From Sand, Artworks in Glass – 9-10/12 – Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi

31.10.2020 – 11.12.2020

Michele De Lucchi

Antares, 1983

blown glass

h 54 cm


Ettore Sottsass

Alioth, 1983

blown glass

h 47 cm


BUILDINGBOX presents for the first time the works of two artists confronting each other inside the space of the gallery’s window, with the collaboration of Alberto Bianchi Albrici and Michele De Lucchi.

The two Memphis glass works (1983) represent their autors’ autoportraits: the first, Alioth, stands for Ettore Sottsass aged 77 years old, the second, Antares, depicts the thirty-two years old Michele De Lucchi.

This show, made of only two pieces, could be titled  Father and Son, because if Michele De Lucchi is today recognized by his unique style and is  one of the most acclaimed architects whose work is present in every continent of the world, is due to his strong will at the beginning of his career as a designer  to be Sottsass’ ethical, esthetical and professional son. While Alioth (Sottsass) is the brighter star of the Great Bear constellation, Antares (De Lucchi) is the brighter star of the Scorpio and also the sixteenth brighter star of the whole sky. Furthermore, Antares symbolizes the concept of peace: the name comes from the Latin expression anti-Ares, meaning “against Mars”, the god of war.

The ’80s, time of big changes, had also a revolution that opens many people’s mind from conformism: the changeover of the firm Memphis had been guided by Ettore Sottsass, who created a unique and subversive style to its glass production.

When Sottsass arrives in  Murano, his vision was not to follow the millenary tradition that distinguishes the master glass-workers of this region but instead he wanted to design in a totally innovative way this way of doing created caos into the consolidated habits of this art world. Preferring to fasten the procedure and “ride the adrenaline”, Sottsass gave up the traditional hot melting of the different components of a single glass work, gluing them instead: “After all – states the artist – what difference does it make? Culture of glue isn’t an invention as the culture of glass is?”.

BUILDINGBOX is dedicating the 2019-2020 season to contemporary glass art with the project From Sand, Artworks in Glass, an exhibition spread over 12 monthly appointments, curated by BUILDING in collaboration with Jean Blanchaert.

The ninth and tenth artists are Michele De Lucchi and Ettore Sottsass with the artworks in dialogue in the space of the window.

The title, From Sand, Artworks in Glass, evokes the fascinating alchemy involved in creating this material from sand, using air and fire, presenting the work of contemporary artists who have chosen to explore the potential offered by this medium. It is the experimental approach that makes these works so exemplary and precious: they are conceived by artists who use various different techniques, some of which are not usually associated with the specific characteristics of glass. This project resonates with BUILDING’s mission of exploring the lesser known aspects and experimental side of the art world, along with more celebrated figures and practices.

Here the focus is on the creative relationship forged between the artist’s vision and the craft of master glassmakers. Easily shaped by skilled hands, glass assumes “fragile” forms that both connect with the artistic traditions of the past and at the same time open up to a formal perspective grounded in contemporary aesthetics. The theme of the project lies in the works themselves, rooted in an age-old history and ancient craft, bearers of a precise chemical combination of different elements developed 4000 years ago by the Phoenicians, and which still holds infinite potential.

For 12 months a sequence of works by various artists will be hosted in the independent showcase, visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, marking the passing of time and eliciting broader reflections on how time tends to dominate space.