Lectio Magistralis of Martin Rein Cano


The Masters of Landscape: Landscape Festival 2023 “Grow together”

Also for 2023 we could not miss the appointment with “The Masters of the Landscape” held from 7 to 24 September 2023. This year the theme of the Landscape Festival was “Grow Together”.

“Growing together with the landscape, as people, as a community, as humanity, but also growing together as a city, Bergamo and Brescia. Taking care of the landscape means knowing how to create harmony between the presence of man, architecture and nature.”

The Landscape Festival 2023 was part of the “Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023” program, as a reference event when it comes to the important themes of landscape and the environment.

As with the previous edition, we will share with you the most interesting events with a series of articles dedicated to “The Masters of the Landscape”.

Let’s start with the opening event of the Landscape Festival 2023, the Lectio Magistralis by Martin Rein Cano.

Who is Martin Rein Cano? What was his plan for the Landscape Festival 2023?

Martin Rein Cano and the 4 cornerstones of the project

On 7 September in upper Bergamo, the Lectio Magistralis by Martin Rein Cano was held who, before describing the reasons behind the installation of the pyramid in Piazza Vecchia, talked about the projects he tackled with his Topotek1 working group.

This year the Bergamo Alta project brings to the streets an installation that arises from a previous one presented in Milan during the Design Week.

The “Sculpture” of Piazza Vecchia

To explain the “sculpture” of Piazza Vecchia, the architect Rein Cano decided to start from his own work alongside the Topotek1 group founded in 1996 in Berlin with the aim of following the spirit of the time (zeitgeist) in the project.

In recent years, reflections have revolved around, for example, climate change, Covid, immigration and more, including all of this in their projects.

A new term with which they had to deal was “green washing”, that is, the practice whereby the problem of sustainability is addressed only on the surface with palliative solutions that in reality solve nothing.

“[…] There was never any more inception than there is now
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world. […]”

(Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass – if you want to delve deeper into the entire poem here)

Being aware of today is essential. You can’t stay on the surface.


Lectio Magistralis 2023: The four pairs of themes addressed by Martin Rein Cano

The first pair of themes is composed of Contextualization and Resonance. Bringing the theme of climate change into the present by making it resonate in projects from the past to the present.

Identity and Narrative

The second is formed by Identity and Narrative, where the identity of a place has become a continuously evolving concept. It is no longer a fixed element, but depends on who lives there: religion, culture, origins, in short, new projects for a new way of living.

Sustainability and Program

The third includes Sustainability and the Program which include not only electric cars or the planting of new plants, but also and above all long-term planning: foresight.

Temporality and Activation

The fourth and final thematic pair concerns Temporality and Activation, which have a lot to do with the pyramid built in the old square. Martin Rein Cano admits that they were a bit of a terrorist by proposing an element of rupture with the surrounding world, a bomb to light the fuse of curiosity for the climate topic.

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: THE LORSCH MONASTERY

Martin Rein Cano begins to talk about his works from the Lorsch Monastery which no longer exists, where many of the texts now present in the Vatican library were copied. Having to intervene to make it a public park, they decided to create movements in the ground that would become the imprint of the missing building, thus making its presence felt respectfully. A usable movement, a spatial sculpture.

mondo-del-giardino topotek Lorsch
Topotek1 Weltkulturerbe Kloster Lorsch
Topotek1 Weltkulturerbe Kloster Lorsch
Topotek1 Weltkulturerbe Kloster Lorsch

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: SUPERKILEN

To present the second work he started from afar. Showing nineteenth-century bucolic paintings that were in vogue in England where the architecture that forms the background exists, but each in different places and inserted close together because they are useful to the painter’s imagination. Even English gardens welcomed architecture and plants that were not part of English history but represented a “whim”.

The design reality of these paintings, created to give beauty to a room, plays freely with the manipulated reality, when necessary. Whoever inserts these elements is a “traitor” of the original, but also remains faithful to his design freedom which allows him to play with the copy.

This is how the Copenhagen Superkilen public park project was approached.

Topotek1 Superkilen

They entered a competition and won.

The residents of this place were involved in the planning by proposing objects from their own culture which were then copied or taken from the original place and inserted into the park. Even the plants are not native but inserted based on suggestions – and not only. In this way the designers also developed the underlying theme of the actual project.

Topotek1 Superkilen

Above and beyond enjoyment, one perceives, first of all, by experiencing it, its identity and this is hyper-real because it is full of references to other cultures, to other places, to other lives and times and stories.

They are all here, all together at the same time, but this is stimulating and allows all the ethnic groups that live in that area to feel at home, in an old house but also in a new house that includes them and also the others, their stories .

This facilitates the lack of conflicts, pacifying: remove the ethnic groups, put the human group.

Topotek1 Superkilen

A series of speakers is connected to an app that allows the loading of music which will be played in these speakers but at a controlled volume: noise is allowed, but controlled.

The ring welcomes the fight, but it is controlled. Violence is “allowed”, but kept under control. A peaceful place but not in Danish terms of total pacification.

Here we use appeasement which contains a certain amount of violence which is not a Danish concept.

