I met you that I was a kid and when I said goodbye to you the last time I was the age you were when I first met you on that abandoned railway bridge. No trains passed but I got on your train and I am still on it today because I live and work with your teachings and with your "unjustifiable needs".
You knew how to explain well, to me and my friends, that architecture and design are not a problem of business or industries or market or technology, but a problem of men, of living beings who must live together and together to this planet. Suddenly everything became clear and simple and easy and there was no need to split your head to find solutions that do not exist, you just had to look around and be yourself, humble and surprised in front of the world.
I now miss those simple words, those big concepts, the advices, the stories, the pencils that pass from one hand to the other, the hands that smooth the paper, the eyes with low eyelids, the surprised look to discover what is not we expect, the dedications on the books always suitable for every moment and every person (it would be worth collecting them), the intense drawings of the projects, passed and passed again with the reds and the blackest blacks and the most precious golds, and the light and happy ones made just to draw, the notebooks, neat and clean, the colored pencils, the papers that came from all over the world, rough and smooth, white, quays, very white, the pens with the thin tip, the stacked boxes, the labels and the capital letters, the calligraphy I copied a lot, the handwritten and typed texts, the ones corrected in pen, the simplicity, rigor and richness of the environments where you lived, the music you chose and that Barbara and I still listen so much in San Tommaso, the anger for the things you didn't like and the deep pleasure in front of the beautiful ones.
Dear Ettore, we miss you.
At the last meeting, a few days before you decided to leave, you told me that you no longer knew who you were working for, who you did your drawings for and who deserved to melt in search of real and beautiful things. It was a disarming statement that made me realise how much you no longer recognised yourself in the world around you and how much you had to appeal to yourself to insist on trying to understand. Now this question of yours has become the question I ask myself, how can I give the right value to things, actions, thoughts, feelings? And I come back to ask you in the hope of an answer.
The world has become bigger and smaller at the same time: with a single characteristic. You get lost, both in one and the other. Even the kids don't know what they want. Those who like me forty years ago came to you or were looking for you on the bridges of abandoned railways, they don't know what to ask, they don't know what to look for. But equally, fortunately, they seek. And in the end, surely, they will find. And we would have gone a little further. I, too, with my friends back then, probably didn't know what to ask you. And we were waiting for you, you who came from afar, you who came from Milan and told us that we were good because we were looking for something and that everything was possible, that everything was in front of us and, then as now, just close your eyes to go far.
And to think that, today as then, we only ask to be happy."
Michele De Lucchi, 2013