How did you start your business?
After working for ten years in someone else’s workshop, at age 24 I decided to open my own. The first thing I did was write to all the great artists who inspired me, asking them to collaborate. The only one who replied was Roy Lichtenstein, who told me he was not interested. I was so overconfident that I couldn’t understand his refusal.
What was the turning point?
Getting to know architects like Michele De Lucchi and Matteo Thun. They believed in me, and I started to make a name for myself. Then the art world finally arrived: I had the opportunity to work with most of the members of the Fluxus group, from Yoko Ono to Takako Saiko. In 1994, I decided to launch my own design collection.
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What was your first object as an artisan and designer?
A pitcher with bubbles that I still show people with pride and that always attracts a lot of enthusiasm. A friend of mine had asked me to create some corporate Christmas gifts for his father’s company. He selected them all, except for this strange pitcher. That’s where it got its name: 'Why don’t you want me?'
Why did you choose to work with glass?
I was 12 the first time I went into a glass workshop in the town where I was born. I was enthralled by this solid material that becomes liquid in a matter of seconds, which you can shape and mould as you wish. I was thunderstruck, like when you fall in love for the first time as a teenager.