BERGAMO AND BRESCIA CAPITALS OF CULTURE, 2023.
MAYOR OF BERGAMO GIORGIO GORI: “ART AND CULTURE AT THE CENTER OF A PROJECT FOR THE CITY”.
GRES ART – project of urban regeneration of one of the most significant buildings in the former Gres industrial site – anticipates what this place will become at the end of the renewal process of the area in Bergamo’s San Bernardino district and will be a relevant part of the program of “Bergamo and Brescia Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”.
The project was illustrated yesterday by Carlo Pesenti, CEO of Italmobiliare and President of the Pesenti Foundation, together with the architect Mauro Piantelli (De8_Architetti) at a press conference attended by Giorgio Gori, Mayor of Bergamo, Francesco Valesini, director of the Urban Renewal Authority, and Nadia Ghisalberti, director of the Authority for Culture.
“Less than three years ago,” recalled Carlo Pesenti “we launched the idea of regenerating a post-industrial area implementing an innovative model of urban development. We made clear that three assumptions were necessary: the architectural quality of the intervention; the social purposes of most planned destinations; the economic balance of the initiatives to be implemented. Together with the Administration, primary actions stepped up to provide an overall Master Plan, necessary environmental site investigations, structural checks and identification of the buildings to be upgraded first. “Bergamo and Brescia Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”, offered us an extraordinary opportunity to complete the first project of the shared initiative “.
In the northern portion of the former Gres industrial site an old structure – used to host offices and warehouses and consisting of two multi-level blocks with exposed brick facades and regular openings – is located adjacent to two concrete vaulted-roof warehouses, examples of historical and valuable workmanship, that were chosen to become contemporary art spaces.
“It is an uncommon opportunity to enhance such substantial buildings, with great heights and extremely fascinating lighting ratio” explained architect Mauro Piantelli (De8_Architetti firm) who worked at the Master Plan of the whole area and the recovery of the building that will host GRES ART. “The decision to preserve the memory of these buildings – monuments of the 60s fast-growing economy – implies a careful evaluation of the new functions to be installed. Fully aware that the only effective strategy for conservation is the re-use, we let us be guided by architecture: it was the quality of space of each single building that influenced the new functional program. As a consequence, it was natural for us to imagine a place for contemporary art as first intervention. Art and culture are the first step in the regenerative design process. And “culture as a cure” is a central theme of “Bergamo and Brescia Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”.
As required by regional legislation on urban regeneration areas, the “temporary” use of this first building entails direct planning permission applications and will allow GRES ART to host cultural events and programs in the context of “Bergamo and Brescia, Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”. The first exhibition of the GRES ART space, currently in the planning stage, will highlight the innovative role of art and its acting as an “epochal” tool for comparison and above all for dialogue. The exhibition will be shown for an extended period during the year; afterwards the space might host other exhibitions to be defined with the Municipal Administration of Bergamo.
“The GRES ART project is consistent with the ambition to create a ‘social impact’ area, which I hope will become a further pole of attraction particularly for young people who live and gravitate towards this area. When speaking about “Bergamo and Brescia Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”, I like to recall the many projects the Pesenti Foundation always shared with the University of Bergamo and the recently launched collaboration with the University of Brescia” concluded Carlo Pesenti. “I think that enhancing, recovering and give back the whole community such a significant space is an important first step in the Gres Hub revival in terms of economic sustainability and positive social value impact”.
The project’s attention to the city social needs and its compliance with the key themes of “Bergamo and Brescia Italian Capitals of Culture 2023”, were highlighted by the Mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori. “The Bergamo and Brescia Capitals of Culture project stems from the idea that culture is key for the relaunch of this area after Covid-19. We looked at 2023 as an opportunity to design constituent pieces of the future of the territory, focusing on innovation: GRES ART points in this direction as an initiative with a physical impact on our city, redeveloping one of its long-abandoned spaces and strengthening that decisive relationship between public and private, which is now more than ever necessary for urban rebirth in the post-pandemic era.”
The architectural project of Gres Art and the whole former Gres industrial site combines with a Master Plan envisaging the establishment of a functional program mainly addressed to young people and focused on the urban development and well-being – aiming at more consistent boundary conditions and an increasingly detailed business plan to attract investors and implement initiatives for social and economic growth. The urban regeneration of the former Gres industrial site covers a total area of approximately 62,000 m2 and a total gross area of over 24,000 m2.
Italmobiliare appointed Arcadis Italia -under the guidance of its City Executive22222 – as project development manager. Arcadis Italia is a leading consulting company that has played a major role in regeneration projects of national relevance in recent years.
The Italmobiliare Group has paid since long increasing attention to Impact Investing projects – mostly through the Pesenti Foundation – aiming at investments that combine economic sustainability and positive social impact, and developing models for the promotion of social well-being and a balanced value distribution among all stakeholders.