Sergio Musmeci + Zenaide Zanini | Potenza 1966–1976
When the Basento Bridge opened to the public in 1976, it was greeted with mixed reaction. Praised by some for its elegant shape and innovative design, the bridge was condemned by others for being overly indulgent and unnecessarily complicated.
At a time when there was virtually no substantive design conversation about infrastructure’s social value beyond utility, structural engineer Sergio Musmeci and his partner, architect Zenaide Zanini, conceived a provocative project mindful of environmental equity.
Now, as design discourse turns its attention to infrastructure’s civic and social role in cities, cultural activist Victor Jones triggers a reassessment of the Basento Bridge and how its formal “imposition” - derived from soapy film and bubbles - is not only straight to the point but affirms notions of socially-minded and aesthetically-driven infrastructure.
Jones’s mise-en-scène of artifacts and drawings alongside images by architectural photographer Hélène Binet capture a glimpse of the bridge’s daring ambition.