveno
2- Arona – the bower facing Angera
3- Pallanza – the lakeside gardens
4- Intra – the great cover of the landing-stage

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