• Art & Culture

Contemporary Varese

Una guida alle architetture e nuovi spazi dedicati all'arte contemporanea: i percorsi del contemporaneo tra Varese, Laveno, Maccagno.

Varese place of the Contemporary?
More and more.

A city where you will find the Panza Villa and Collection on the upper Biumo hill, the new Morandini Foundation exhibition in the heart of the city, the contemporary sacred art collection of the Baroffio Museum at the Sacro Monte.
Outside the capital, the Maga Museum in Gallarate and the Parisi Valle Museum in Maccagno.

And also the new Guide to the city of Varese with the architecture of the early twentieth century and the Blue Houses of Laveno, an example of architecture and design with the symbolic color of the history of Laveno.


With the Guide to the City of Varese, the Order of Architects of Varese wants to contribute to the promotion of its territory in Italy and abroad by proposing new ways of perceiving places through cultural thematic itineraries.
A research work, with the identification of the most representative architectures, which was an opportunity to rediscover an architectural heritage spread throughout the area, and led to the creation of a video of the architecture between the two wars and the publication of a guide to the city of Varese with the architectural itineraries of the early twentieth century.

The Blue Houses of Laveno are a residential complex built on the site of the former factory in Lago delle Ceramiche di Laveno, created by the Archeo studio.
A color that represents a locality becomes one of its symbols and recalls its artistic artifacts: ceramics.
By inserting itself in the tradition triggered in Italy from the 1920s with Gio Ponti where ceramics and design represented a symbiosis of art and industry, able to express the wisdom of Italian craftsmanship, thus the idea of ​​the new residential complex on the shores of Lake Maggiore was born .

The great ceramic industry of Laveno - which reached high levels of quality not only for the intrinsic characteristics of the materials and for the workmanship but also thanks to the artistic cut of the production that is always avant-garde - has become the inspiring motif of the project which uses blue ceramic as cladding material: expressly designed irregular pentagonal tiles, glazed with an ad hoc studied nuance, positioned not only on the facades but also on the pitches of the roofs, so as to create a total material effect and give the idea of ​​the 4 buildings as 4 blue stones resting on the ground, 4 carved stones whose openings functionally become loggias overlooking the surrounding landscape.

All immersed in a completely pedestrian context, visible from the lake promenade that characterizes the town of Laveno.

Picture @Michele Sereni su concessione di Fondazione Morandini


Villa Panza, on the Biumo hill in Varese, an eighteenth-century villa houses American art of the twentieth century. A place open to the gaze of the world thanks to the precious contemporary art collection donated to the FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano by Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. Today over 150 works by American artists, inspired by the themes of light and color, coexist in harmony with the ancient environments, the Renaissance furnishings and the precious collections of African and pre-Columbian art. A perfect dialogue that reflects the intuition and sensitivity of Giuseppe Panza, who identified the guiding principle of his artistic choices in the clear and almost transcendent light of the place.

Fondazione Morandini opens to the public from 2 October 2021 hosted in Villa Zanotti, one of the precious early 20th-century architectures that distinguish the cultural heritage of Varese, the city where Morandini lives and works. It exhibits a selection of works from the Foundation's collection, emblematic of Marcello Morandini's artistic career. A long story that begins in 1964 with the first three-dimensional works and the first solo exhibition curated by Germano Celant the following year in Genoa, to arrive until today where many works are placed in museums and public collections in Italy and abroad. Movement in space – twisting, tension, expansion, superimposition – is translated by Morandini into the world of geometry through the use of a two-dimensional and three-dimensional language, supported by the certainty of mathematics.

Contemporary sacred art is one of the beating hearts of the Baroffio Museum and the Sanctuary at the Sacro Monte di Varese. A collection born thanks to the donation of Monsignor Pasquale Macchi, with about sixty works of the twentieth century with a Marian theme. Artists who have written significant pages in recent times (Guttuso, Bodini, Manfrini, Longaretti), join artists loved by Paul VI (Carpi, Consadori, Fazzini, Filocamo, Scorzelli), of whom Monsignor Macchi was faithful secretary. Artists from Varese by birth or by adoption (Borghi, Frattini, Montanari, Quattrini, Tavernari) coexist alongside Italian masters (Biancini, Cantatore, Conti, Minguzzi, Radice, Sironi, Sassu) and some protagonists of 20th-century European art (Matisse, Rouault, Buffet).

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