Topotek1 Superkilen

The land of Israel, of Palestine was brought and represents the sacredness of the land.

Today this public park is one of the ten most visited places in Denmark, thus becoming Danish despite not having a Danish identity but having become part of it.

Topotek1 Superkilen

Fundamental themes for Martin Rein Cano: Sustainability and program

Things don’t stop. Used things should be thrown away when finished. We have to think about what will happen to them. You need to have a double schedule, an initial and a final one.

The rainwater that falls in the city does not travel properly underground because the surface layer is waterproof. The water immediately ends up in the drains and in the sea.

We need to slow this flow so that the water is used below the surface without percolating away unnecessarily.

The city must be made spongy.

This is a concept that you will often find in mondodelgiardino.com articles: it is a fundamental concept!

mondo-del-giardino martin rein cano hoje
Topotek1 Downtown hoje taastrup

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: DOWNTOWN HOJE TAASTRUP

In the project for a public park south of Copenhagen: “Downtown hoje taastrup” they built a depression useful for playing, but designed to receive rainwater and send it to natural filters to then take the right underground path before reaching the sea. A path that allows the plants present in that area to be used even after it has fallen.

mondo-del-giardino martin rein cano downtown
Topotek1 Downtown hoje taastrup

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: PALACE DEL L’EUROPE

Speaking of the desire not to correct a place subjected to intervention, let’s talk about the “Palace del l’Europe” project in Luxembourg. A place that had already been designed, but no longer corresponded to today’s needs. Thinking precisely about this concept of time passing and with it changing needs, they decided to make a transitional project by inserting a wooden stage that invited action and they thought of a program that would attract people. An initiative that would bring people back to that place as it is not frequented by those who work in the buildings overlooking the square. In fact, employees used the canteens inside the buildings. Topotek1 has activated the Food-Track Festival.

mondo-del-giardino Topotek1 Palace
Topotek1 Palace de l'Europe - Lussemburgo

To talk about Temporality and Activation we refer again to the project mentioned immediately above where the intervention was not above all of a planning type but of an ideational, creative and transversal type to its role.

Events such as, for example in Italy, the Venice Biennale or the Salone del Mobile in Milan, can be excellent opportunities to experiment with people. To test ideas and see if project actions are successful.

mondo-del-giardino Topotek1 Palace park
Topotek1 Palace de l'Europe - Lussemburgo
mondo-del-giardino Topotek1 Europe
Topotek1 Palace de l'Europe - Lussemburgo

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: MYRIAD

With this premise, Martin Rein Cano talks to us about Myriad, a project he realized with his ex-wife who is a composer.

This project is a wall on which musical elements that can be activated by the public are mounted. This installation is a wall, mounted in various parts of the world in various buildings such as libraries, exhibitions, galleries and a media museum. Interaction, portability, use by adults and children is what they wanted.

It is important to them that the experiences they create are intellectual, but open to the general public of all ages.

mondo-del-giardino martin rein cano myriad
Martin Rein Cano - Myriad
mondo-del-giardino martin rein cano palazzo
Martin Rein Cano - Myriad
mondo-del-giardino martin rein cano
Martin Rein Cano - Myriad

Martin Rein Cano’s projects: THE PYRAMID OF PIAZZA VECCHIA

By recounting his and their work he comes to talk about Bergamo and the installation in Piazza Vecchia.

Starting from the data of climate change which caused 18 thousand victims in Italy alone in 2022 and 61 thousand in Europe, the architect claims that the first thing is to plant trees in the city. We now know that this lowers the city’s temperatures.


The structure came first at the Milano furniture fair. People were able to purchase plants to replant wherever they wanted. This activates climate awareness even in children who will be able to see those plants grow.


The pyramid version in Bergamo allows you to take the plants but also, unlike the Milanese one, to sit on the steps once the plants have been sold without the need to spend money.

In fact, Martin Rein Cano claims that this square is not social, that is, at the service of people. In fact, there are no benches in this square. Furthermore, you can climb the pyramid to see the views and buildings from another angle.

Lectio Magistralis by Martin Rein Cano: Final considerations

The people of Bergamo were rightly surprised by this installation: it covers the buildings, swallows the beautiful fountain, you can see the structure.

This time we need to go further:

you will be able to take away a plant from Vivai Guagno which is a safe investment – given the seriousness of the nursery.

You can sit on the stands of the pyramid admiring the square from the center and for free.

You will be able to climb the pyramid and admire the facades of the buildings from above perhaps for the only time in your life.

In the coming days, moreover, articles relating to other interesting meetings will be published: as young people say: stay tuned!!


The advice of Mondo del Giardino

We can no longer remain on the surface of things: we need to activate new points of view!

Read the article on “The Masters of the Landscape” 2022 here

If, on the other hand, you would like a project and an estimate for your green space, write to info@mondodelgiardino.com and you will be given a name among those chosen by Mondo del Giardino!

Now on horseback! Work awaits us! Our new wonderful outdoor space is about to be born!

GOOD WORK and … if you have any questions please write to info@mondodelgiardino.com

Sources of images: thanks for the photos Topotek1.