Prix Gaïa 2006 – Luigi Pippa. Craftsmanship-Creation category
The watch artisan is known for his reconstructions of Giovanni Dondi's Astrarium, an astronomical clock designed and developed in the late 14th century before it prematurely disappeared in the 16th century. After that, only a detailed illustrated description of its design remained in the form of eleven manuscripts kept in different libraries.
From 1960 onward, Luigi Pippa's research led him to undertake the reconstruction of three models of the astrarium, each of which was a better version of the precedent ones. The third version was completed in 1985 and was sold to the International Museum of Horology where it has taken its place as one of the masterpieces of the museum's collection.
The unique value of Pippa's work firstly lay in his study and understanding of Giovanni Dondi's manuscripts and in the research of the astronomical indications and mechanisms described and mentioned in the archives that have helped to have a better grasp of Italian watchmaking in the 14th century. Secondly, it was simply to allow the general public to enjoy it.
Pippa's knowledge of antique watchmaking that he acquired when he repaired watches and clocks helped him to undertake not only a conventional theoretical research work but also a reconstruction of the clock using artisanal methods with due regard to the original manuscript.
Pippa also wrote several books and catalogues about horological collection.