The wing-like roof of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 67 hovers over some very Italian béton-brut mass. Ricci and Savioli, neither of whom were young in 1967, had a history of northern Italian concrete work. Working in Florence, Savioli's Villa Bayon, 1963-67, slightly akin to Scarpa, and Ricci's earlier house and studio of 1952-62 indicate that era of postwar sculptural concrete that both anchored and jutted out from Superstudio's Continuous Monument of 1969, drawn just a couple of years after Expo 67.
Marino Zuccheri did an electronic piece for this pavilion, Parete. Umberto Eco, who worked at RAI Milan, wrote of the time at RAI when Zuccheri was a sound engineer there: Illustrious figures in the history of contemporary music arrived there with State grants; but after many months, they still couldn’t figure out how to handle the machines. Then Marino (who, working with Berio and Maderna, had become a wizard), started mixing tapes and producing electronic sounds: that is why some of the compositions now being performed all over the world are by Marino Zuccheri.
So that is how one becomes famous. One must be a wizard. Nonetheless, some parts of the Italian Pavilion must have been pretty exotic, architecturally and culturally.
The roof of the pavilion has some of the erasure of Continuous Monument, 1969 – there are so many references here: the absolute space of Italian neo-rationalism, the clarity of postwar Italian industrial design – however officially these three roof sculptures were meant to stand for 'Tradition, Customs and Progress', something which means absolutely nothing today. Pomodoro did many Sfera con sfera (spheres within spheres) like the large bronze globe on the roof. They are evidently everywhere.
Meanwhile back in Italy, arte povera, developing alongside the 1967-8 political upheavals all over Europe, was diametrically opposed to the pomposity of both Pomodoro's worlds within worlds and the white abstract roof plane with history sitting like a little wedding cake at one end. I must say my heart has always been with arte povera, rather than what went before it, and certainly not what followed with the decorative, apolitical excesses of Memphis.
The pavilion looks not bad though, in this construction photo, compared to the stylistic rubble all around it.