Realized by the Berlin studio Sauerbruch Hutton and inaugurated in 2018, the M9 Museum is the largest cultural project in the metropolitan area of Venice-Mestre. A happy marriage between the needs of the modern exhibition structure and the pre-existing urban architecture, this building with a strong dialogic propensity embodies two concepts central to the Arper philosophy: relationships and sustainability.
The M9 Museum was designed to enrich connections with and in the urban environment. The Sauerbruch Hutton studio created integration with the city through new public spaces and new entrances, such as the pedestrian path from Piazza Erminio Ferretto to the important thoroughfare of Via Cappuccina. The pathway traverses the covered courtyard of Convento delle Grazie where events and gatherings can take place, giving rise to the possibilities of interaction and flexibility that inform the character of the entire structure.
The external surface—produced by the combination of 21,000 polychrome ceramic tiles—deepens the building’s relationship to the city through color: the tiles take up the shades of the surrounding Venetian palaces in a harmonious symbiosis between ancient and modern.
Within the buildings themselves, sustainability is a central focus. The M9 Museum will be the second Italian museum, after Renzo Piano's Muse, to obtain the LEED Gold certification of the Green Building Council. The focus on sustainability intervenes in every aspect of the project— from its structural characteristics, to the plant engineering, to informing the behaviors of those who use the space through cycle paths, pedestrian paths and easy access to the public transport network.
Inside, two floors of the building are occupied by the permanent exhibition, focused on the history of contemporary Italy. The "white box" on the third floor—a space that benefits from abundant natural lighting— is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The first exhibition that baptized its use was Italy of Photographers: through 230 images, the curator Denis Curti told the story of the Italian twentieth century from multiple points of view.
"We had almost 1,300 square meters of free floor space available," explains Alessandro Pedron of the studio Architetti Pedron / La Tegola who took care of the exhibition set-up. "The interesting thing is that we were not only asked to design the exhibition, as usually happens, but also the interior furnishings, including the video room and a reading area with catalogs. We needed comfortable seats where we could rest, but also to appreciate the exhibition from a different, more relaxed perspective, and Arper was our first choice right from the start."
Pix chairs harmonize naturally, both in shape and size, with a space devoid of precise geometries. The shade of gray that was selected from the catalog was then sampled and reproduced on the panels that made up the layout—a suggestive play of references between horizontal and vertical planes. Today, at the end of the event, the Pix are still an integral part of the furniture. Thanks to their flexibility, they are also used for other events.
"The use of Arper chairs has allowed us to create a calm project in a relaxing space". And, also to a project with a cosmopolitan breath, based on the dialogue between diverse skills, souls, and cultures. The M9 Museum is a building that combines multiple disciplines and perspectives: born from an international competition, it made use of a local architecture studio for the fittings, and the support of Crescente Interni, a dealer who intervened together with Arper not as a simple supplier but as a real project partner bringing together diverse skillsets into one project. These collaborators, who rarely happen to participate in the same work, have found themselves united through this project—together.