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Suggestions of Movement – Atmospheric techniques in Carlo Scarpa's museum designs

  1. Federico De Matteis


The museum spaces of Carlo Scarpa are deeply rooted in first-person experience, through the sensuous use of materials and a sophisticated interaction between architectural features and exhibited objects. This paper investigates how the architect leveraged suggestions of movement implicit in the expressive qualities of human figures, particularly statues, to provide visitors with an affectively charged experience of space. Scarpa exploited the statues’ gestures and gaze to establish a corporeal communication with subjects, creating theatrical situations that exude atmosphere. By analyzing three of his designs – Palazzo Abatellis in Palermo, Castelvecchio in Verona, and the Canova Museum extension in Possagno – through the lens of suggestions of movement, the study intends to highlight the dynamics of these “atmospheric generators”, clarifying some characters of Scarpa’s work that remain otherwise opaque to critical appraisal.



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