Not far from central Phoenix, the Consanti Bronze Foundry in Paradise Valley, Arizona is a worthy detour to learn about the enchanting Soleri bells and the fascinating Arcosanti complex. The Arcosanti project, which has since been designated as an Arizona Historic Site, presents a unique bio-climatic environment with structures that feature imaginative design element and reflect innovative construction techniques. Nearby, the Consanti Bronze Foundry was once the residence and sculpture studio of Italian-American artist and architect Paolo Soleri, who passed away in 2013 and the age of 93.
Soleri was an artist known for his anti-materialist stance. In fact, the word "Cosanti" is made up of two Italian words: cosa and anti. Translated, the name means "against things." These unique, experimental, imaginative buildings made in the '50s are fun to explore and add a layer of education and interest to your visit to the foundry. The foundry is best known for selling Soleri's iconic bronze bells that are each unique in color, design, and tone. Some feature abstract designs, but others depict images like elephants, musical instruments, birds, and more, so you'll be sure to find the one that speaks to you. The foundry's ceramic bells are also very popular with visitors.
Tips for Visiting the Cosanti Bronze Foundry
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. When you arrive, take some time to wander through the foundry garden, appreciate the uniqueness of the architecture, and enjoy the special sense of peace that visitors often feel at Cosanti and Acrosanti.
Over 50,000 people visit the foundry every year and the complex is open daily, excluding major holidays. You'll be free to walk around on your own, but you must make a reservation ahead of time if you're looking for a guided group tour. Make sure you set aside a few hours for a full visit, so you'll have time to tour the property fully, visit the bell gallery, and grab a bite to eat in the cafe, which provides a large variety of vegan and gluten-free options.
You'll also want to check the event schedule ahead of your visit. The foundry regularly holds events, such as Shakespeare shows and jazz performances at Acrosanti, which adds to the surreal majesty of the destination. There are many ways to add depth to your visit to the foundry if you feel inspired, such attending workshops and seminars that the foundry also offers.
Without a doubt, this is the most popular souvenir to bring home from a trip to the foundry, but you must take the time to carefully select your bell. You will want to devote time to listening to each bell’s tone and admiring their designs. The profits from each sale directly benefit the Cosanti Foundation and help build Arcosanti, the futuristic architectural wonder north of Cosanti. The bells vary in size and the prices begin at about $30.