Goppion and music: 60 years of passion
16 Sept 2013
Goppion has recently created cases for the new Museo del Violino in Cremona aimed at displaying the precious heritage of these string instruments – including relics, such as designs, forms and tools handed down from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop and donated to the city in the 1930s by violin maker Giuseppe Fiorini – while offering absolute security. In addition, furnishings were created for temporary exhibitions, organized along with the Friends of Stradivarius. Goppion worked with the architects Giorgio Palù and Michele Bianchi to optimize the design choices and ensure that the plans were feasible. It also took care of engineering the actual display cases. Thus, these instruments of inestimable value are protected by the most advanced technologies to control the relative humidity via a hygroscopic system, which can absorb or release the water vapor so that the concentration in the air stays within range of the desired value. This is achieved by the preconditioning of the hygroscopic material and further enhanced by a timed-fan system that can automatically activate to accelerate the process of creating a homogenous environment of air currents inside the display case. For the lighting system, Paolo Rodighero, a lighting designer for theater productions, and Aleart, were involved in selecting the lighting devices and ideal optics to illuminate the precious instruments from afar in the most consistent and balanced way. These instruments seem to float in their display cases, as magical and ethereal as their harmonies.
This museum in Cremona represents a prestigious milestone in Goppion’s work dedicated to music museums, which have played quite a significant role over the years as one of the major themes woven throughout the company’s history.
The adventure begins
It all began with the installation for the Civico Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Milan for which engineer Nino Goppion, owner of a company that created store showcases, was commissioned after World War II. This is what started the specialization that took the Milan-based company, later under the management of Nino’s son Alessandro, to the greatest heights in its work in museum installations and museum technology. The display cases created by Goppion in 1956 were designed by the architects Cossovich and Monzeglio as innovative “shells” in curved glass with valves that could be opened mechanically and that conformed to the shape of the objects, almost as if they were their own cases.
In the 1990s, Goppion was called upon to realize the display cases for violins that had belonged to Paganini in the room dedicated to him in the museum in Genoa, including the precious “Cannone Guarnerius,” the only intact “Guarnieri del Gesù” example. It is protected by a Goppion case not only at home but when it is taken around the world as well. Twenty-five years later, it was the musical instruments that had belonged to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Florence that required Goppion’s attention. These pieces include a tenor viola by Antonio Stradivari, a violoncello which was part of the same quintet of strings made in 1690 for Grand Prince Ferdinando and the oldest vertical piano in existence, and that is just to name a few. Each of these instruments required a “personalized” display case in extra-clear glass that also features a diagonal opening system that allows for maximum visibility. These instruments seem to float inside the display cases thanks to a suspension system with a cord attached to the ceiling and an anchor at bottom.
Since then, the history of Goppion has continued to be linked to that of many musical instruments all over the world, from the reworking of the interiors of the old display cases at the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali al Castello Sforzesco in Milan, to the Casa Verdi in Busseto, to the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to the exotic North African instruments in the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, all the way to this latest prestigious exhibition in the cradle of the luthier’