Maurizio Nannucci

MDA, du nord au sud et d'est en ouest

2001 - 2004

The commission

Located in the heart of the city of Roubaix, the Maison des Associations brings together more than a hundred associations in a single building which happens to be a former convent. The old-fashioned aspect of the façade and the gloomy nature of the entrance hall did not enhance the identity of the organisation with the public. Therefore, in order to renovate the image of the place and to foster relations with the city residents, the new management team considered a new layout of the hall - light, furniture, access for the disabled - designed around an art work.

The artwork

The mediator suggested involving the Belgian architect Christian Kieckens and the artist Maurizio Nannucci through a joint contribution.
However, it was not possible to refurbish the hall. Given the enthusiasm generated by Christian Kieckens' proposal, the Roubaix town council decided to redevelop the entire building and not just the hall. As this decision considerably increased the necessary budget, the town council postponed its implementation. Whilst the redevelopment was on hold, only the work of Maurizio Nannucci was carried out. A 250 cm square with the letters MDA in coloured neon is installed in the entrance hall, completed by a sentence in blue neon evocative of the ethnic diversity of the inhabitants of the city of Roubaix: "from north to south and from east to west".

The presence of the work allowed a change in the atmosphere of the hall and boosted the MDA's action. In this sense, it was a perfect response to the commission.

The artist

Nannucci designed his first coloured works in neon writing at the end of the 1960s, which still characterise his art today. He chooses locations for his neon lights that make architecture visible. Thus, he has invested many public buildings and museums in major European cities (Berlin, Munich, Rome, Venice, Basel, etc.), seeking to integrate signs into the anonymity of the urban environment.