Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli – Turin
The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli is a private art museum in Turin, located on top of the Lingotto former car manufacturing plant.
The Lingotto, once the main factory of the automobile manufacturer FIAT, was designed in the 1920s by engineer Matté Trucco; the one million cubic meter building was famous for its imposing industrial architecture as well as for the futuristic vehicle test track placed on its rooftop.
Renzo Piano’s design
After being dismissed in 1982, the Lingotto was fully renovated and converted into a multifunctional center after a design by Italian architect Renzo Piano, as the winner of an international design competition organized in 1984 by Fiat.
Piano’s design leaved the building’s exterior largely unchanged, while it completely transformed the internal space to accommodate an exhibition center, an ice skating arena, a convention center, theaters, restaurants, a shopping center, an hotel, a department of the University of Turin, and the Pinacoteca Agnelli.
The Lingotto factory in the 1920s, photo FIAT Group
The Lingotto today, with the Pinacoteca Agnelli in the middle; photo © RPBW / Enrico Cano
Lingotto, aerial view, photo © Studio fotografico Merlo fotografia aerea
For the Pinacoteca, Piano designed a six-story venue, including an addition located on the Lingotto’s rooftop, which houses temporary exhibition spaces, a library, an art education center, offices, a bookshop and, on the sixth floor, a permanent exhibition space known as Lo scrigno (the Jewel box).
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, longitudinal section
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, transverse section
To illuminate the exhibition with natural light, Piano conceived a semi-transparent roof , he nicknamed il tappeto volante (the magic carpet), composed of 1746 louvers made in glass, coupled with motorized aluminum slats, an array of sensors and an artificial lighting system, which maintain a constant illumination of 250 lux on the artworks, independently from the external conditions.
Photo © RPBW / Enrico Cano
Collection and activities
Opened to the public in 2002, the “jewel box” houses a permanent collection composed of 25 artworks from the private collection of industrialist Giovanni Agnelli (1921- 2003) and his wife Marella (b. 1927).
Works on view include paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo, Canaletto, Giacomo Balla, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Amedeo Modigliani, and two sculptures by Antonio Canova.
The Pinacoteca Agnelli activities include temporary exhibitions, lectures, educational classes, workshops, and special events.
Permanent exhibition, installation view, with the paintings (from left to right) “Méditation – Après le bain” (1920), “Femme et anémones” (1920), and “Intérieur au phonographe” (1924) by Henri Matisse; image courtesy Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Permanent exhibition, installation view, with the painting “Velocità astratta” (1914) by Giacomo Balla; image courtesy Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Cover photo by Truus, Bob & Jan too!