Perseverance landed in Morocco. We are not talking about the rover that touched Martian soil on February 18. Bens of a faithful reproduction of it in Lego, made by the 40-year-old from Reggio Emilia Riccardo Zangelmi. A sculpture commissioned by NASA and honored to the government of Rabat to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first US diplomatic mission in Morocco. Behind this cadeau there is a company, BrickVision, whose beating heart in Emilia-Romagna. And a talent, that of Zangelmi, recognized as unique in Italy. I am a certified Lego manufacturer, one of 16 worldwide, says the entrepreneur from Reggio Emilia.
From an early age Riccardo Zangelmi dreamed of being able to explore new worlds. And with the work done for the US space agency in part he succeeded. I started building with Lego bricks from an early age, and my passion was creating castles and spaceships – he says excitedly – So when I received the request from NASA I could not believe that it was really happening. To set up the 1: 2 scale reproduction of Perseverance it took 400 hours and about 110 thousand colored bricks. My team threw itself into the work trying to capture every detail from the 3D model reproduced on the NASA website. Without neglecting the details and using different techniques to replicate the real rover – explains Zangelmi – The very delicate structure: the wheels would not have supported the weight (200 kilos, for a model of about 170×200 cm) if we had not created a base to support the rover and an aluminum frame. A trick that will help the sculpture to overcome the tour that awaits it: first Rabat, where it will be exhibited on 10 June, then Casablanca and finally Washington.
My mesterie assemble Lego
For Zangelmi, the mission on behalf of NASA the culmination of a career that began almost by chance. Legos have been my passion since I was a child. I put them aside when I was 12, but around thirty I rediscovered them. I had to buy a birthday present for my nephew, and in the shop my attention was drawn to the bricks. Eventually, I bought a Lego box of Star Wars spaceships for myself too. No love at first sight between his nephew and the Legos (I bought him a lot of them, but he never got passionate), but for Zangelmi that return to the dawn was a real heartbreak. So much so that since 2015 assembling the pieces and creating real works of art has become his job. He left a permanent contract and opened the VAT number. it appeared to many a risky choice, but it was worth it. I would like my company to be an incentive for many young people to believe in their dreams and projects, he says. As in the history of the largest startups, there is also a garage in Zangelmi’s adventure. When I launched into this adventure, the garage was my workshop – he says – Then, once I became a Lego partner, I grew up. Today I have a studio of 500 square meters and 4 collaborators, aged between 20 and 43 years: off to young people. To work with us you don’t need a degree, but passion and creativity cannot be missing. It is necessary to have mastery of the material and to know the pieces, since there are more than 5,000 types in circulation.
When an apartment was commissioned …
The company of the Reggio enthusiast creates works in Lego on commission, both for individuals and for large companies. Some sculptures are instead destined for exhibitions around Italy (Forever Young and Brick Art the two created, ed). For some people, Danish-born bricks are a real obsession. I was once asked to make an entire apartment out of Lego. They wanted us to design the furnishings and interiors. In the end we didn’t, but it was certainly the most bizarre request I have ever received, notes Zangelmi. Of his career he remembers in particular the debut work for Lego Italia (two big yellow hands built for the Build the Change project, on sustainability). But the Perseverance model made for NASA is the most important work. Even for this difficult state to let go, like all my works, he admits.
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June 2, 2021 (change June 2, 2021 | 5:57 pm)
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