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In 1996 Luciano inaugurated his gallery, which he projected and designed. The simple stone box built next to Micallef's house and studio provides few hints of the spatial experience and contents within, except perhaps in the wide opening and jutting terrace on the upper floor. The entry is an oblique one, as subtle as its final impact as professional as any architect could achieve. Entering a modest and even cramped hallway by Maltese domestic standards, one ascends an equally modest stairway distinguished only by its stark simplicity and whiteness. Turning on the landing to rise the last few steps to reach the main hall. Stepping up to the far end of the gallery, the visitor finally takes in the main space, the single line of paintings pulling the eye around in one bold sweep. The quality of the natural light which suffuses this simple white volume, bringing out the colours of the paintings in all their intensity, is a marvel in itself. Most of the light comes from above, from a canted roof. Light is also reflected in from the large open terrace and from the mezzanine floor on the same level, which provides further gallery space and another spatial dimension to the principal volume. Both are reached by an enclosed stairway rising straight up to one side of the gallery. Mounting the top of this stairway, the visitor encounters his or her second main architecture experience of the gallery. The pure white planes of the terrace walls outlined against a clear Mediterranean sky summons up the essence of Modern architecture.

Chris Abel

© 2013 lucianomicallef

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