(lively music) Jonathan: The desert’s so other. I like got to get out of New York more, to get my chakra’s a-tingling. I’m in Paradise Valley, Arizona, which was home to one of
my idols, Paolo Soleri. I’m going to visit his bell
foundry/studio/gallery, Cosanti, and make my very own bell. Cosanti, here I come. (whoops) (techno music) (tinkling music) Paolo Soleri was a visionary, modernist, utopian architect from Italy. He’s like an environmentally-conscious Walt Disney of the desert: Desert Disney. He was best known for his rad windchimes and for constructing
Arcosanti, which is like Logan’s Run meets occult
meets the Mona Lisa. I’ve been to Arcosanti several times, but never to Cosanti,
which is where Paolo lived and created and dreamed
until the ripe old age of 93. This place is unbelieveable. It’s like Austin Nemire meets Picasso. I want to live here and hump this column and just inhabit this zone. He is a genius. Mary: Hi. I’m Mary. Jonathan: Hi. Jonathan. Mary: You’re here at
the North Apse, which is a prime example of Soleri’s
earth-casting technique. He did all the decorative work on this with his own hand and
with just a kitchen knife. Jonathan: Incredible. Mary: He also put to
work on a smaller scale, decorating the bronze bells that are the bread and butter
of our operation here. Jonathan: They’re so beautiful. Mary: Our foundry is
just around the corner. Want to go see how they’re made? Jonathan: Uh, yes! Mary: Let’s go. Jonathan: This bell foundry is incredible. It’s where they actually
pour the bronze bells. They have a pottery studio. It’s like something very
science fiction-y about this place, but with a
real sense of warmth. If this is what alien life is
like, beam me away, please. Mary: They’re taking the crucible out from the propane-fired furnace. They heated it up to 2,200 degrees. You don’t want to touch that. Jonathan: No. Mary: On a really good week, they can produce a thousand bells. Jonathan: A thousand? Mary: Uh-huh. Jonathan: Wow. Mary: Although it is an
incredibly old process, 8,000 years old; people have been heating metal up and
pouring it into sand molds. We don’t have a lot of
technological helpers. To use their backs, they
have to lift carefully. Jonathan: Good workout. No need to go to the gym. Mary: Each bell is made
unique by pressing designs into that female part of the mold- Jonathan: Before they pour the bronze. I’ve got to be honest. I’m like it’s difficult for me to be here and not just like run
around, stealing everything. You need someone following
me the entire time I’m here to make sure I’m not stealing. Bronze … (makes growling sound) I’m so stoked to be customizing
one of Soleri’s bells. As a potter, I’ve always been
like, “Paolo Soleri, what? “I love you.” To sort of “collaborate” with
him, albeit posthumously, is kind of an honor and a thrill. Mary: Are you ready to
get your hands dirty? Jonathan: Always. Linda: Jonathan. Linda: Nice to meet you. Jonathan: Hi; how are you? Mary: And I’m going to
see you in a little bit. Linda: We’re going to
do ceramics together. Jonathan: Okay, I think I can handle that. Linda: I know you can. (Jonathan laughs) You want me to go ahead and do this? Jonathan: Oh, you know what, I’ll pour it. I’ll go old school, pouring
[unintelligible], got it. Linda: This is a plaster mold. It’s what we call the
number 716, the bell, and Paolo designed the shape. Then this is one that’s ready to take out, if you’d like to lift it out. Jonathan: Beautiful. Linda: Then this is
what we call a [retool]. It’s just a fine, fine,
fine mineral powder. Just powder the whole thing. Jonathan: Like just kind
of dust it like that? Linda: Uh-huh. That’s its colorant. Of course, we stick a
little hole in the center Jonathan: Oh, that’s for [the thingy]. Linda: In Paolo’s designs,
you see a lot of circles. Jonathan: Yes. I’m a bit of a circle queen myself. Linda: Okay, good. He invented this little
tool to make the circle. Jonathan: I love that. Linda: Would you like to? Jonathan: I would be honored to do that. Linda: All right. Jonathan: I’m so excited. I’m going to just use
your tool and just try and make it Cosanti-ish,
but with a nod to moi. What an ingenious tool this is. A really good technique
for getting them little … Linda: Oh, the wedge? Jonathan: Can we do those on those? Linda: Sure. Jonathan: Your wedging skills are on fire. You’re realizing my vision, and it’s collaborative, which I love. Oh, my God. It’s so good. Linda: So we’re going to fire your bell, and we’ll put a clapper in it so it rings. Jonathan: Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see my bell. You are a delight. Thank you. Linda: Thank you. Jonathan: It’s so inspiring to be immersed in Paolo Soleri’s world. It recharges me. It reinvigorates me. I cannot wait to get back to my studio and just start making stuff. Thank you so much. Anybody who loves design
and anybody who loves craft needs to make a pilgrimage stat to Cosanti and Arcosanti and just bathe
in the glory of it all.