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“Enchanting Architecture”, the story of the IIC building in Stockholm

"Enchanting Architecture", la storia della sede dell'IIC a Stoccolma

“Enchanting Architecture” is the title of a historical publication about the construction of the Italian Institute of Culture’s home in Stockholm, one of the most representative Italian buildings abroad, designed and furnished in the Fifties by Gio Ponti at the initiative of the engineer and industrialist, Carlo Maurilio Lerici, who also contributed significantly to financing its construction. The book, published in 2021 by 5 Continents Editions and commissioned directly by the Italian Institute of Culture, will be presented in Milan on November 18 at 4 p.m. at the ADI Design Museum, as part of the “BookCity Milano”, fair, which is being held from November 17 to 21 with the support of the City of Milan as part of its promotion of the world of books and reading, through a series of meetings in support of literature and culture.


For the Institute in Stockholm, as for the world in general, the year of global pandemic has meant a period of sudden change and adaptation when, unable to organize cultural events that could no longer be attended by the public, all the available energy and resources were channeled into valorization of the building designed by Gio Ponti: that is how we got “Enchanting Architecture”, the book which narrates the events leading to its construction, viewed through a historical as well as an artistic lens.

Ponti’s idea was that of an architecture open to modern stimuli, lightened in its structures and conscious of its function. The volume covers this piece of history, expressed in the dialogue between two cultures, Italian and Swedish, that came together in this place of meeting and shared experience. Above all, it is the story of the building and the project by Gio Ponti who, in this case, collaborated with the Swedish architect Ture Wennerholm, as well as with Pier Luigi Nervi in the creation of the auditorium and Ferruccio Rossetti in enlarging the entry hall. “Enchanting Architecture” opens with introductions by Mario Cospito, Maria Sica and Salvatore Licitra and continues with a series of contributions by scholars and academics: Antonello Alici, Giovanni Bellucci, Domitilla Dardi, Fulvio Irace, Adriana Rispoli and Fredrick Whitling. Its purpose is to present and explore the background relating to the client commissioning the project, the design and construction of the building and the design of its interiors. The texts are accompanied by historic photographs and reproductions of sketches, architectural drawings and designs from the Institute’s archives. In addition to this material, there is a new photo-report by Luciano Romano, centered on the architectural and design elements that characterize the building.