On the wintry afternoon of November 17th, 1980, a dignified group of people gathered in Tapiola’s centre for the unveiling of Antonio da Cudan’s sculpture, A Sketch from Space. The group included representatives from Tapiola 72, the society of local companies who had initiated the project, the City of Espoo, the Housing Foundation and other interested citizens. Veikko Santala, chairman of Tapiola 72 handed over the sculpture and Espoo City Council chairman Erik Olander gave the unveiling speech, pulling the cord that released the covering Everyman fabric donated by Merimekko.
In 1971, in connection with the 20th anniversary of the Housing Foundation that had built Tapiola, a number of local companies put forward the idea of a competition for a sculpture personifying the spirit of Tapiola. Seven companies joined in the project: Tapiola Heating Ltd, Tapiola Electricity Ltd, Viatek Engineering Office, Erkki Juva Engineering Office, Electrical Engineering Office Ltd, Heating Engineering Office Ltd and Monikko Ltd. Launched in July 1972, this was a competition of major importance in Finland.
It was at this time that the Italian artist Antonio da Cudan (born 1940, until 1975 Obletter) arrived in Finland to study sculpture at the school of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. One of the tasks set for the first year course was to participate in the Tapiola sculpture competition.
The competition aroused great interest and some 91 entries were submitted by the deadline. The jury was unanimous in declaring A Sketch from Space the “best solution”. The situation, however, became somewhat complicated when the jury opened the sealed envelope and discovered that the artist was an Italian citizen. The rules of the competition clearly stated that the winner must be a Finnish subject. After due consideration, the jury decided that instead of awarding a 1st prize it would award three 2nd prizes, and also recommended that da Cudan’s entry be realised. This decision was hotly disputed in the daily press and even questioned by the Italian Cultural Institute.
In August 1976 a contract was drawn up with the artist to make the sculpture and Lennart Segerstrål’s former atelier in Myrskylä placed at his disposal. This proved an excellent choice as the surrounding clay was suitable for producing the model. The moulds were conveyed to the art foundry in Lapinlahti in summer 1976 where the actual sculpture was cast in bronze by the artist.
This 4.2 metre high sculpture, weighing 17 tons, consists of two intertwined figures, the upper part concealing aphorisms by the artist in his native dialect of Retoroman. Underneath, in the front, can be seen the small imprint of his son Leo’s hand.
Due to extensions to the Sokos Hotel Tapiola Garden, it was necessary to move the location of A Sketch from Space to a nearby lawn in January 2009.