Famous
for his whimsy and exuberance, the design of Piazza d’Italia
by Richard Moore is nothing short of magical stage set of liquid water and
shimmering light. A small architectural intervention in the downtown port of
New Orleans, the Piazza d’Italia
was created in 1978 to reflect the popular taste of the post modern era.  Set on 2 acres between the shore of the
Mississippi River and the business district, the piazza is an oasis of colour
and tranquillity. It was designed as part of the modernization plan and as a space
of communal celebration for the local Italian community.

 

Moore
creates an environment to be seen in various light conditions.  The open-air colonnade, which forms one of two
entrances to the central fountain, is paved with cobblestones and bands of granite
leading the visitor into a series of open archways aligned in a hemicyclical form.
The changes in levels with cascading waters and three shallow pools reflect the
contours of the Italian countryside.

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At
night, the use of stainless-steel cladding to the top of the columns and neon
lights set the stage for a magical spatial experience of shadow and light. At
the centre is St Joseph’s
fountain shaped in the form of the Italian Peninsula, surrounded by a clock
tower, a tall structure with a roman arch finished bright yellow paint. Its’
design and that of the open roman temple were treated in an abstract
minimalistic fashion with entablatures inscribed in Latin and walls bearing two
pictographs of Moore’s
face.

 

To
the East, vibrant rendered classical columns in golden yellow and vivid
terracotta colours, varies in order from the Ionic, Doric, Corinthian, and a
fourth Delicatessen order created by Moore. They frame the views, and offer a
window into Moore’s
playful desire to reflect the influence of history on architecture applying
filtered homage to pop art and Italian influences. Moore’s vision is of an
inclusive and a democratic architecture for the postmodern era.