Renzo Buttazzo: a passion carved in Lecce stone

Renzo Buttazzo, complemento

First get to know the stone’s breath, then you listen to it. This is Renzo Buttazzo’s motto, an Apulian artisan sculptor of the Lecce stone (leccisu in the local dialect) who his hands to recreate anything his soul has seen and heard, accompanied by the sound of the wind.

His lab/house is nestled in Cavallino, in the countryside of Lecce. Here, every day since 1986, Buttazzo has been designing and manufacturing his works, with the support of his dexterous assistants, and in the harmony of nature. The artist’s careful study of the material and the natural form, the experimentation dedicated to the soul of the stone and its primitive pulsing, was a long process. It brought him to a form of expression in the name of freedom, independent of any purely academic and conservative culture.

Circular lines, sinuous waves, organic shapes, caressing roundness, are running after each other in Renzo Buttazzo’s shapes: lamps, bookends, candle holders, chairs, containers… these masterpieces make up the “Petre” collection. The objects are transformed into works of art made ​​exclusively by hand, with the aid of tools, in some cases created by Buttazzo, starting from the Lecce stone, a symbol of Salento, about which it is necessary to open  a parenthesis: the local stone is characterized by its malleability, due to the presence of clay in its composition, and ease of processing. Suffice it to say that it can be carved just as well as wood. Many baroque artistic and architectural riches of Lecce were made ​​with this natural resource: friezes, capitals, pinnacles and rosettes that decorate many of the palaces and churches, like the palace of the Celestines and the adjacent Church of the Holy Cross, the Church of Santa Chiara and the Cathedral. Dolmens, menhirs, statues and buildings made ​​of leccisu can also be found in Otranto and its surroundings.

Renzo Buttazzo, luci nella notte

Objects halfway between design and sculpture are released from the stone carved by Buttazzo. They come alive making unique pieces, in which what stands out is the essence of the material, combined with the softness of the shapes. “Petre” is also the name of the showroom in Lecce, originated as a “space of sensations” from the minds of Renzo Buttazzo and his partner and artist Lara Bobbio, with the aim of creating a path of psychophysical well-being. The exhibition space is also a center of research and innovation, where the line between design and art is very thin, and objects shine by themselves, even if disconnected from their functionality. Renzo Buttazzo has in fact a very close bond with design: he participated several times in the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, and collaborated with prestigious names of this world, from Armani to Frau armchairs. In 2001 he was knighted by the President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Besides, Buttazzo is a teacher from whom to learn a timeless art, which is also priceless because it preserves the richness of Puglia. Thanks to him, for instance, the young Gabriele Pici, 33,had his encounter with sculpture and discovered his love for working with Lecce stone. Right in Renzo Buttazzo’s workshop, Pici learned the art of Lecce stone, using hammer and chisel to “give life to the forms that arise in my mind and that, once completed and then transformed into sculptures, always reflect the original idea. When I take an helpless and shapeless block of stone, and edit it with my hands and my strength, it emanates a special magic”.

Renzo Buttazzo:

Renzo Buttazzo all'opera

Renzo Buttazzo, opere

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