Augmented Architecture: MAPEI with Cino Zucchi at the FuoriSalone 2021

Cino and Chiara Zucchi’s Augmented Architecture, inspired by MAPEI, on display at Milan Statale University

September 13, 2021

Milan, September 1, 2021 –  Mapei S.p.A. is presenting Augmented Architecture, a work designed by the architect Cino Zucchi and his daughter Chiara, a designer and multimedia artist, as part of the “INTERNI Creative Connections” exhibition1 in the FuoriSalone 2021 at the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone del Mobile). This is Zucchi’s first time participating in the event.

Installed near the entrance gate and honorary northern stairway in “Richini’s” courtyard at Milan Statale University, the work consists of a simple and yet effective element: A polymer covering reproducing the upper part of the existing arch and pediment that is enlarged six times along its horizontal axis. 

This “explosion” heightens the details of the moldings and sculptures through significant distortion, increases the salient features of the portal rather than covering them like other previous installations, and generates a dense figure of new meaning. 

This was designed through a creative process that is inspired by the very essence of MAPEI that, in the words of Cino Zucchi, does not have a figure of its own but rather intervenes to bind different elements and give life to new forms or enhance and restore existing ones. 

Augmented Architecture wants to interpret both a specific place and the company MAPEI, looking for a temporary intersection between their important histories and current states,” Zucchi stated. “MAPEI products do not have their own figure; they act as a means of bringing together existing construction elements or reinterpret them through interventions designed to protect, color or insulate. That is why this work looks so simple and effective, capable of directly conveying MAPEI’s commitment to conserve and reinterpret human environments, increasingly enhancing the concepts of durability, restoration and sustainability.” 

Veronica Squinzi, MAPEI Group’s CEO, added, “After the interruption due to the pandemic, some difficult moments and plenty of uncertainties, MAPEI is once again at the FuoriSalone to support the revival of the furniture and building sectors, and reassert Italy and Milan’s position at the very forefront of design and industry. We are delighted to be partners with the architect Cino Zucchi, who shares values we hold – such as restoring and conserving the historical-artistic heritage and a commitment to increasingly long-lasting and sustainable building – and who loves this place and this city as much as us. With his incredible sensibility, expertise and an ability to see the essence of things, Cino Zucchi has managed to embody the very nature of MAPEI and its contribution to the building world.” 

The same creative process resulting in the creation of the installation conforms with the basic values underscoring MAPEI’s own research, which is that knowledge is obtained through discoveries and gradual improvements that are based on studying the facts. 

The first step was to make a 3D scan of the gate, which had already been studied by Cino Zucchi for his book titled L’architettura Dei Cortili Milanesi 1535-1706. Next, the actual form of the work was created – a kind of mask reproducing the top part of the entrance that was enlarged six times along the horizontal axis to focus on its form and appearance. Lastly, the sculpture was attached to the ceiling from which it hangs and completed with a polymer cover that creates vibrant light effects. 

Augmented Architecture was also the subject of the symposium “Design the Change,” dedicated to technological innovation and environmental protection, that was held in the Academic Senate Hall on September 4, 2021. At this meeting (by invitation only), Cino Zucchi discussed the project and the process that guided Zucchi’s architectural firm CZA in creating this original installation with MAPEI Group’s Veronica Squinzi. It also provided the opportunity to find out more about the architect and his firm’s approach to architecture, landscape and urban design. 


1Cino Zucchi Architetti (Cino Zucchi, Stefano Goffi with Francesco Biccheri, Emad Lajevardi) and Chiara Zucchi

Cino Zucchi Architetti Milan Furniture Fair CZA Milan Design Week

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