At the end of the 50s, a 27-year-old Richard Sapper, who had just moved to Milan to work in Marco Zanuso’s studio, received his first private commission.
The Static table clock, which he designed for the Milanese company Lorenz, earned him his first Compasso d’Oro in 1960. He then won ten more: that clock was the start of a legendary career.
“At La Rinascente they had a secretary who I guess was a bit in love with me. And one day she received a call from an entrepreneur who had a company that made clocks (it was Tullio Bolletta, founder of Lorenz, ed.). He confided in her that none of his products had ever won the Compasso d’Oro and he wanted to know how La Rinascente had gone about doing so. Ans so she told him, ‘Well, you don’t have good designers. You have to hire a good designer to win the Compasso d’Oro’ And she had me in mind” says Sapper in an interview with Jonathan Olivares published in the book Richard Sapper (Phaidon, 2016). Bolletta had bought a railway car full of clock mechanisms for Torpedo cars, symbol of the Second World War and now obsolete, and asked Sapper to help him turn those memorabilia into design clocks.
“I looked at the mechanism and it was not so easy because these mechanisms were pretty big and needed a battery, which and the problem increased the size even further,” continues the German designer. He then decided to hide the whole thing in a cylindrical metal casing, to be placed on the table. Thanks to a flat cut on the base, each time you rotate it, it always falls into the same position. For the typeface he was inspired by the clock face from a bomber plane found in a flea market.
Static seems to have its own vitality, giving the impression of approaching the one who wants to read the time, and getting back on his feet from whatever position he is given (hence the name).
After years of requests, Sapper’s watch is finally back in production, laquered in red, white or black and in two finishes of brushed or polished metal in gold, steel or gunmetal.
The new version no longer uses the original timer and is made by craftsmen Matteo Ballardini, who took care of the dial, the hands and the movement stop plate, and Davide Albertario who crafted the leather case. Obviously it is produced by Lorenz.
- Richard Sapper
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