Aldo Rossi

Cabina dell'Elba, 1979-1982

Throughout his career, Aldo Rossi designed ordinary objects that functioned as archetypes. Thus, whether they were beach huts or coffee pots, they took on the value of permanence and share a certain resemblance with his buildings. They are governed by order and geometric rigor, material solidity, and symbolic and cultural responsibilities. Aldo Rossi’s first Cabines (beach huts) go back to sketches the architect did on the Isle of Elba in the late 1970s, and which he continued to develop throughout the 1980s. For Rossi, it was not merely a question for him of contemplating huts on beaches, but more about “gazing at them until he appropriated the image and through the image, the object.” Raised to the status of model for the dwelling, the beach hut “is a little house: it is the reduction of the house, it is the idea of the house,” Rossi explained. Thus, more than anything, it is the power of the idea and the visual value of the work that matters here. Like his drawings and his buildings, the hut is a sketch, a concept that attempts to seize an intelligible reality. Just as his Teatro del Mondo, in which the salience of a pure, rational and banal form opens the field of possibilities for a poetic presence, his beach hut became the emblem of an architecture of nostalgia, a quasi-metaphysical image of a last refuge facing the emptiness of the ocean.

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