I wanted to become somebody like Sottsass!

QUER-editor-in-chief Doris Lippitsch met Michele De Lucchi at his studio in Milan-Pereira to talk with him about his mentor Ettore Sottsass as well his aspirations to design, architecture – and beauty. www.quer-magazin.at

Michele, you are a designer and an architect with a large scale of experiences!

Michele De Lucchi: You know, I ask myself who I am. I would like to know who I am. A designer, an architect or an artist. You know, I did so many different things in my career!

When you think back to the former radical Michele, asyou have been member of the Memphis Group in Milano – where did this Michele go with his convictions, his visions and ideas?

Yes, I have been working on radical ideas to spread design and architecture. It was a very important period when I met Ettore, Ettore Sottsass. I have read all his books about his design. I wanted to become somebody like Sottsass!

During a long period?

Since I’ve met him!

Sottsass, the leading „anti-designer“, was a kind of mentor for you?

Yes, he was. Since I’ve met him, I worked with him. He was the chief designer in the Memphis Group and very important in a professional point of view. He introduced me also to Olivetti. These days, I’ve studied in Padua, in Vicenza. 

With the magnificent Teatro Olimpico!

Yes, my mother is from Vicenza. You know, I have a twin brother. We’ve got separated (from life). He is a doctor in chemistry in Firenze. We had struggles for distinction. It has something to do with that. I had the choice to become a designer and an architect. Everything was possible to me. When my parents died, I got closer to him again. 

There have been different exceptions between you and your brother?

Yes, we had very different lifes and opinions until then. Now, we’re going to get closer again. Now, he has been doing the colors and paintings of my design objects.  

You had a lot of projects since then. You became an architect, designer and artist with the pleasure and choice to realize the projects you wanted to do. And you have a lot of friends like Carlotta de Bevilacqua and Ernesto Gismondi from Artemide. No matter if architecture, design or fine arts, what is the most important thing in your work?

It’s quite difficult to say. I aspire a kind of total global work of art, a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk, a must to inspire the quality of doing one project absorbing my ideas. Architects and designers are designing the life of people. We are not only technicians, we are human beings creating things for other people. Tomorrow there will be the opening of my exhibition ...

A constant obsession to work as a designer, artist and architect!

Yes. It is consistant.

Architecture and esthetics in the Gesamtkunstwerk: the system design and esthetical dimension in architecture today? Where does architecture go these days?

The most important of all is to have a vision, a concept of building. Trying to keep the beauty in architecture when living space gets smaller and smaller. To obtain beauty in the interior or in an atrium. Beauty passes by in any moment. It’s important to be continuously updated with those ideas.  

Where is the space for your dreams and visions now, where is it, in the public space?

I come back to my small Cabanon.

Is it where you do your drawings and your dreams?

Yes, this happens at my farm in the means of Corbusier at the Lago Maggiore. I tried to keep my office here in Milano. It’s important to work for oneself and to work in a team. I always try to work in a team to understand the social means better for myself. 

lucchi_04_DCassette ©Michele De Lucchi

And what about silence?

I like to be alone and I like to be with people. This is the request to my work. The last project I did at home. Architecture is a kind of metaphor that gives the order to do something. Michele De Lucchi shows drawings from his Cabanon. I did it with a piece of wood, I like to improve myself, I like this barrack! The problem is when you work alone you have nocommission to do something and so you would not find a good reason to do it.

What does the client need today? What do we need now?

We need a new use, a new field!

Social housing, infrastructure and public space in the suburbs. If you look at downtown Brussels, Paris ...

Yes, we need the social life for a good quality in our cities. In downtowns, there are only offices and people are no longer living there.

Right now, what is your upcoming project? You are also the ambassador for the EXPO!

It is the Pavilion Zero with the topic „Who feeds The Planet“ at the Expo-Milano 2015!

Michele, thanks a lot for this interview!

Render_06 ©Archiv

Michele De Lucchi, geboren 1951 in Ferrara, studierte Architektur in Florenz und gründete die „Gruppe Cavart“ in Padua, die für radikales Design eintrat. In den 1970er Jahren lehrte er Industriedesign an der Universität Florenz und lernte Ettore Sottsass kennen. De Lucchi wurde einer seiner engsten Mitarbeiter. Sottsass war sein Mentor und ein enger Freund. De Lucchi war Mitglied und Mitbegründer der Bewegungen Cavart, Alchymia und Memphis Group, deren experimentelle Architekturauffassungen sich gegen das damalige Design-Establishment richteten. Als napoleonischer General verkleidet, hielt der junge Architekturstudent 1973 Wache vor der Institution der Mailänder Triennale und protestierte gegen zu viele überflüssige Produkte. In den 1980er Jahren entwarf De Lucchi für die „jungen Wilden“ postmoderne Möbel, Wohnaccessoires und Laminat. 1988 gründete er das eigene "Studio De Lucchi", zuvor war er 1979 als Designberater für das Unternehmen Olivetti tätig, bei dem er 1992 zum Chefdesigner ernannt wurde. 1998 gründete er die Firma "amdl" mit Büros in Mailand und Rom.