An exhibition of Renaissance culture.

Project data

  • Year
    1994 – 1995
  • Tipology
    Exhibition Design
  • Location
    Palazzo Grassi, Venice / Musée National des monuments Français, Paris / Altes Museum, Berlin
  • Client
    Palazzo Grassi Spa, Venice
  • Budget
    700.000 € / 280.000 € / 390.000 € (adjusted to 2013)
  • Total Area/Surface/Volume
    1.800 sq m/1.000 sq m/1.440 sq m


The exhibition brings together the nearentirety of the existent wooden models from the 15th and 16th centuries, along with paintings, manuscripts and drawings of some of the greatest architects of the Italian Renaissance.

The exhibition develops through thematic rooms on three floors of the Palazzo.

The covered central courtyard hosts the monumental model in wood of St. Peter’s Basilica realised from the plan of Antonio da Sangallo, above the stairs the model of the cupola for St. Peter’s has been hung, accompanying visitors from the ground floor to the upper floor.

All of the Palazzo’s windows are closed, entrusting the character of the exhibition space to artificial light.

The large models have been placed on workbenches in laminated black iron treated only with wax (noble material used by Bellini for the first time here, which will go on to be present in many of his later exhibition designs) and set up under very carefully studied illumination.

The benches are placed on wooden supports that are striking for their “freshness” and for their evocation of the workshops of the architects; a theatrical spotlight is put on each and every model.

The final effect is a spectacle in which the models – despite the constrictive ontext – almost seem to magically reacquire the real scale of the city.

– Ermanno Ranzani –


Mario Bellini Architects

Design Team
Mario Bellini with Giovanna Bonfanti

Project Team
Giovanna Bonfanti (project architect ) with Giovanni Cappelletti and Raffaele Cipolletta

Graphic design:  Italo Lupi with Alessandro Farina
Curators:  Henry A. Millon (President scientific committee) with Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani
Lighting design:  Mario Bellini, Alfredo pollice
Photo:  Francesco Radino

Exhibition fit out
Mariani Allestimenti, Lissone
Serigrafie Fallani, Venezia