Merkel ‘Space Egg’ gift designer laughs off jibes
It’s been likened by critics to the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings films, or a squashed Pokemon ball.
But the young artist behind a special leaving gift from EU leaders to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her last summit on Friday says he finds the comparisons on Twitter amusing and was “honoured” to be chosen.
Dutch-French designer Maxim Duterre’s design was picked by EU chief Charles Michel to create the perspex sculpture, which represents the oval-shaped European Council headquarters in Brussels, dubbed the “Space Egg”.
“I haven’t seen Twitter yet but I can see the resemblance. It’s funny,” Duterre told AFP when asked about the comparison to JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels.
Instead of the giant-all seeing evil eye in the Lord of the Rings films, the sculpture is meant to be an “artistic impression” of the building where summits are held, he said.
It features a brass navigational instrument to show the EU as a “guiding institution” and the perspex sphere as a “representation of the European people”, added the 23-year-old.
European leaders gave Merkel a standing ovation at her 107th and final summit after a Gandalfesque 16-year reign that has seen her guide the bloc through major ups and downs.
Michel hailed her as a “monument” before handing her the perspex cube.
Departing Swedish PM Stefan Lofven also received one of the paperweight-sized gifts.
“For me, Merkel has always been there, since I was small, so to be able to do something like this is strange, it’s unreal,” said Duterre, who grew up in Belgium but now has a studio in the Netherlands.
Duterre was recommended by the mother of a primary school classmate who worked in the EU to design the gift — which he said he had sold for 150 euros ($175) a piece.
“There have been lots of positive reactions,” he added.