photo: Ursula Piatti
Piatti – Light object
“There is something dangerous about our profession. It operates in the field of art, but is first and foremost a craft.”
Celestino Piatti, 1969
The time has come: Full of joy we can present our contribution to the upcoming Piatti anniversary!
As we have already reported in this blog post from the visit to the Piatti archive near Basel, we are great admirers of Celestino Piatti, whose graphic work inspires us again and again. We are therefore delighted to contribute a part to Piatti’s centenary: a light object as a work of art (or the other way around?), purely handcrafted in a unique edition of 100 pieces.
The idea for this collaboration was born during our visit to the archives, when together with Celestino’s daughter Barbara Piatti we started thinking relatively spontaneously about which product could be a valuable addition to the range for the anniversary. Screen printing on paper was out of the question – it had to be something very special.
During the conversation we realized the importance of handicraft for Celestino Piatti (see Barbara Piatti’s comments on the shop page) and quickly came up with the lampshade: a purely handmade light object with an owl motif, Celestino’s favorite animal and a symbol of wisdom, intellect and wisdom.
photo: Basil Huwyler
photo: Basil Huwyler
From a wealth of fantastic owl graphics – many of which we were able to marvel at in the original during our visit to the archive – we finally chose a favorite together with Barbara Piatti, which was certainly not an easy decision. But especially when used as a reading lamp, the owl with the quill is just a perfect fit.
Screen printing on fabric was quite challenging: even the subtleties of the ink drawing of the original graphic had to be reproduced flawlessly. After a few tests, the print image was perfected and our six meter long printing table was quickly populated with many, many owls…
Here is a time-lapse movie of the work steps:
After the drying process, the fabric blanks were mounted on foil and then rolled up with lampshade rings: a time-consuming process that can only be done by hand in this quality.
The preparations for a matching lamp base, which was to match the aesthetics of the shade and also be produced in a handicraft business, were somewhat more complex. We already had a classic design in mind that we could well imagine being implemented in ceramics. We found the solution in the neighboring town of Rumpenheim, where Birgit Palt manufactures various objects from high-quality porcelain in her own workshop.
Together with Birgit, we developed a first mold from our sketches, which she then designed in many complex steps up to the final ceramic base. Fortunately, it was also possible to place the Piatti signature on the casting mold with fine craftsmanship – when we saw the first prototype, we were very excited. The kiln was then used for many hours, and when all the ceramic bases had been produced, the prefabricated textile cables could be connected to the ceramic sockets and fixed in the base, again by hand, of course.
When the first luminaire was completed and switched on, we knew immediately: the work was more than worth it!
At this point a big thank you to Birgit Palt and the association “Celestino Piatti – The Visual Heritage”, especially Barbara Piatti for the warm exchange and the great cooperation.
Porcelain manufactory Birgit Palt
Celestino Piatti Homepage