Mario Merz is perhaps best known for his igloos, which he made in a variety of materials beginning in 1968. What is perhaps less well known, however, are the artist’s small models of his igloos, one of which is on display in Magazzino’s lobby. This work is a model for an igloo that the artist never realized. The sculptural and architectural maquette reminds us of Merz’s interest in the igloo as an archetypal habitat and creative source throughout his career. Merz associated the sustainable, temporary architectural form, made from natural materials, with nomadic living. Frequently using natural materials in his own igloos, such as stone and wax (associated with energy), Merz often juxtaposed organic materials with manmade or industrial materials, even those derived from natural sources, such as steel and glass. The transparency of the structure invites viewers to contemplate the idea of an enclosed habitat that is nevertheless open to the world. This work is one of six small igloos from 1984 that the artist made in Japan for his 1988 solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art Nagoya. This is the first time the work has been shown in the United States.


  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Mario Merz
  • Creator Lifespan: (1925 – 2003)
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Date Created: 1984
  • Physical Dimensions: h 137, w 65, d 130 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
  • Medium: Steel, stone, wax, and glass

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