The Hangar’s Garden
To stand in front of a sculpture by Melotti is in itself a remarkable estrangement. Space is cut off, not brutally, but with almost surgical precision. Thanks to the incessant rhythm of its parts, the composition seems to sway before our eyes. It is not for nothing that “La Sequenza” is not a monolith, but an alternation of surfaces and graceful, rust-coloured animations, undulating even without a breeze.
An interesting challenge for Marco Bay, a landscape architect, who was faced with a sacred monster of international art, an extremely large Hangar, the blue sky (when it happens) of the Bicocca district, and a flat area on which “La Sequenza” stands.
The sculpture has many lines and the garden too. The landscape seems to want to compete (without aggression) with the surfaces proposed by Melotti, in an alternative plant sequence, geometric in its compositional rigidity, but soft in its choice of species. These range from boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), appropriately topiary and squared into many small blocks, to graminaceous plants (in particular miscanthus, pennisetum and panicum) which actually sway with the movement of air.
The result is a compositional framework that encloses the powerful sculpture, enhancing it without losing its intrinsic value. The design is formal, yet the play of light and shadow softens the lines, until the vegetation playfully detaches itself from the profile formed by the low walls that also serve as seats, to invade the walkway like a sudden obstacle, a forgetfulness or a resumption of the paved space by nature, which delicately caresses the work of art, but forcefully insinuates itself into the hardness of the concrete.
Nature wants what it wants, and so does art. Nature and art as faces of the same coin, the only form of payment that beauty accepts. The only credit we still have towards a tormented planet.
All images © Gael Glaudel
Design: Marco Bay
Project Location: Hangar Bicocca, Milan
Typology: garden for a museum
Marco Bay, landscape architect, founded his own studio in 1997 working on garden and landscape projects in Italy and Europe. He has developed a personal method according to the idea that each project starts from certain principles, such as architecture, respect for the history and ecosystem of a place, to reach the balance of an ideal unicum, without forgetting future maintenance and growth.