All'Osteria degli Artisti

     While motoring down from Bellinzona in the early evening, it was again possible to experience one of those momentary sensations of recollective coincidence, which our memory can on occasion spring upon us: the feeling of having been in some place similar, perhaps even some place far away. The season, the hour of the day, weather, the humidity and the geographical setting, all came together to evoke the Kano River on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan.

     Here we were, in the Canton Ticino of Switzerland, yet there was something about the Ticino River flowing southward to our right, and the hills dense with woodland rising on our left, that made one expect to soon be stopping to visit the gravel precincts of a small temple, or shrine, where stone lanterns with no more than a small flame offer the only light in the gathering dusk, and the slightest rustling of the tall cedar trees provides the most barren yet most suggestive of decors: a serenity rendered almost palpable, void within void, silence within silence.

     The bubble burst, and the reverie vanished. But as we got out of the car at the restaurant "Chez Max", something of the evocative hills of suburban Kyoto still lingered. We settled at our table on the gravel terrace under the vast canopy of the whispering leafage that bedecked the outstretched boughs of a centenarian elm. Max stands out among the forest of local chefs and demonstrates his culinary inventiveness on a daily basis.

     After Max himself put down on the table an exeptional bottle of the local white Merlot, squeezed from grapes grown in the vinyards which surrounded us, the table-talk resumed the conversation of the afternoon:        

     Sandro Zendralli: "...What is more, I follow subconsciously the concept of feng shui that turns out to be perfectly embodied in all of my constructions without me ever thinking about it on purpose.
Norwegian salmon flavored
with ground coffee & sambuca
antipasto of sausage cheese olives
& sun dried tomatoes

     "I interpret feng shui far more as a perception of the sensibility than as a fixed rule. A natural gesture. I developed something like it in my architecture, especially in the entry of a house, for example, to the living room that comes always from a lateral position like a little pathway that does not cross the bigger pathway in an orthogonal angle. The same principle is to be found in the disposition of the rest of the rooms which I create through a process of pure instinct. I trust my first impressions.

Salad of Ligurian octopus
melone & prosciutto
pasta primavera La Foce
gaspacho à la Oaxaca...

     "I don't really follow the Golden Section either in architecture or in art. I only listen to my intuition, my endeavor in controlling the proportions in rapport with the surrounding ambient. Obviously I also have to follow certain imposed dimensional constrictions like height, surface. Those rules have to be adapted to your project. They form an a priori volume which the architect must then carve in order to give lightness, by letting light enter by carefully planificated ways, something you cannot accomplish by operating within one single volume.

Fresh sea bass baked on bed of salt  
smothered in fresh mint  
vongole & mushrooms...

     "Modern architecture should not follow classical rules like the Golden Section, it should instead follow the personal vision of the architect and his own sense of proportion. Every architect expresses himself individually.

Canard rôti & walnut stuffing
oven-golden new potatoes
& rucola
leeks à la vinagrette...

     "For one project, there can be a variety of different solutions. The architect has to be capable of making the construction less pompous. (Just think about the heaviness of the neo-classical...) Today's technical capacity -unknown only a short time ago- allows such intentions to be realized. Reinforced concrete can be modulated, as Le Corbusier said, in tension and compression, making even the most creative of projects possible.

Mixed grill of wild boar
local goat
miniature deer alla cacciatore
swine to the fire...

     "Obviously, an architect who works with iron has a different impact than one who works with wood or glass. You can build with wood, iron, glass, as long as you order the materials in the correct way, emphasizing the characteristics of each material. Each provokes a different light, a different proportion.

à la mode anciènne...

     "I think that architecture and painting deal with light in the same way. Architecture is the equilibrium between form and light. Painting on the other hand is not three-dimensional, the light is created with color. But both of them become the same, but with one difference: one is three-dimensional, the other not. One must learn to work within this contradiction.

style de Maine...

     "When I paint I see the horizons together with light and color, the chiaroscuro, that give a three-dimensionality to the painting which has to be included naturally, unconsciously, while you work.


     "When I make a painting, I keep going until I know it's finished. In that amount of time, everything comes together automatically. The only exception so far is my most recent large canvas with hand imprints, where I transformed the original landscape. I knew it was not finished, because I felt I could add or subtract too many elements.

Petits fours de Salzburg
en compôt de zenzero fresco...

     "Just as in archtitecture: once the project is prepared and the construction site is ready, looking at the plan of the building you must not add or subtract anything. The same thing goes for a painting. And in this particular instance at first I might have wanted to do just a nocturnal scene, with a lake, while a few years later I thought of something else.

Sorbet of fresh mandarino
pêche Melba à la mode de Deauville
crème de marrons Chantilly...  

     "The painting is influenced by the architecture. A painting of springtime with flowers and mountains: an architect, or a painter, either one could do that. It follows a scenic order. Background, middle and focus on the foreground.

Castagnaccia alla Barona...

     "The architect loves to see those foregrounds, and then the horizon. I cannot make a distinction between the perception of an artist or an architect. In my case, drawing helps me seek the simplicity of lines."

fatti in casa.

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