An Italian square designed by Stefano Boeri Interiors at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

The project by the Stefano Boeri Interiors studio is developed around a small scale recreation of an Italian square, surrounded by porticoes, columns and steps.

After 36 years, Italy returns as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most important event in the world of publishing, capable of attracting 300,000 visitors and which this year will be held from 16th to 20th October 2024. For this edition, the Stefano Boeri Interiors studio was commissioned by Extraordinary Commissioner Mauro Mazza to design the layout for the pavilion dedicated to Italian cultural heritage and publishing.

In line with the theme “Roots in the future”, the design by the Stefano Boeri Interiors studio has been inspired by the idea of the square as the driving force behind the Italian city, inviting visitors to the Event to discover the latest editorial and literary news while moving between the tables, porticoes and the entrance halls of a square.

The pavilion, which emerged from an idea shared with the art historian Giovanni Agosti, will in fact be structured around a genuine central square, crowned by a series of architectural elements such as the porticoes that establish its perimeter, a number of columns, some of which are decorated with historical-architectural details and which outline the rhythm of the portico, and finally the steps that surround the area, which also become a sort of informal seating area in which to socialise freely and spontaneously, as happens in the squares of Italian historic city centres.

An identifying place par excellence, the square is not simply an urban construction but rather the archetypical space for meetings and informal relationships. The "square" designed for the Frankfurt Fair by Stefano Boeri Interiors will therefore be the beating heart of the ample schedule of appointments, lectures and meetings throughout the four days of the event, and the place in which to meet and gather to chat after having visited the surrounding areas.

“We interpreted the theme ‘Roots in the future’ by choosing to recreate an Italian square in the central Pavilion of the Frankfurt Book Fair complete with columns, porticoes and steps on which to sit, attend an event, read a book or just have a rest. In actual fact there is nothing which has deeper roots in our history and, at the same time, a generous openness to the world and the unpredictability of daily life in the Italian square, the soul of our towns, cities and country says the architect Stefano Boeri, founder of Stefano Boeri Interiors.This installation offers an experience organised around a series of references, memories, passions and forms, as well as architectural elements that will form the backdrop to this encounter between the different cultural and artistic currents that are representing Italy, Guest of Honour” concludes architect Giorgio Donà, Partner and Director of Stefano Boeri Interiors.

The rooms surrounding the Italian pavilion, which all will open onto the square, will be distinguished by different functions, colours and specific exhibition features which have also been designed to help visitors get their bearings. Each of these environments will host exhibitions or activities designed to bring the international public closer to some of the most relevant contemporary expressions of Italian culture. The selection of contents, created by Extraordinary Commissioner Mazza and his team, includes a wide variety of cultural presences.

Two adjacent rooms will present “Sotto un cielo antico (Under an ancient sky)”, the exhibition curated by MiC in which it is possible to see some of the greatest works of historic art belonging to national Italian museums. One room will commemorate Il Principe by Niccolò Machiavelli and a subsequent one will tell the story of Aldus Manutius, considered to be among the greatest publishers of all time and creator of the forerunner of the modern paperback book. Notable for its preponderance of vegetal elements, the Library of 600 books is so named because it will bring together 600 volumes translated from German into Italian, which, as per tradition, will be donated at the end of the event to the Guest of Honour country. GO!25 will be an environment dedicated to celebrating Nova Gorica and Gorizia as European Capital of Culture 2025, while the Caffè Letterario will be a small auditorium intended for conferences and meetings. Finally, Reading in the dark is a room that will host an audio installation in the dark, conceived both to raise visitor awareness about reading for the blind and issues of accessibility for all, and to bring the public closer to the audiobook experience.