Casa Balla, in Rome, was the home of the Futurist painter, sculptor and set designer Giacomo Balla for thirty years.
If, as Victor Hugo wrote, “From the shell on can guess the mollusc, from the house one can guess the inhabitant”, then this apartment on the fourth floor of Oslavia 39B, in the Prati quarter – where the Torino-born artist lived from 1929 to 1958, the year of his death, with his daughters Luce and Elica –, can certainly tell us the story of its out-of-the-ordinary owner.
This is the place where, over time, Balla developed the theories about Futurist painting that he expressed in his 1918 “Color Manifesto”, with words that today could serve to describe his Roman home: “A color explosion […] so joyful, bold, aerial, electrically laundered, dynamic, violent”.
In via Oslavia, Balla and his two daughters reutilized scraps of various materials to make flowers, put together light shades, screens and coat hangers, create tapestries and parchments, and sew Futurist clothes. They did ceramics, colored the walls, and decorated frames, using instruments that today are said to still lie in there, on a table, between some easels and old chairs.
Part of Balla’s creative equipment, indeed, is said to be still in those rooms, lit by their spectacular explosion of color.
And the widespread desire to make all of this open to the public has been waiting to be fulfilled for years.