Woven window

Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful window I have ever seen, more beautiful than the gem-like stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris or the wavy glass walls of Rem Koolhaas’s Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. Though to be fair, this window has more in common with the latter, as it is both curtain and glass.1 Except that where Koolhaas’s wavy window alludes to the trope of the theater curtain, Piero Portaluppi’s ‘woven’ glass panes, each with its own narrow pleats, pays its respect to the curtain fabric, itself.

Warp and weft, defined by black mullions, are collapsed on the same plane, in a paradoxical tension. The taut shallow space where the window wavers is one that usually requires a magnifying glass to see. (That is, unless you are a weaver, knitter, or lacemaker, yourself.) In the picture galleries of the Casa-Museo Boschi Di Stefano in Milan where every wall is covered with paintings, Portaluppi’s presence might be hard to detect, but it’s there in the architecture of the textile-window.

1 But not the literal glass-curtain walls pioneered by Gropius and perfected by Shigeru Ban, where the view is a surrogate fabric.

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