When I get there, Peppino Campanella is working on his beautiful terrace overlooking the beach of Lama Monachile.
I was a bit lost between the one-ways here in Polignano and when I found myself in front of a sort of warehouse in Via Conversano, I felt a bit confused.
I am welcomed by some fantastic creations, his “light objects”: glass has taken the form of a beautiful butterfly, of ice spirals, and it has all the shades of the sea. The colors are light as air and intense as the water of the endless coves of this Apulian village: green, blue and light blue. The wonderful amber crystals that adorn the walls of the laboratory, are releasing a warm golden light.
The terrace is windswept and Peppino is bent over I do not know which tool …
There is an incessant comings and goings of onlookers, tourists, art-lovers and friends. Everyone is looking for something to touch, and they all brush against the polished stones, caress the opaque and smooth glass, are surprised by the play of light illuminating these sculptures, which seem to come alive and float in the air.
Even I almost lose myself in this magical place…
Then Peppino’s mighty voice makes me remember why I’m here. We sit down and he opens into a warming smile. We talk about the materials, the town of Polignano, his work and strain. Which Peppino does not feel. “Because when you love your job, you do not feel the strain”, he says serene, looking at me with his big dark eyes. Also because here he has everything he needs: the light, the infinite horizon of the sea, the sky clear and full of stars. Yes, because he often stays until it gets dark, taken only from his work.
While we chat children are playing around us with toy cars, and having fun with the scraps of glass left on work benches, under the watchful eyes of Maria Teresa, Peppino’s wife.
Peppino has the strength and the depth of the sea. He speaks to me with simplicity about how, making lamps for his friends, testing and using recycled materials that others throw away, amuses him.
His story began just like that, from a passion and by chance. After graduating in architecture in Florence in 1988, he worked for a few years with Andreas Bossi, Florentine fashion photographer. After returning to Polignano, Peppino continued to pursue his passion for photography, art and design. The interest in the great artist of the Italian Pop Art Pino Pascali, stimulates his love for the sea, the countryside and all forms of nature. In this period he also collects stones that had been worked by peasants and sailors, and begins to think of “enlightening the stone”. His friend, the poet Guido Lupori, asks Peppino to make him a lamp. So, just for fun and driven by his innate curiosity, he starts assembling stones, glass and shells molded by the sea and the land.
Thanks to his father he has the opportunity to move to this place, an old mill, where he dedicates himself to the “liquid water”. And so begins his wonderful adventure.
Peppino’s customers are from all over the world. I peek between the boxes awaiting shipment: Jeddah, Moscow, Finland, Germany…
His work is changed when you compare it with the first creations, so rich and almost arabesque, it is now more essential, in a research aimed at eliminating more than adding.
Today this art-designer so proud of getting his hands dirty and using poor materials, such as tin and lead, is working also for Visionaire, a historical brand of the “Made in Italy” design.
Outside of his lab/atelier I still hear the roar of the sea and the unique feeling that only a place like this can convey: the energy of recovered and transformed matter.
That same matter in the hands of Peppino Campanella becomes a small masterpiece of light, a unique one every time.
Peppino Campanella – light objects:
- Via Conversano, 9 Polignano a Mare (Ba)
- t +39 080 4251018
- m. + 39 335 6726257