Sunday, October 22, 2017


K (Franz Kafka's Head) by David Černý, Quadrio Shopping Center, Spálená, Nové Město, Prague
“K” (Franz Kafka's Head) by David Černý, 2014
Quadrio Shopping Center
Spálená, Nové Město
Prague, September 2017

“This eleven-metre-tall statue is a technical marvel of the 21st century in Prague. Forty-two moving panels rotate to create the face of the famous Czech writer Franz Kafka. The statue created by the artist David Černý is installed near the Quadrio Shopping Centre and combines art with modern technology and the traditional ‘golden hands’ of Czech craftsmen. Watch ‘The Metamorphosis’. Wait for all of the panels to align and discover the face of Kafka!” (Franza Kafka Statue, Quadrio Shopping Center)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Palazzo della Mercanzia

Palazzo della Mercanzia, Piazza della Mercanzia, Bologna
Palazzo della Mercanzia by Lorenzo da Bagnomarino and Antonio di Vincenzo, 1391
Piazza della Mercanzia
Bologna, June 2015

“Seat of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts, Palazzo della Mercanzia has governed trading and business activities of Bologna since the late 14th century. In 1384 the building of Carrobbio open gallery (today's Mercanzia) was initiated under the direction of Antonio di Vincenzo and Lorenzo Bagnomarino in order to group together three buildings used as customs and toll house. For the gallery and the preparation of the hewn stone four stonecutters were called from Florence. The building was completed in 1391, but the elegant palace needed an extension in 1439 and restoration in 1484 following the fall of the de' Bianchi tower. In 1888 - 90 it was reintroduced, also in its polychrome traits, under the direction of Rubbiani and Tartarini. It was rebuilt in 1949 after a live bomb blasted nearby had made half of the façade collapse. Built in brick and Istrian stone, the façade shows two deep Gothic arches, uplifting it, as further highlighted by the raising of the level under the porch with the respect to the surrounding square. Over the arches, a small marble balcony juts out between the two mullioned windows, from which the judges of the merchants' court would read their sentences. An elegant spire rises above the balcony covering one of the dovetail merlons of the battlements on top of the building. According to local tradition at the stroke of the bell called ‘Lucardina’ bans and sentences of the merchant's court were read out-loud from this marble canopy. Instead the culprits of fraudulent bankruptcy were chained to a post placed before the central pillar of the gallery to be pilloried. The rooms and ambulatories of the building, despite the changes brought about with the passing of time, have kept the beauty of masterpieces untouched.”
(Palazzo della Mercanzia, Bologna Welcome)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Most SNP

Most SNP (Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising), Bratislava
Most SNP (Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising)
Bratislava, September 2017

“Most SNP (Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising), commonly referred to as Most Slovenského národného povstania or the UFO Bridge, and named Nový most (New Bridge) from 1993 to 2012, is a road bridge over the Danube in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is the world's longest cable-stayed bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane. It is an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge with a main span length of 303 m (994 ft). Its steel construction is suspended from steel cables, connected on the Petržalka side to two pillars. The total length of the bridge is 430.8 m (1,413 ft), its width 21 m (69 ft), and it weighs 537 t (592 short tons). A special attraction is the flying saucer-shaped structure housing a restaurant, which since 2005 has been called UFO (previously, Bystrica), on the bridge's 84.6 m (278 ft) pylon. The restaurant is reached using an elevator located in the east pillar, and offers a good view over Bratislava. The west pillar houses an emergency staircase with 430 stairs. Nový Most has four lanes for motor traffic on the upper level and lanes for bicycles and pedestrians on the lower level.” (Most SNP, Wikipedia)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

San Michele in Foro

San Michele in Foro, Piazza San Michele, Lucca
San Michele in Foro
Piazza San Michele
Lucca, October 2017

“San Michele in Foro is a Roman Catholic basilica church in Lucca, Tuscany, central Italy, built over the ancient Roman forum. Until 1370 it was the seat of the Consiglio Maggiore (Major Council), the commune's most important assembly. It is dedicated to Archangel Michael. The church is mentioned for the first time in 795 as ad foro (in the forum). It was rebuilt after 1070 by will of Pope Alexander II. Notable is the façade, from the 13th century, with a large series of sculptures and inlays, numerous of which remade in the 19th century. The lower part has a series of blind arcades, the central of which includes the main portal. The upper part, built using plenty of iron materials to counter wind, has four orders of small loggias. On the summit, flanked by two other angels, is the 4 m-tall statue of St. Michael the Archangel. According to a legend, an angel's finger would have a huge diamond. On the lower right corner of the façade is a statue (1480) of the Madonna salutis portus, sculpted by Matteo Civitali to celebrate the end of the 1476 plague. The church interior has a nave and two aisles with transept and semicircular apse; the nave is supported by arcades on monolithic columns. From the southern transept rises the bell tower, built in the 12th-14th centuries, with a series of single, double and triple mullioned windows. The last floor was demolished during the rule of Giovanni dell'Agnello (1364-1368), Doge of Pisa.” (San Michele in Foro, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times by Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber, Hotel InterContinental Wien, Johannesgasse (facade on Lothringerstrasse), Vienna
“Sign of the Times” by Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber, 2016
Hotel InterContinental Wien
Johannesgasse (facade on Lothringerstrasse)
Vienna, September 2017

“It is one of the iconic images of the silent film era: In the movie SAFETY LAST! (1923), the distinctive, stoic Harold Lloyd is dangling from the hand of a huge clock on the outside of a skyscraper in New York. He is turning to the viewer for help while the clock face is inevitably torn from its anchorage and slowly tilting forward. His double is currently dangling from a building in Vienna – not quite as high above the canyons of Manhattan as Harold Lloyd, but at least between the 7th and 8th floors of the Hotel InterContinental. His exact remake. As big as the movies. This creative and film-related intervention was conceived by the Viennese artist group Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber, who, in the past, have repeatedly attracted a great deal of attention with their actions in public spaces.” (Sign of the Times, Viennale)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Holy Apostles

Bell tower of the church of the Santi Apostoli di Cristo
(Holy Apostles of Christ) by Alessandro Vittoria 1575
Campo Santi Apostoli, Cannaregio
Venice, September 2013

“The 7th Century campanile was destroyed by the fire of 1105. Rebuilt 1450, renovated 1601-09 by Francesco di Piero, brought down by a storm in 1659 and rebuilt 1672-1720 to a design by Andrea Tirali. Jan Morris says that an 'old and simple' sacristan fell from the campanile soon after its completion in 1672(?) but was caught by the minute hand on the clock, and so was slowly lowered to a parapet as time passed.” (Santi Apostoli, The Churches of Venice)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Zsolnay Tiling

Colourful Zsolnay tiling from Pécs, Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) by Samu Pecz, Fővám tér, Budapest
Colourful Zsolnay tiling from Pécs
Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) by Samu Pecz, 1897
Fővám tér
Budapest, September 2017

“Pyrogranite refers to a type of ornamental ceramics that were developed by Zsolnay and placed in production by 1886. Fired at high temperature, this durable material remains acid and frost-resistant making it suitable for use as roof tiles, indoor and outdoor decorative ceramics, and fireplaces. Architects that used the material in their buildings include Miklós Ybl, Ödön Lechner, Béla Lajta, Samu Pecz, and Imre Steindl. It can be seen in buildings such as Matthias Church, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Museum of Applied Art, the Geological Institute, the Kőbánya Church, the Gellért Baths (all these buildings are in Budapest), the Town Hall in Kecskemét and many buildings, like the Post Office Palace, in Pécs.” (Zsolnay, Wikipedia)