The major retrospective exhibition about Cesare Leonardi was the occasion for us to challenge ourselves with the work and personality of this ingenious architect from Modena.
Starting from spring 2017, we were involved in the design and planning of the important exhibition “Cesare Leonardi. The Architecture of Life”: a tribute from the town of Modena to the work of its architect across four decades, in partnership with Galleria Civica di Modena and l’Archivio Architetto Cesare Leonardi. For this exhibition, we worked on the graphic identity, the weighty monograph together with Lazy Dog Press, as well as the website design and production.
The partnership with Archivio Architetto Cesare Leonardi went beyond a complex design work: it was a journey to the discovery of an eclectic and ingenious personality, a constant source of inspiration and a unique challenge.
The design of lettering and catalogue resulted from thorough research among the works and activities of Cesare Leonardi: a constant interdisciplinary analysis that led us to tackle the need to narrate the different sides of his activity, that developed in over forty years of designs, works and ideas.
The monograph represented a particular challenge: telling Cesare’s life and works in just a few words is difficult, if not impossible. His inventive and tireless mind investigated many different areas: architecture, photography, design, town planning, sculpture and painting, with each subject being dealt with in interconnection with the other subjects. For this reason, it was impossible to design a conventional catalogue divided in stand-alone chapters.
During our first meetings with Andrea Cavani, Giulio Orsini and Veronica Bastai from Archivio Leonardi, we noticed a vertical strip of paper, with images and short notes. That was the first idea of a timeline about Cesare’s life: an ongoing journey shifting seamlessly from design to photography, from photography to trees, from trees to parks, from parks to architecture, to sculpture, to solid figures. The journey ends in his home/archive where, layer upon layer, all the artistic and working activity of this great architect is preserved.
That was an extraordinary approach for the monograph, which was born just like that, by selecting the images for each subject, broadening and integrating them as needed through a scrupulous and measured process. The flow of thought is conscientiously interspersed with essays on specific aspects by different authors.
The volume ends with the addenda and Cesare Leonardi’s biography. And like those books you wish would never end, it has a light and wordless epilogue: a photo reportage by Joseph Nemeth about the current state of Leonardi’s architecture.
The communication strategy for the exhibition was designed to be simple and impactful, just like Cesare’s work. The images were chosen according to the four main areas of his work: design from the early 1970s, his research about trees, the development of SRA (Stuttura Reticolare Acentrata, centreless reticular structure) and the world of the Solidi series.
On this occasion, Bunker also created the website mostraleonardi.it, designed to fully communicate the exhibition and its additional events. The website is simple and effective, characterized by a series of animations that allow users to enjoy a more accessible and pleasant experience when approaching Leonardi’s universe for the first time.
The exhibition “Cesare Leonardi. The Architecture of Life” opened during Festival Filosofia 2017 on September 15th, 2017. People could visit it until February 4th, 2018, in the two locations of Galleria Civica di Modena: Palazzo Margherita and Palazzina dei Giardini.