For those of you who are from Turin or have lived here for some time, seeing representations of bulls everywhere throughout the city is nothing peculiar. The bull (toro in Italian) is the symbol of Turin, present on the official emblem and can be easily found on the public fountains (torets) or on the pavement in the central squares (Piazza San Carlo, Piazza Palazzo di Città). But there is one that for its expressive power and its freshness, despite it being a common image, always manages to amaze me, to make me stop and stare at it, and ultimately, makes me proud to be from Turin.
In the Quadrilateral area, in the little square called Piazzetta Visitazione, from the building that once housed the offices of the court, bursts free a beautiful bronze bull with golden horns; powerful, aggressive, which seems to have broken through the wall and wants to pass through it. This installation of contemporary art is perfectly integrated into the façade of the building, which itself has just been renovated but has a history that dates back to the settlement in this block of the Order of the Augustinians Calzati (mid-XVI century) and whose actual construction is documented at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
The creator of this masterpiece is Richi Ferrero, a multifaceted Turin artist who has contributed a great deal to the rejuvenation and embellishment of the city and the region (he is the creator of the permanent illumination of the Exilles fort, the design of the Holy Shroud Museum, and was one of the first edition artists of the “Luci d’Artista” where he illuminated a construction crane in blue).
The building is known as “Quadrato” today and its complete renovation was the responsibility of a company simply called “Building”, which has commissioned many works by Ferrero. He is the artist who also designed for them the installation “Giardino Verticale e Giardino Barocco” in the internal courtyard of what is “the most beautiful house in the world” (Building of the Year 2015), according to the ArchDaily architecture site. The protagonist of the garden is a steel tree, suspended between the first and third floors with branches made of stainless-steel tubes and luminous tips that as the sun sets, light up like the planters on the balconies, creating a spectacular, scenic effect.
“Number 6” is the project name that the “Building” company has given to their recovery, restructuring and relaunch of the seventeenth-century Valperga Palace (1663) in an excellent but sober Baroque style. The palace was acquired in the eighteenth century by Count Galleani di Canelli and later converted from a historic private house to a commercial building. Today this building, located at 6 Via Alfieri, preserves the original Baroque façade but inside houses 36 high-end apartments that are both super-hi-tech and super-exclusive.
A plaque on the façade of this building reminds us that from 1929 to 1962, the Torino Football Club had its headquarters on the first floor. And given today that the building houses apartments of the highest standard of living, almost like strange karma, it seems that many these apartments are owned by players of the two local teams, Torino FC and Juventus.
On the contrary, in fact, unlike 10-15 years ago when footballers loved to settle in the surrounding hills of Turin, it seems that the trend nowadays and for the past few years has been for the champion footballers to live in the historical buildings of the highest value in the city centre. A few steps from the Valperga Palace, there is also the Lagrange 12, another recovery project of a historic building with super-modern apartments inside, that is both elegant and with a design very much appreciated within its category.
Here too we have the combination of architecture and contemporary art: inside the central courtyard, there is a beautiful, futuristic style gate, again by Richi Ferrero, which represents a motorcycle in motion, a tribute to Depero, as confirmed by the author who with this work sought a dialogue with the rationalist vocation of one of the four walls facing the courtyard.
And on top of the building to protect it and the city, a stylized steel warrior, part of the triad of warriors that the artist Ferrero has positioned throughout the city. The result is exceptional: “Equinox” (the title of the work), is by day a thin sculpture that stands out against the sky and at night is an illuminated silhouette to give a touch of magic to the city.