Andreas Reichlin

The Gentle Giant

Feuerring has added another member to its product family: "Luna Grande". With a diameter of up to 196 centimeters it is the largest model to date and exudes a unique calm. Its creator steel sculptor and designer Andreas Reichlin explains the idea behind it in this interview.

Anna Moldenhauer: Andreas, what was your intention when creating the "Luna Grande" Version of Feuerring (Ring of Fire)?

Andreas Reichlin: Space. There is more height to the Luna 50 and 60 models, so I felt it was time to expand the width. Luna Grande can have a diameter ranging from 140 to 196 centimeters. The actual rings are between 20 and 30 millimeters thick. Then there is the rich sound that makes you think of a church bell.

How did you work out the right thickness for the ring and dish of this immense Feuerring?

Andreas Reichlin: I kept on experimenting until it was right – which involved using a ring with a diameter of 259 centimeters. What I found out is that the thickness of the ring has to be in line with the proportions. Otherwise, it doesn’t work.

"Luna Grande" weighs between 365 and 800 kilos. What needs to be considered regarding the type of ground when installing the Feuerring?

Andreas Reichlin: The Feuerring has a base, a circular disc that is embedded in the ground. The wider the surface on which it stands the more lift it gets. So, it doesn’t matter if it stands on a surface that isn’t entirely static. That’s not a problem.

There is something special about the sound of these “rings of fire” and each one sounds a little different. How does the "Luna Grande" differ? Does it sound deeper or warmer?

Andreas Reichlin: The sound lasts longer. If you hit it really hard the Luna Grande can sound for up to two minutes. And the sound waves are so intense it gives you goosebumps.

So basically, in creating "Luna Grande" you have also created a musical instrument.

Andreas Reichlin: Yes, as was the case with the other Feuerring sculptures. And it’s only possible because of the special connection between the ring and dish. And this connection is what makes it a resonating body and the Feuerring becomes a sculpture. We have meanwhile been able to get it patented throughout Europe. I always say: Only a Feuerring produces this ringing sound, everything else is like a clang.

Every Feuerring is unique. But how do you nevertheless manage to reproduce the presence and ringing sound of the "Luna Grande" each time?

Andreas Reichlin: It’s simply that the connection between ring and dish has to always be perfect. If it’s not then you don’t get that resonating effect. There is something holistic about the Feuerring – one reason being that you don’t see the base. What I really appreciate about Luna Grande is the immense silence it exudes. It has such a powerful presence.

How did you manage to achieve this presence?

Andreas Reichlin: The Feuerring sculptures are all based on a hemisphere that is cut at different heights. For Luna Grande the cut is set very low. I hesitated for a long time because I was worried that the tip would look too aggressive. Moreover, the new design should follow the principle of all the other Feuerring models so that there is a consistency about them. It was my partner Beate Hoyer who persuaded me to simply try it out. For me "Luna Grande" is the most reduced form I have created to date. Sometimes it takes a few rounds of trial and error before you can produce a key piece.

All the Feuerring sculptures are very robust. Is there anything one needs to bear in mind when maintaining the "Luna Grande"?

Andreas Reichlin: The beauty of it is that there is nothing to consider. Installed today the "Luna Grande" can last for up to 1,000 years. What else can you say that about nowadays? You can set yourself a vision today whose fruit are harvested for generations. I had a customer who had her family’s name discreetly engraved on the "Luna Grande". It was installed on a piece of land that was once bought by her great-grandfather. The Feuerring is a lifelong pleasure and at the same time it’s an investment in the future. We are so used to fast-paced consumerism that it takes time to appreciate what a sculpture like the Feuerring means. Fortunately, the "Luna Grande" has proved to be very popular. That also surprised me because I wouldn’t have thought there were many people who have the courage to make such a clear statement in purchasing the "Luna Grande".

Will there ever be a "Luna Mini"?

Andreas Reichlin: No.

Why not?

Andreas Reichlin: To my mind you need a minimum diameter of one meter for the Feuerring to have the right spatial impact in its setting. Anything smaller than that is not worth considering and reminds me of ash-trays and plant pots. I guess, there is too much of the sculptor in me. It’s also important that every new design chimes with the overall principle of the Feuerring sculptures. For example, I would never design a cylinder or a cone shape. These formal gaps are pounced on by the imitators but that’s pointless – because you need formal harmony in order to create that consistent look.

What are you working on just now?

Andreas Reichlin: Numerous, albeit all very different projects, for example, for a lighting designer whose factory buildings will accommodate primal light in the guise of "Luna Grande". I’ve also designed a wood store for the Feuerring sculptures: One meter wide, two meters long and 45 centimeters high, made of 20-gauge sheet metal. Apart from serving as a wood store it also doubles as a couch for two. The flat, austere form harmonizes very well with the round shape of the fire ring. And it is also slightly reminiscent of a matchbox, which I find quite fitting.