If you are visiting Arizona, it's worth a stop to learn about the "Soleri bells."
A visit to the Cosanti Bronze Foundry is a bit like stepping back into the 1960s. According to the Cosanti website, the foundry, in Paradise Valley, Ariz., is the residence and sculpture studio of Italian-American artist Paolo Soleri and his staff. Soleri (later joined by his students) began work on the experimental buildings in the mid-1950s.
Designated as an Arizona Historic Site, Cosanti presents a unique bio-climatic architectural environment. Its structures feature many imaginative design elements, reflecting innovative construction techniques.
Buy Your Soleri Bell
Take some time to wander through the foundry garden and look at the unique architecture. There is a special sense of peace that visitors feel at Cosanti. You cannot hurry; selecting a bell is not an easy process. You will want to devote time to listening to each bell’s tone, to admiring their designs. The profits from each sale directly benefit the Cosanti Foundation and help build Arcosanti, the futuristic architectural wonder north of Cosanti.
Bells run from $25 to well over $1,000. You can even purchase a signed original. Remember: your bell is an enduring treasure and the proceeds benefit the work of Paolo Soleri.
Visit the Cosanti Bronze Foundry
Every year, about 50,000 people visit the foundry. Cosanti is open daily to visitors except on major holidays. Self-guided tours are always available, but guided group tours are by reservation only. The indoor-outdoor gift gallery offers a wide range of Soleri crafts and printed materials. Set aside a few hours (at least) to visit the place. After a tour of the property and a visit to the windbell gallery, grab a bite to eat in the cafe.
Make sure you check the event schedule before your visit, too. The foundry regularly holds events, such as Shakespeare shows and jazz performances at Acrosanti, just adding to the surreal majesty of the destination. You can also find special workshops at the foundry, plus in-depth seminars, internships, "siltcast" workshops and custom workshops. There are many ways to add depth to your visit to the foundry if you feel inspired.
Fun Facts About the Foundry
- The word "Cosanti" is made up of two Italian words: cosa and anti. Translated, the name means "before (or against) things," a reference to Soleri's anti-materialist stance.
- Soleri's unique, experimental, imaginative buildings made in the '50s are fun to visit and add a layer of education and interest to your visit to the foundry.
- Soleri himself was a character, known not just for his art and architecture but also for his philosophy.
The Cosanti Bronze Foundry is located at 6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, one mile west of North Scottsdale Road and one mile south of Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona.