PROJECTS OF THREE
the red collection
Projects of Three was initiated by renowned luthiers and close friends Adriano Sergio, Michael Spalt, and Ulrich Teuffel. Approaching the guitar from three very different angles they share the goal of creating unique instruments, which clearly straddle the gap between the guitar as usable instrument on one side and being an objet d’art on the other. For their first appearance as a group they decided on the color Red as common element.
Red is likely the color with the most meanings - blood, rage, love, danger, heat, attention, fire, speed... Red is a charged color, emotional and powerful. It demands attention, and it is strong enough to form a unifying principle for a collection of instruments reflecting the very different approach each takes in his work towards the idea, the concept 'guitar'.
What unites the three is that they see the instrument 'guitar' as possibility, as starting point to an exploration. The guitar is unique in its ability to assume almost infinite forms. Interpretations of the idea of what a 'guitar' is, how it functions and how it is used, open a window deep into the cultural and psychological landscape of the relationship between us and music and the meaning thereof. A historical journey through the countless instrumental variations created over the past few hundred years reveals a path littered with archetypes, experiments, icons, and the detritus of the constant a search for what else can be found on the road to try and create the perfect 'guitar'. Of course there is no such thing. It remains incomplete, personal, intensely idiosyncratic.
The Red Collection will premiere at The NAMM Show 2020.
"My inspiration for the red theme of the collection is the awareness that humanity and the planet are walking towards the red line, the point of no return. I hope the GREEN collection comes soon."
The spirit is spelled right in the name - the sharp focus on ergonomics. This word itself is derived from the ancient greek word "érgon" (work, labour) and "nomos" (natural law), which reflects the constant mindfulness of both the comfort and the respect for the nature of all things when building each instrument.
The instrument is made to be a beautiful extension of the musician's body, granting a more fluid channel through which expressions can be manifested. Every guitar is different and an evolution of the previous, and they always strive to achieve a balanced harmony of shapes and lines to promote not only the ergonomics of the physical, but of the mind and emotion as well.
"The reason I joined this project is mainly that we share a similar outlook on instrument creation. To be in the company of pioneers who started approaching guitar building as an artistic blend of form and function. The instrument is still a tool to be used, but it is also a medium for the artistic expression of the builder. The care is manifested both in the aesthetics of the guitar, as well as it's tone, sound and feeling. It is not supposed to be just another prized collection piece sitting in display, rarely used for fear of damage or wear.
As for the Red Collection, we wanted the attention to be more focused on the individual instrument, as in an exhibition with many different guitars it can become too overwhelming for the observer. A more contained approach allows for a more intimate contact between the musician, the builder and the guitar."
"I believe humans need authenticity. We crave it, even if we may not be aware of this. But it is the connection to our own real self and the nature of things."
In today’s world, where so little is authentic and real, where we are under constant manipulative pressures to conform and consume, it has become difficult to discern what that actually is. In
its place things that are made to look “authentic” substitute the real (the “relic” boom is a good example).
Here’s where Michael's work comes in. A lot of what he uses are found old materials, from the workshop floor, the street outside, flea markets, flotsam from the beach. To him things that have been discarded, that have a history, are much more interesting and valuable than new things which still have to acquire depth and spirit, which are still “flat". These old things may have been thrown away, considered to have lost their value and function, but they have acquired an identity during their journey. They have “lived”. That "life" is authentic. That is what Michael looks for when he searches them out.
"The process of assembling the objects, of working with the resin, is quite alchemical - it involves fire, meditation, and thus the transformation of the energies contained in the individual objects, weaving their charge into a new context. Giving these things a new purpose, I recombine them into a new matrix. I don’t try and negate what they have lived through, they bear the marks and scuffs of an authentic existence, they are simply reborn in the totality of the new story of the instrument.
As the instrument is played, a new charge will be built up; as it ages, it will acquire a new identity. Guitars can change quite a bit as they are played by various musicians throughout
their history - it’s an interplay between the inspiration and the tone the instrument provides and the music that is created on it."
"In our group of three we are soul mates in a cultural exploration of the guitar; each of us on another continent. What links our work is that all of our works are playable instruments without any doubt."
Ulrich has been building guitars since the late 80ies.
"The fact that we idolize the guitars of the earliest period shows that guitars aren't a result of an evolutionary process but more of a cultural process in the early peak of mass media.
The iconic massage of pop heroes and their instruments buried so many other ways of what a guitar could have been or could be."
Ulrich tries to find out what a guitar can be else from what we are used to look at. In his work he uses traditional guitar building materials but reenacts them in a different way.
This makes his instruments look as if they were from a parallel universe obeying the same law of physics.
Ulrich found his soul mates in Michael Spalt and Adriano Sergio.