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Milan - On Friday October 16, 2015 the Clock Room reopens, with a new setting, thanks to the generous support of Nina Stevens, in memory of Patrick Heiniger former CEO of Rolex.  “Our work and our effort -says Annalisa Zanni, director of the Museum- show the great commitment of the Poldi Pezzoli Foundation in upgrading the museum. We owe it to this precious casket created by the passion of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and then of Bruno Falck and many other generous art collectors and donors who, together with the scholars, who keep it alive”


In the extraordinary clock collection of the house-museum, there are about 250 items.  Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli owned a small group of clocks, nineteen: among them some scientific instruments, two clocks with automata (one is the famous “Chariot of Diana”) and two 18th century wall pendulum-clocks.

A great change happened in 1973 when Bruno Falck (1902-1993) donated to the Museum his prestigious collection of mechanical clocks and scientific instruments. This led to the creation of a Clock Room, designed by the architect Guido Frette with the collaboration of Guido Gregorietti, at that time the museum director.

The high quality of the Falck donation transformed the collection, as the famous expert Giuseppe Brusa used to say in “the most important and representative one in Italy”. Over one hundred items arrived in 1973, the Breguet chronograph in 1975, and some more pieces in 1976.

Soon after the opening of the Clock Room, the collection was enriched by new donations: first the over two hundred sundials gathered by Piero Portaluppi, which were placed in a dedicated showcase in the Palma Room. Other precious donations followed: by Alberto Vaghi in 1979, by Saba Valeri Faraggiana in 1982, by Roberto Manfredini in 1986, by Armando Leoncini in 1988, by Zaira Roncoroni in 1990, by Piero and Carla Bassetti in 2001 and by Paola Cazzola Zanotelli in 2015.


The availability of a small room next to the former clock room made possible the technological upgrading of the former setting: ten metallic showcases supported by poles and four showcases on the wall, each lighted only inside, wallpaper and dark grey carpet.

After 30 years, this setting needed a renovation. The architects Luca Rolla and Alberto Bertini supervised by Annalisa Zanni and Lavinia Galli, chose to keep the character of the original project.  They reinterpreted the room as a casket for the precious collection, changed the tour and added new showcases. All the surfaces look now homogenous, with a corten-steel finishing, a dark and uniform base enhancing the items on show.

This “casket effect” underlines the preciousness of the collection, in an ideal link with the Dante Study as well as with the Armoury created by Arnaldo Pomodoro.

The new LED lighting system by Studio Ferrara-Palladino e Associati and the new non-glare glass emphasize the objects on show.  Behind the walls, temporary storage spaces are avalaible for the works not on show.  This new setting offers to collectors, to experts and to all the visitors the possibility to better understand the characteristics of the collection, now divided in 15 sections, studied by Lavinia Galli (from the first portable timepieces to the Breguet, from the Baroque to the 19th century clocks). The sections show also the evolution of measurement as well as of value of time through the centuries.


The majority of the clocks had been restored between 1973 and 1986. The metallic parts of some of them were by now oxidized and many mechanisms were out of order. Thanks to ARASS-Brera (Associazione per il Restauro degli Antichi Strumenti Scientifici) and to Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte some of the more prestigious clocks had been restored. Their cases are now clean, their mechanisms are working and at least thirty of them will sound a few times during the year.


Thanks to "Time Pieces", (an interactive station created by Streamcolors, digital art studio, with the support of the grant InnovaCultura promoted by Unioncamere Lombardia, Regione Lombardia and Fondazione Cariplo) it is possible to discover the wonderful mechanisms of the clocks and appreciate

their functioning as well as their extraordinary decorations.

The app in a touchscreen post set on the wall allows the visitors to browse in a three-dimensional space, “entering” inside the objects. High definition photos can be enlarged in order to discover all details. High definition videos will show some mechanisms and some automata in action

The new graphic design is by Emilio Fioravanti (G&R Associati).  A bilingual guide illustrates twenty important pieces of the collection as well as the evolution of clock making in Europe from the 16th to the 19th century. Printed by Temi Editrice, it is designed by Salvatore Gregorietti.

There will be also guided tours for schools about time and timepieces.

Under the aegis of: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo, Regione Lombardia, Comune di Milano and Camera di Commercio Industria, Artigianato e Agricoltura  In collaboration with: Associazione Amici del Museo Poldi Pezzoli and Fondazione Corriere della Sera. 

Technical sponsors: Laminam, OIKOS, Milan, October 15th 2015



A Luxury Traveler's Epilogue

Precious Time at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum

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