The ninth star, that of Richard Rogers | by Andrea Serri
Tuesday 25 September will be another memorable day for Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings. When Richard Rogers takes the stage in the Palazzo dei Congressi to give this year’s Keynote Lecture, he will become the ninth Prizker prize laureate to take part in the Building Dwelling Thinking cultural programme. The event is an appointment of extraordinary importance for the exhibition, for the world of architecture and design, and for the city of Bologna.
Richard Rogers has a longstanding family relationship with ceramic (his mother was a potter who made him his first dinner service as a wedding gift) and he likewise maintains strong ties with Italy. He was born in Florence, spent a period of time living in Trieste and counts Italian architect Renzo Piano amongst his closest friends, almost a brother.
Rogers’ attention to materials – especially those with a high level of innovation – and architecture, which he sees as a symbiosis between interior and exterior, between a building and the system of utilities that allows it to function, is powerfully evidenced by the project that propelled him into the global spotlight, the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Since then he has been involved in countless projects, always remaining true to his philosophy of revealing elements that are normally hidden, such as stairs, ventilation ducts and heating systems. This stylistic approach to large buildings is matched by his focus on social projects such as affordable housing for low-income families, structures that – just like his famous shirts – stand out for their bold use of colour.