E63: an open shape

Tacchini Edizioni draws directly on the earliest history of production at Tacchini, exploiting the same evocative rich cultural loam, with care and courteous respect for the designs and for the great masters. And this is how new projects are born, budding and sprouting, the natural offshoots of the great classics, but as fully- formed adults, ready to shine in their own right.

Architect Riva, you were a student of Carlo Scarpa and your carrier has brought you to various disciplines. Tell us about your job. (U.R.) — I always had some problems with the world of work, meant as the inevitable collaboration of artisans, clients, costs. They are all coercive elements. The painter, instead, should have found a sense in his job. But it was not like that.

That’s why your projects have been “designed” like pencil sketches? (U.R.) — The design gave me everything. I could also work after having investigated the subject, then through the unknown of the sign I found answers, discoveries or possible choices. The mistake is the nourishment to forget all known paths, used to find a mistake to the answers for something with mysterious origins.

Where do you take inspiration from? (U.R.) — I would say that landscape is the inspiring source for everything. The best thing is to be in harmony with the landscape, and not feeling it as an adverse element.

I love this lamp, and it doesn’t happen so often. I feel it as a friend.

What makes an object attractive? (U.R.) — A shape is legitimated by an appropriate use of materials and by the formal and visual culture typical of each of us.

Tell us about E63 lamp, that Tacchini has re-edited. (U.R.) — I love this lamp, and it doesn’t happen so often. I feel it as a friend. This lamp represents much of my professional history, my approach to the realization of the first projects. It was born from an open contest by Artemide, I was 35 years old. Initially this lamp should have been made of plastic, but with metal it obtained dry shapes and precision of the edges. Think about the power obtained with these rigid materials, a result which is impossible to have with plastic. It is an open shape. A mould should have been a mould. If I would have done a plastic sample when I draw it, I would have met big difficulties, also because I didn’t know plastic. When we have decided to realize samples in plastic, they were in fiber-resin, a material which gives a beautiful light, with a smooth external face; on the inside part, instead, the whole weaving of the material can be seen. Consequently, it was easier for me to realize all samples in metal: the first lamps are infact made of brass. The sample you see here is the result of a sophisticated laser technology. The weld joint allows to have a clear sign in and outside. When the first samples were made of brass, the weld joint was a brass drawstring that joined all parts and from inside this element was visible.

We would like to hear about the inspiration to design this lamp. (U.R.) — Originally, the name of this lamp was Brancusi. It took 10 years for me to become an architect, I was a painter before and my mentality was completely different. More than the creation of a lighting fixture, this is a result of my figurative culture; Edison invented the lamp, great designers like Castiglioni or Scarpa created more often “illuminated shapes”.

How was the collaboration with Tacchini born? (U.R.) — Mrs Antonia Iannone brought these two lamps to Bologna for an art exhibition, and there Mrs. Tacchini saw it. She met Mrs. Iannone and considered the idea to re-edit it.

What do you want to be when you grow up? (U.R.) — I almost forced myself to like the job of architect. The world of painting would have been more suitable because, as I told before, the approach would have been completely private and I would have been totally responsible for what I was doing. Meanwhile if you are an architect or a designer, there are lots of aspects that influence the final result: the client, the manufacturer, the economic issue, usually very significant, the responsibility of understanding which will be the final result, and the final result itself. If you do a painting or make a sculpture, you have the control, especially on architectural works: they do not come out from a private formal process, but from precise requirements.

Umberto Riva
T’Journal 8 (.pdf)