Art Of Puglia: Taming A Stone | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“It is warm to the touch and feels like a skin of a woman” says Renzo Buttazzo, Italian sculptor of a particular stone found only in Lecce, in the deep region of Puglia, South-East of Italy. I had the opportunity to interview him and a world of beauty opened up to me.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

(Above: Renzo Buttazzo – Italian sculptor)

Renzo Buttazzo calls the stone an “unstable precariousness”. Inspired by the simplicity of walls in the Puglia countryside, which were built only with stones stacked one on top of the other without mortar, Renzo designed a piece of stone furniture the same way. Each piece of stone he carved, hovers over the other, he stacked them like the walls in the country securely standing for centuries under all-weather conditions. The design style he chose refers to the square shapes of ‘70s.

(Above: “Yang” Stone Furniture)

Renzo Buttazzo started carving Lecce Stone at age 19, when his path was clear to him. He wanted to create something spectacular with his hands. Experiment after experiment, he changed the way to carve a stone. Renzo empties out the block of Lecce Stone and creates from the inside out. He doesn’t use the traditional method of carving and shaping a block of stone into a figure or an object, as it has been done with marble and granite for so long. Lecce Stone, Renzo explained, is a soft limestone, as ancient as 4 million years, yellowish in colors, warm to the touch, contains fossils, water and sand, basically the memory of past lives that have touched it.


(Above: “Aurea” Table)

He went on saying the stone produces natural and magical games of light. He was the first to create stone lamps that, in his imagination, it’s not necessary to turn on. Texture and fenestration he creates in the stone lamps receive the sun light in various time of the day, making beautiful fluid shapes on walls and surfaces, enough to free the viewer’s imagination. In the morning, the lamps are sculptures and in the evening they become lamps.

(Above: “Dormienti – Vulca” Light Installation)

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(Above: “Meltemi” Lamp)

His way of carving the stone inside out was so innovative to get the media interested in his work and at only age 38, the President of the Italian Republic nominated Renzo Buttazzo:
“Cavalier of the Republic” for artistic merits, a rare award to receive in Italy.

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(Above: “Maui” Floor Lamp)

Nature of Puglia, his native region, where he lives and creates, the shapes of the olive trees, Karstic rocks of Puglia, coral reefs and the basin of the Adriatic Sea, are all the elements contributing to his inspiration. Touching his sculptures, which is something Renzo encourages to do, will give the visitors the right sensation of the stone’s fluidity, the warmth and the sensual shapes he attributes to the stone.

 

(Above and below: “Merlera” Sculpted Wall)

The sculptor loves to empty out the stone with ancient chisels to make it as light as possible, thus no one piece he crafted is equal to the other. In fact, when he receives an order of a large number of wall sconces, or lamps for the same interior, each piece looks different. The attention to details he puts in his work makes every piece original and highly appreciated.

(Above: “Ovo” Bath Tub)

Due to its versatility, Lecce stone is used for interior applications, usually left at its row state, as it keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The formation of a slight layer of mold protects the stone under any weather condition when used for exterior applications. From the steppe to the desert, Renzo produced exterior decorations for a church in Russia, buildings in Canada and in Dubai. He produces sculptures, lamps, wall sconces, and even stones furniture for famous resorts and hotels around the world.
He loves to talk about his stone lounge chairs for swimming pools, the “Mareposa chaise longue”. At the end of the summer, when people and noises are no longer there, the undulated chairs remain on the swimming pool as soft, silent sculptures of flying ribbons.

(Above: “Mareposa” Chaise Longue)

Renzo collaborates with various glass, wood and metals artists. The “Zeus” table created with metal legs, Lecce stone top and a crack made on purpose to be filled with liquid copper was a great hit at Milan Furniture Exhibition and sold immediately.

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(Above: “Zeus” Table)

Molten glass at the highest temperature mixed in with Lecce stone, burns the stone and creates unpredictable shapes. Once the glass cools, it separates from the stone and voila’ two objects tamed to the will of the artist are born with distinctive characters.

(Above: “Velata” Bowls)

Vulcanization is Renzo’s way to shape volcanic black stone and incorporate it in the Lecce stone to create dark-light effects and original rhythms.

