Ian Ritchie Architects

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Notes on a Monument, 1998/1999

ALBA DI MILANO (DAWN OF MILAN)

I shone a light beam into a spout of water.
As the water flowed in an arc towards the ground,
the light went with it, following the same curve.
The light was trapped in the curving water,
and I saw the idea of a light pipe.

The weaving together of the beauty of trapped light,
and the complete light-powered personal communicator
incorporating huge optical memory storage
has inspired us to propose a woven fabric of changing light
which communicates Milan’s world renown
as the centre of fashion, design style, quality and innovation.

She is visible during the day,
her curve concentrating the light,
and her flowing light
is scintillating at night.
She is light that bends,
and moves gently in the wind.
She springs like the water from the ground
conducting visible wavelengths.

She is a sunshade
and she humanises the Piazza Duca D’Aosta.
She conveys the idea of the hand of the weaver,
and the designer,
the screen world
and the deluge of information we have to live with today.

She reflects the spirit of our age
in which light is image,
material and the information carrier of the 21st century.
The photonic age is here,
and through optical communications and lasers,
the synthesis of telephone, television and computer is imminent.
She is a symbol of connexity where
communications hierarchy has no top, bottom or centre.

Her underlying metaphors are made manifest.
Her body is of randomly fractured
optical glass fibres, encased in a transparent skin
and woven with fine stainless steel wire
to produce a unique light emitting fabric.

She will imprint upon the memory
an unforgettable image that is
both beautiful and emotional.

We have synthesised optical glass fibre,
one of the most perfect solids ever manufactured,
with poetry of intent and composition
to give Milan an icon announcing the third millennium.

© Ian Ritchie 11/99