Alessandro Rametta and Oskar Zieta both work with metal, but in ways so dissimilar they might inhabit different worlds. “We work in the one of pure craftsmanship, made of technical dexterity and long tradition, while Oskar comes from industrial design,” says Rametta. There is also the matter of scale: Zieta’s specially processed steel is made into sculptures as high as 22 meters and is so lightweight that it is being tested for use in space. But today the two are working side by side in Rametta’s Milan workshop, La Fucina di Efesto, named for the Greek god of fire and metalworking. They want to see if they can adapt an implosion technique that Zieta has used in a factory setting to working with the direct flame.
Their experiments involve chemical processes and the use of heat, argon and other gases, a vacuum environment and water to cool the forms so that they implode, collapsing in on themselves. The gods seem to be with them: it looks like the processes will work.
Both come away from the day impressed with the other’s deep knowledge of the material, their common language. In the coming days, Zieta uses computers to design the format and parameters of what they’ll crush and attack with fire, as he puts it. Rametta gets to work. “After a lot of experimentation, we managed to create works in stainless steel that have a beautiful sculptural aspect,” he says. “They reflect an artisanal and artistic vision but also encompass the elements of industrial production: our antithetical visions blended harmoniously.”