Founded in 1990 by Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi, Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro is a non-profit civil society organization based in the city of São Paulo – Brazil. It is dedicated to intellectual production in the fields of architecture, urbanism, design and arts.
The Institute’s mission is to perpetuate the work of its founders, Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi. Its goals include preserving and publicizing the artistic legacy of Lina and P. M. Bardi; ensuring the conservation and organization of its archive – comprising drawings, projects, correspondence, documents and others – and facilitating access to the public; collaborating in publications, exhibitions, lectures and seminars within the cultural and artistic field; supporting projects that promote Brazilian arts, design and architecture; encouraging exchanges between Brazilian and foreign intellectuals and creators; and always maintaining its values current in consonance with the present time.
The Institute is also dedicated to transforming its headquarters into a space for knowledge exchange, establishing a constructive dialogue with society and defending the freedom to think, create and debate. In order to do so, it maintains the Glass House as an active space through the visits, the organization of its own exhibitions, lectures and seminars, and also through the leasing of some areas of its facilities to hold cultural events.
“Allow me to complement my wife’s, Lina, idea regarding the possibility of destining our house and art objects to a foundation that can transform it into a curious example of the dwelling of immigrants, whom contributed to the dissemination of the arts in Brazil both in the architecture sector (house at Morumby, Masp building in Paulista, restoration of Fábrica da Pompéia, restoration of Politeama in Jundiaí), as well as in the museographic sector (creation of Masp and notable donations), in the journalistic field (‘Habitat’ magazine , ‘Mirante das Artes’, ‘Vogue Arte’) and in the editorial (an extensive bibliography).”
[Excerpt written by Pietro Maria Bardi in a letter requesting the listing of the Casa de Vidro. São Paulo, 1985]
Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro — initially named Instituto Quadrante, in reference to the magazine directed by Bardi and Massimo Bontempelli (1933-1936) in Italy — was founded in assembly in May 3rd 1990 as a non-profit civil society organization with “exclusively cultural and artistic” goals. It was initially managed by an Executive Board, with Pietro Maria Bardi being the President Director and Lina Bo Bardi Vice President Director, and a Board of Trustees composed by Graziella Bo Valentinetti, Lina’s sister who remained at the Institute until her death in 2008; the painter, draftsman and museologist Fábio Luiz Pereira de Magalhães; the lawyer and professor at the University of São Paulo’s Faculty of Law Modesto Carvalhosa; the lawyer, businessman, writer and Brazilian bibliophile José Ephim Mindlin; the lawyer and SESC director, Renato Antônio Quadros de Souza Requixa; and the lawyer Renato Magalhães Gouvêa, who had been partner-owner of the Mirante das Artes gallery with Pietro Maria Bardi and one of the most renowned art dealers and experts. The Executive Board was responsible for the representation and administration of the Institute, and the Board of Trustees for the inspection and approval of decisions, also contemplating partners who collaborated by raising resources, discussing and approving the Institute’s actions.
According to the minutes of formation, Pietro Maria Bardi declared the “advantage of establishing a private entity that can develop alone or in conjunction with the Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP and also with national and foreign entities, cultural activities and studies related to the history of art and architecture […]”, a guideline that is still part of the Institute’s objectives to this day. Weeks after the creation of the Institute, Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi donated the work “Portrait of Don Sebastian Marie Gabriel de Bourbon – Bragance” by Francisco Goya, from the year 1820, to the Institute, which established its initial capital with the sale of the painting to the Fuji Art Museum in Japan.
In 1993, a year after Lina’s passing on March 20th, 1992, the Board of Instituto Quadrante, then having Graziella Bo Valentinetti, Lina’s sister, as Vice President, and Marcelo Ferraz and Eugenia Gorini Esmeraldo as new members, met in an assembly to honor her memory and change the name of the institute to Instituto Lina Bo and P.M. Bardi, legalizing for this all the articles of the previous Statute. In the same year, the Institute was primarily dedicated to the survey, exhibition, publication and dissemination, both in Brazil and abroad, of the relevant work by Lina Bo Bardi, with the 2nd São Paulo Architecture Biennale as the center of these celebrations.
In 1995, the Glass House (Casa de Vidro, in Portuguese) was donated to the Institute by Pietro Maria Bardi. Designed in 1950 by Lina Bo Bardi to be the couple’s residence, the house was completed in 1951 and listed in 1987 by CONDEPHAAT (state authority) as a historical heritage site – later also listed by Conpresp (municipal authority) and Iphan (national authority). Since the donation, it houses the headquarters of the Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro, which supports the maintenance of its space and preservation of its archive. The Glass House, combined with the initiative to form a cultural institution, is the last museum created and founded by the Bardi couple, dedicated to their own trajectory and intellectual production in multiple fields of the cultural scenario.