IUTER x Lancia x Benedict Radcliffe

IUTER and Benedict Radcliffe officially collaborate with Lancia to celebrate two Made in Italy rally legends, the Lancia Stratos and Lancia Delta Integrale. Benedict forged a 1:1 scale wireframe version of the Lancia Stratos to celebrate Iuter's FW20 "Vita Veloce" collection.

After months spent in the workshop bending, welding, and painting yellow the steel tubes that make up the sculpture, the artist asked us to design a work uniform that would meet his particular needs. Thus was born the Iuter X VHP capsule collection.

Acronym for Very Heavy Products, VHP Ltd. is the brand through which Benedict markets all his work. "When I'm working in my workshop or driving around the country in my van, I always wear VHP-branded clothing," says Benedict Radcliffe. "It's something similar to what tradesmen and workers all over the UK wear, it looks smart and professional. I love big, sometimes naive logos, I love that kind of graphic work."

The Iuter X VHP capsule collection includes Work Jacket, Work Pants, Workshop Polo and a classic Dad Hat. All garments are embroidered with Radcliffe, VHP, IUTER and Lancia branding. The Lancia logo is the original one from 1974, the year of the first of three consecutive victories in the World Rally Championship - that's why all the garments are also emblazoned with the words "three in a row". The collection also includes a t-shirt, already seen (in the yellow/red friends & family version) at Parco Sempione in Milan last summer, during the sculpture public presentation.





In addition to clothing, a ceramic Lancia Delta HF Integrale will also be on sale, mounting IUTER x Benedict Radcliffe customized skate wheels. A limited, numbered and signed edition of 25 pieces in 4 colors: white, red, yellow and blue lagos. A real piece of art, officially approved by Lancia.

The first time you see them, as you probably see them from a screen, you don't quite understand. What are those colorful lines making up three-dimensional cars, in the middle of the street, among people? They look like AutoCAD images superimposed on some photograph, a photomontage. Good for Instagram, maybe. Nothing could be more wrong. Benedict Radcliffe's work must be observed well, better if in real life, better if close up, to understand it. Better to touch those works, get on 'em.

A Subaru Impreza was the first. Then Ferrari F40, Austin FX4 (the classic London cab), Toyota Celica, Lamborghini Countach, Jaguar E-Type ... Every one of 'em was rebuilt by Benedict with a structure of steel bars. Cut, bent and welded by hand. Then painted in bright colors, like the neon pink Range Rover Evoque on display in Geneva for the 2011 Motor Show. You can call them sculptures, although we're not sure what the right definition is. Either way, they struck a chord with petrolheads and gallery owners alike.

When we asked Benedict to build a yellow Lancia Stratos for Iuter, we knew he'd be thrilled: after all, he was born in Scotland in the 1970s, and his father, a passionate mechanic ("he always had a car to fix in the driveway"), passed on to him his love for the rally legends of those years. The Stratos, three-time world champion between 1974 and 1976, with its revolutionary, futuristic lines designed by Marcello Gandini, was the perfect candidate. It took Benedict months to rebuild it, locked in his workshop in London's East End, and he's still enthusiastic about it today, that his Stratos is on display - from here to eternity - in Milan, in front of the Iuter headquarters.

Benedict Radcliffe: Gandini is my favourite designer and I've spent hours looking at his work and his visual language. I'm 100% celebrating his designs when I make works like the Stratos or the Countach, and making them into a sort of still life study and encouraging the viewer to look again and really look at the sublime lines and geometry.

I've sort of bought it full circle - from the drawing board where the cars might have been sketched in 1:10, then life size on the walls of the studio, then sculpted in clay. then to actual production, and then back to a drawing but full size in three dimensions and in steel rather than ink. I'm focusing on the exterior lines and which are utterly familiar and sublime rather than what's under the skin - the engine and running gear which give the car movement and motion. 

I've sort of bought it full circle - from the drawing board where the cars might have been sketched in 1:10, then life size on the walls of the studio, then sculpted in clay. then to actual production, and then back to a drawing but full size in three dimensions and in steel rather than ink. I'm focusing on the exterior lines and which are utterly familiar and sublime rather than what's under the skin - the engine and running gear which give the car movement and motion.

IUTER: Another thing Gandini said is that today - if compared to the Sixties or Seventies - it is more difficult to bring out the personality of a single designer, in the automotive world. Do you think it's true that car design today is less exciting than in the past?

I agree. New car design is completely lost on me. I couldn't tell you the models of the new McLaren or Ferrari. Most new car design leaves me cold. There are practical reasons why cars are curvier and more aerodynamic, for a govt mandated push for fuel economy and new tech allows manufacturers to more easily design and create curved shapes. People like Gandini, Giugiaro and Fioravanti used their pencils and eyes rather than computers, and accordingly each of these masters have their own design style.

What was the last new car model that really caught your eye?

I am interested by the new Porsches, because they are just refining the 911 shape or making it look tougher. Love them.

About 15 years ago you put your first wireframe Subaru on the streets of Glasgow. What has changed in the way you work over the years?

Has it been fifteen years? Wow... Yes, actually it was 2005. What has changed? Well, not too much. It is still very practical work. As I mentioned above, people like Gandini and Fioravanti used their pencils/clay scrapers and eyes - I imagine they spent hours walking around their prototype mock ups and clay models. The eyes dont lie, so they say... or was it hips? Anyway, I also spend a lot of time looking and squinting up my eyes and studying my work and tweaking until I'm happy.

In the last 6/7 years I've been using more tech, like CAD and 3d scanning, and working with clever engineers to help with structural issues, and also good fabricators - a little crack team to produce my work. Its been a journey and I'm just getting started. Excited about new techniques and materials - I'm working with tube at the moment rather than solid steel. which is fun.

Speaking of fun, do you still enjoy putting finished sculptures on the street? Have you ever considered yourself, like, a street artist?

Putting the cars on the street is not critical but yes, it's fun! Fun is important. I wouldn't call myself a street artist - but I've certainly be very inspired by graffiti legends like Keith Haring, Dondi, Blade, and early Banksy and Kaws..

Leaving cars aside, what are your other personal obsessions?

Motorcycles.

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