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Meet Silvio Gazzaniga, Brain Behind FIFA World Cup Trophy’s Design

Creativity has since been paying off, today we celebrate the amazing sculptor named Silvio Gazzaniga, who designed the world cup trophy used by FIFA till date.
The nonagenarian Italian sculptor who have spent most of life creating symbols of other people’s success, created the trophy when he was 50 year old but now above 90 year old and still living in Milan.

50 year old Silv
50 year old Silvio

Silvio submitted his design when FIFA was seriously in need of a unique trophy they could can their after the former one got stolen .FIFA solicited for fifty-three submissions from seven countries, and ended up picking Silvio’s design as it seem very unique.

More About Silvio Gazzaniga

Gazzaniga grew up during World War II and spent his youth admiring fine jewelry and the architecture of Milan. He designed his first medal as a teenager, and spent the next three decades working on jewels and skiing trophies, finally rising to creative director at Milanese trophy design firm Bertoni. It was there he learned of FIFA’s search for a new trophy. Interviewed last month through a translator, Gazzaniga, now ninety-three and still living in Milan, reminisced about the competition.

“I closeted myself away in my studio, situated in the artists’ quarters of Milan,” he says. “I began work immedioately.”

Tucked away for a week, Gazzaniga, in his modest-sized studio near Sforza Castle, etched and molded as the ideas flowed. Gazzaniga, a soccer fan who, perhaps unsurprisingly, supports AC Milan, said that he was aware of the history and significance of the previous trophy.

“The Rimet Trophy was a perfect example of the end of the 1800s way to conceive a cup,” he says. “My design was a good example of the end of the 1900s way to conceive a trophy.

“FIFA approached the old trophy as a precious jewel,” he continued. “The Rimet Trophy was a jewel, but, in 1971, FIFA was aware of the era of television and they were looking for something more photogenic, soft and good-looking on TV — a new symbol updated for the end of century…a precious sculpture, not a squared jewel.”
And so Gazzaniga set out to make something a little more flowing than the rigid old trophy. Aesthetic pleasure overcame everything else as he molded a wide base that narrowed before shooting out again, where its lines sprung upwards, spiraling, to receive the world that sat at its top. The World Cup.

Shaped into these lines would be “a human being — the hero — but not alone, because the game and every match is done by two teams, two wills opposing and acting together,” Gazzaniga says. “Energy, force, strength, dynamism, roughness, agility, speed, success, achievement, victory, triumph. All this had to turn around and embrace the world, who is over all and over every single man.”

Happy with his mold and sketches, Gazzaniga submitted his design to FIFA. In the age before email, it would be months before he heard anything.

“I was proud of my design and was happy with the result,” he says, “but I honestly did not expect such a success.”

After months of suspense, a message came from FIFA: His design had been chosen. Compared to the bland silver cups given as prizes for most European football competitions, Gazzaniga’s design was flamboyant, an irresistible representation of exaltation and joy. What’s more, it would undoubtedly look mighty and appealing on TV — the champion’s hands wrapped around the contesting opponents; the sun’s light shimmering off the curvature of the globe.

Modest and down-to-earth, the designer describes his emotions at the time as nothing more than “happy” and “proud,” but admits that he was a little overwhelmed when he saw his trophy on the world’s stage for the first time, in 1974.

“The first time is everything, for me,” he said, reminiscing about the sight of the West German captain Franz Beckenbauer collecting his trophy. “The One.”

Since that moment, the trophy has been lifted by some of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Today, FIFA regulations state that Gazzaniga’s trophy — 14.5 inches high, hollowed and made of eighteen-carat gold — cannot be taken home by any nation. Every four years, the winner receives a replica as a reminder of their victory, while the permanent trophy’s base is etched with the year and the champion’s name.

Designing the trophy elevated Gazzaniga’s career: He was later asked to design other internationally-recognized soccer trophies, like the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. But none is more iconic than the swirling gold of the World Cup prize, which remains beautiful no matter how many players grip it with muddy, sweaty hands.

“For me, the time when I was protective over the trophy stopped in 1971,” he says. “Players can touch it, win just one, or, if they are lucky, two. But the FIFA World Cup is mine forever — I’m the real winner.”

We Celebrate This Creative Genius!


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