19th century Rabat villa restored and opened to public

Villa LuginsLand turned into a cultural hub.
The interior of the LuginsLand of Art with polychrome paintings by Giuseppe Cali.

After many years of neglect, one of the most significant architectural gems in Malta, opens its door to the public. The initial opening of the cultural hub as a new concept LuginsLand of Art at the Villa, which is currently still under construction, includes an inaugural exhibition ‘Space & Time’ curated by the renowned Slovakian set designer, Boris Kudlička, who was invited to the project by the OmenaArt Foundation. The exhibition presents the works of esteemed Maltese and Polish artists.

Villa Luginsland, founded by Baron Maximilian Tucher von Simmelsdorf, is a unique 19th century residential palace, currently in the process of meticulous restoration to recapture its former glory. The Grade I Historic Property situated in Rabat, Malta that once hosted such luminaries as Queen Victoria and Wilhelm II, will open its doors to the public for the first time in many years.

This architectural gem was designed by a local architect Francesco Zammit. The outstanding building boasts a profoundly rich history, adorned with a captivating façade, lavishly embellished interiors, and distinctive architectural characteristics. The interior stands out with polychrome paintings by Giuseppe Cali, one of the best Maltese artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. With the outstanding ornamental elements, Villa Luginsland is an architectural masterpiece of Maltese heritage.

The restoration process includes implementing the state of art solutions and technologies with a team of esteemed international experts. Gathering historical documentation related to the villa and its surroundings, geodetic survey scans, technical reports, and detailed analysis of the whole estate have been all included in the restoration process to make sure that all the elements are treated with respect to the villa’s timeless beauty, history and tradition.

About LuginsLand of Art

Rebranded as ‘LuginsLand of Art’, the villa aspires to evolve into a hub for exhibitions, discourse, and diverse artistic events, fostering international artistic exchange and open dialogue across the dimensions of the past, present, and future. The project is supported by OmenaArt Foundation, founded by Omenaa Mensah, Polish philanthropist, businesswoman, and art collector. LuginsLand of Art is poised to open its door to the public in March as one of its preview events before the construction would be completed in coming years.

The inaugural exhibition ‘Space & Time’ curated by a renowned Slovakian set designer and architect – Boris Kudlička will showcase the works of renowned Maltese and Polish artists and encompass both site specific installations which have been created in line with thecuratorial concept and the historic reference of the site, as well as a curated selection of works from pre-existing series by the artists. The visual narrative establishes an intriguing dialogue between Neo-Renaissance architecture and Contemporary Art, aiming to create an intersection between the past and present through intercultural exchange.

The commissioned site-specific art installations at LuginsLand of Art feature the works of Maltese artists Matthew Attard, Victor Agius, Mario Abela, and Antoine Farrugia. These pieces integrate history, nature, and architecture, with the respect to villa’s profound history. Each artist brings a unique perspective to their work, aiming to blend with the villa’s architectural and archaeological elements. From Matthew Attard’s digital landscapes to Victor Agius’s sculptures, these works evoke a dialogue between the past and present.

Mario Abela’s installation prompts viewers to reflect on their impact on the world, while Antoine Farrugia’s use of Maltese limestone pays homage to the villa’s architecture. Together, these pieces form an intriguing display of artistic expression, inviting visitors to explore the intersection of time and space at LuginsLand of Art.

Alongside the exhibition, LuginsLand of Art is also organising the educational programme to be launched in March, which will extend until May 2024. The programme encompasses discussion panels and workshops, each delving into various facets of art and its relationships, including architecture, archaeology, community, and artistic legacy.

These panels feature distinguished Maltese and international artists, art historians, and art professionals who bring their perspectives on historical, social, and anthropological issues to the fore. The programme aims to foster an environment for discussion and offers an opportunity to explore the villa’s ongoing construction, restoration, and preservation efforts.

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