The Eye of the Beholder

Striking Series of Ocular Trinkets and Rings Inspired by the Designer’s Dog

Inspiration can come from the strangest of places. For 49-year-old Italian architect and model-maker extraordinaire, Stefano Prina, he found it whilst gazing into the eyes of his dog, Lucky.

“He was very special, and had a look that has always filled me with joy,” recalls Stefano. “I tried obsessively to reproduce that look in paintings and sculptures, perfecting this technique in an effort to find him”.

Stefano now has a whole series of ornaments, rings and necklaces, many of which feature eyes, some resembling specific animals like a lizard, goat or owl. Others seem to contain the entire galaxy. Each piece is lovingly hand-crafted by Stefano using resin, natural pigments and beguiling coloured materials which enhance the light and give the pieces a shimmering quality. The effect is haunting in how well it captures these windows to the soul.

Stefano had more to share about these enchanting pieces of work.

The Plus: What is your professional background?
Stefano Prina:
I graduated from the Polytechnic of Milan in Architecture. I have always worked on models and maquettes alongside many design studios and architecture firms in the realisation of various projects. Facing continuous problems related to the materials and techniques of these has given me great resourcefulness in creating my products.

TP: Why do you think people are so endlessly fascinated by eyes?
I believe that the relationship that is formed between two living beings begins from the moment their eyes meet.

TP: What’s the best reaction you’ve had to your work?
One of the best moments of my work was the release of the trailer for “The Stolen Eye” film project in stop motion inspired by science fiction classics of the 50s and 60s. The public response was really flattering for us. Many have encouraged us to continue the work and make a real film.

TP: Are you working on anything new at the minute?
My latest project is a series of jewellery inspired by the nebulae and galaxies. Some eyes that I made can also be interpreted as black holes in space. Hence I thought of studying visions of the universe, following the suggestion of bringing the galaxy in which we live onto a finger or neck.