Ugo La Pietra. Nature/Architecture at Artvisor, London

Artvisor is delighted to announce Nature/Architecture. Follies, Shelters, Places of Decompression, a new solo exhibition of Ugo La Pietra curated by Piero Tomassoni, opening in London on 20 February 2024.

The exhibition focuses on the artist’s long-standing research into how the natural and built environments interact and coexist. Starting from the assumption that “Nature always wins”, La Pietra offers a humorous and astute perspective into the ways in which contemporary architects and city designers have often tried to integrate ‘some green’ into their developments as a commercial or aesthetic ploy, and not as a real effort to create substantial and adequately planned green areas within the urban texture.

Left: Progetto di gazebo per amante di giardini, 2014; Right: Progetto di casa alpina, tutta di legno, con due grandi alberi al centro, 2014. Photo © Laila Pozzo per Doppia Firma

The ‘projects’ presented in the exhibition are hypothetical places of decompression: structures offering respite from metropolitan noise and pressure. The exhibition features two series of works about ten years apart, exploring the symbiotic relationship between nature and urban environments and the dynamics between public and private spaces in urban settings.

The Forest in the City series (2014) is a satirical take on the famed ‘Vertical Forest’ residential complex in Milan, providing a number of variations on the theme, resulting in fable-like projects for houses, huts, cabanes, and other structures, each imagined for a specific purpose, type of dweller, or geographical location. From the same period and series, the exhibition also includes two glazed ceramic works (a material and technique that has always played an important role in La Pietra’s practice) in which small house-like structures are vases containing living plants, bringing the ideas explored in the drawings to life and allowing tridimensional fruition.

The other set of drawings is from the more recent and ongoing Gazebos series (2023), with most of the works presented being shown for the first time. It continues in the vein of Forest in the City, with an added emphasis on natural, garden-like elements and less concern with the ‘inhabitability’ of the structures. These colourful and slightly larger designs are more akin to follies and pavilions than houses and shelters, enhancing the whimsical and fantastical nature of this strand of La Pietra’s research.

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Left: Gazebo, 2023; Right: Gazebo, 2023. Photo © Laila Pozzo per Doppia Firma

Ugo La Pietra (b.1938, Italy) is an architect, artist, designer, writer, and educator. In the 1960s, he started defining himself as a researcher in the communication and visual art system while simultaneously venturing into the worlds of art and design.

La Pietra has always critically maintained the humanistic and territorial components of design through his oeuvre and projects, including his teaching, theory, and publishing. Ground-breaking projects include the Telematic House, presented at MoMA in 1972 as part of an exhibition on new domestic landscapes, a prophetic inquiry of new modes for exchanging information between individuals and the environment. 

The artist’s work is present in the collections of several major museums globally, including the MoMA, the Centre Pompidou, and the SFMOMA, alongside all of Italy’s most prominent museums. He has received multiple awards over his career, including the Bugatti-Segantini International Painting Award in 2022. He has been teaching architecture since 1964 at various universities and academies in Italy and abroad. Currently, he holds a professorship at Politecnico and NABA in Milan.

Exhibition Information

Ugo La Pietra. Nature/Architecture: Follies, Shelters, Places of Decompression, curated by Piero Tomassoni

From 20 February until 20 April 2024, Mayfair, London

Contact us to learn more about the exhibition and the artist or to arrange a viewing.