Loading Events

“From Sand, Artworks in Glass”, Ettore Sottsass, ‘Alioth’ 1983 & Michele De Lucchi, ‘Antares’, 1983

31 Oct 2020 - 11 Dec 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 Eighties, time of big changes, had also a revolution that opens many people’s mind from conformism: the changeover of the firm Memphishad 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 Dalla sabbia, opere in vetro[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, Dalla sabbia, opere in vetro[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.


Biographical notes


Michele De Lucchi (Ferrara, Italy 1951)is an Italian designer and architect. In 1975 he graduated in Architecture from the University of Florence, where from 1975 to 1977 he worked as an assistant to Adolfo Natalini, the founder of Superstudio. Between the late ’70s and ’80s he was a leading figure in Radical Architecture, and participated in the leading Italian design movements of the time; he was also one of the co-founders of the Memphis Group, with which he collaborated from 1981 to 1987. De Lucchi’s projects at the time were carried out in collaboration with numerous Italian and European furniture brands. In 1990 he founded the Produzione Privata experimental workshop with the aim of combining an experimental approach with traditional techniques and craftsmanship. He has curated numerous art and design exhibitions and designed museum buildings such as the Triennale di Milano, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and the Neues Museum in Berlin. He has carried out several projects for the city of Milan, including pavilions for Expo 2015, the UniCredit Pavilion in Piazza Gae Aulenti, and the setting up of the Pietà Rondanini at Castello Sforzesco. He teaches at the Faculty of Design of the Politecnico di Milano and is a member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.


Ettore Sottsass (Innsbruck, Austria 1917 – Milan, 2007) was an Italian architect and designer. His work included furniture, jewelry, glass, lighting, home and office objects, as well as many buildings and interiors. He grew up in Turin and graduated in Architecture from the Politecnico di Torino in 1939. In 1947, in Milan, he founded his architecture and industrial design studio, where he began to create work using various media. In 1956, Sottsass went to New York and began to work in George Nelson’s design studio. Back in Italy, he established major collaboration projects with Poltronova (1957) and Olivetti (1958). From the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s he collaborated with Superstudio and Archizoom Associati, within the Radical movement, until the foundation of Memphis Group in 1981, of which he was a founding member. In the mid-’80s, with Sottsass Associati, mainly an architecture studio, he also designed elaborate shops and showrooms, company identities, exhibitions, interiors, Japanese consumer electronics, and furniture of all kinds. Sottsass was presented numerous international awards, winning the ADI Compasso d’Oro in 1959. His work is on show in the permanent collections of many museums around the world such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Centre G. Pompidou in Paris, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.