(Above: “Niura” Sculpture – Vulcanization)

I asked him about his future projects. He wants to fight globalization by returning to the origins. With the help of the European Community Renzo has plans to teach his art to youngsters, teach how to work all materials nature produces, teach them to appreciate the history of Italian craftsmanship and the value of creating objects by hands, making sure the posterity will keep the art alive. Creating a piece art, also means knowing how to sell or place it in the right interior, with the right client that will appreciate it.  To his teaching he wants to add market studies, philosophy of understanding world customers and their needs. The duty of an artist is to hand the past to new generation to build their future.

(Above: “Vulca Casa” Lamp)

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(Above: “Reef” Vase)

(All photos are property of Renzo Buttazzo – permission to use them granted).

 

Renzo Buttazzo concluded our conversation by saying he creates for himself first to satisfy his needs. Customers take home his passion, his love and his emotions. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is a designer in business since 1990. She is interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. She is always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces she designs. Color is the focus of her business today, changing people’s energy and life force just by introducing them to colors they would have never imagined. Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California featured her work. She appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V. and her story continues. Find copies of her book on colors ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors  and  the rest of her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
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Arts of Puglia: Stringing A Chair | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Who has not owned a Thonet chair and not knowing it? Michel Thonet was born in Vienna in 1796 and became a well-known master ébénist under the rich Austro-Hungarian Empire. Thonet experimented a technical way to bend wood and succeeded by using warm steam to bend it to his liking, then placed the shapes created in steel molds to dry. Following the excellent results and high demand, in 1860 Thonet deposited his trademark and the Nᴼ14 chair, the most famous of his collection was born.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

(Thonet chairs Nᴼ 14)

Every home, café, bistro and restaurant in Europe filled their rooms with Thonet chairs. The flexibility and resistance of this chair Nᴼ 14 became so popular through the Belle Époque and every era from then up to now.

Change country, travel down to Italy, same era, in the then poor agricultural region of Puglia. Thonet chairs were popular in well-to-do Italian households, I remember them in my family, but in the countryside and farmer’s families the straw chairs, practical, sturdy and durable, were the second-best choice. People who learn the art of stringing chairs made a good living. Necessity is the mother of invention. venezia-g_1117-1-venezia-g_1117-arte_povera-1-sedia_venezia-g_1117-1-venezia(Prices of most straw chairs here: http://www.lasediasrl.it/it/search/1/Paglia.html)

Many centuries later, while advanced countries push innovative recycle programs, down in Puglia, no longer a poor region, recycling is nothing new and doesn’t need to be created. Many crafts considered “ancient” are still in use in Puglia, a few people continue the art of stringing and weaving chairs, as we have mastered the art of reuse (I say we, because I am from there and I am one who reuse everything). We learn at a young age to fix broken items and not to throw them away in the land.

Poli Gaetano  from the town of Rutigliano strings chairs since he was a boy. In the video, he speaks Italian, but watch his gestures, they are strong, decisive and precise to make sure each chair he fixes will live for long time. In 20-25 minutes a damaged straw chair returns brand new. His father was in that line of work and fed a family of seven. Gaetano is now over 70 years old passed the trade to his son.

Straw and cane chairs are suitable for a country décor, especially in the rustic Puglia style, as well as in Tuscan and French style décor. Straw or cane chairs are perfect in covered patios, tea rooms, breakfast nooks, conservatories, bedrooms, or anywhere extra chairs are needed.

interior_of_trullo_sovrano_wikimedia_commons(Photo above: Interior of Trullo Sovrano – Wikimedia Commons)

In the Egyptian style patio I decorated sometimes ago, I substituted the straw with upholstered fabric panels treated with blueprint technique.

egyptiansstylethonet
In a French style boudoir, the same style chair became red and upholstered with traditional striped fabric.

Ciao, Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

valentina-ValleMonteAs an Italian designer and true to my origins, I am well-known to bring originality to people’s homes, but that’s not where I stop and any situation is a perfect opportunity to design something out of the ordinary. Check out my three books on
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