Virginio Ferrari (b. 1937)

Commissioned 1993
Installed 1993

Stainless steel
Height: approx. 30 in (76.2 cm)
Depth: approx. 24 in (61 cm)
Diameter: approx. 150 in (381 cm)

Gift to the Laboratory Schools by Don and Marlene Mazzoni and Mary and Charles Chuman in commemoration of the new Middle School building

Artist Profile



Virginio Ferrari’s artistic ideals, which focus on interaction between his pieces and the public individual, very much align with the collaborative environment of the University of Chicago and its Laboratory Schools, which value the life of the mind and emphasize collaboration and open dialogue between students and faculty alike. It would only make sense, then, that the University campus is home to many of his public works. One such piece, called Interlocking, was gifted to the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools by Don and Marlene Mazzoni and Charles and Mary Chuman to commemorate the completion of the then–new Middle School building. Completed in 1993, the piece was sited in the courtyard that created a pathway connecting the gym building to the main high school building at the Lab Schools, and vice versa.

Interlocking is meant to be an interactive bench, sectioned off into three curved parts of different sizes that are pieced together to form a circular structure with breaks in between. Made of stainless steel, and sitting 28 inches high and 15 inches across, the bench sat in one of the busiest sections of the Lab School campus, and became a place for students to sit, talk, and even play an invented game called “Circle Soccer”, which used the spacing of the piece as goalposts. This type of intense art–viewer interaction was and is very atypical from the way that most other pieces on campus interact with the public around them. Interlocking became more than just a sculpture in this way. Being able to not only go up and touch, but also sit on, climb on and play with and around the sculpture made it much more integral to the Lab School campus and community.


Written by Francesca Baio, 2017 Psychology


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Related Links

Ferrari Studios

Archival Materials

Interlocking sculpture documentation

Source: LUNA Library, UChicago Public Art Collection and Archive