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The Monti-fication of Renzo Piano

Cartoon: Steve Bonello

Cartoon: Steve Bonello

Before all hell breaks loose next week, just take a look at this picture of the hideous white structure, yes the one which looks like a reject from a 1980s Malta bus stop.

As from next week, these Monti stalls, consisting of a metal frame fronted with white marine plywood and a red embossed eight-pointed cross motif will start being erected right at the entrance to our beautiful capital.

We already know the move to Valletta’s Ordnance Street is ill-advised and merely intended to please the hawkers and nobody else. What many don’t realise is that the stalls are not going to be safely tucked away out of sight, but that a number of them are lined up to be erected right between Renzo Piano’s new parliament building and Pjazza Teatru Rjal.

Yes, you’ve heard right - these shambolic structures which are more akin to mqaret kiosks will be placed right in the middle of what is arguably Malta’s finest 21st century architectural project. It’s like setting up a flea market between the statue of Nelson and the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Let’s just forget for a moment that the eight-pointed cross is (once again) being misused (and overused), am I the only one who thinks it ironic that the cross is being emblazoned over stalls that mainly sell inferior products made anywhere but Malta.

The fact that anyone who visits this city will be greeted with tacky merchandise the minute they walk in should make anybody with an iota of dignity cringe. Or protest. Loudly!

And if you think the structures will be carted away after a day’s work, think again. We have just learnt the stalls are pretty much permanent.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t claim to being qualified in aesthetics any way. But I have a lot of respect for my capital and I have admired the way Valletta has been brilliantly restored and embellished in the last 15 years. Turning City Gate into a Marrakech market overnight is nothing but a national embarrassment.

Read also here.

 

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