Italian designer Moreno Ratti is creating innovative designs using a classic perennial: Marble. Ratti’s imaginative use of the material cleverly toes the line between archaic and revolutionary design.
In his Sospesa (suspended) collection for Marmo Trilogy, Ratti houses white Carrara marble vessels in crystalline cubular resin giving the traditionally weighty designs a stunning sense of buoyancy. The curved base of each marble form is cradled in the resin, which provides a flat base, sides and a top.
Above image: Moreno Ratti and Paolo Ulian, Introverso, 2014, Marble, 6 x 6 x 16 inches
Ratti’s process draws upon the industry practice of processing large blocks of stone from the quarry into the smooth marble most of us are familiar with. The marble is coated with resin filling any pits or micro fissures while reinforcing the material. Most of the excess resin is removed for the end product, but Ratti tells Dezeen his design takes that process even further.
“The collection designed for the Marmo Trilogy has been inspired by this process, with the intention to emphasize the material and the artisan know-how to obtain unique and non-replicable objects.”
The hollow marble shapes form a bowl, a squat vase and a taller tear drop-shaped vessel, which Ratti created using left-over marble offcuts and remnants.
Ratti frequently works with marble scraps often collaborating with fellow Italian designer Paolo Ulian. The duo created Introverso (introvert), a metamorphic vase that transforms into another vessel. The design features a large slab of marble, which has been horizontally cut into thin, yet contiguous, slats to reveal the silhouette of another vase. Ratti says the piece has a “dual personality.”
“[It] includes in its same subject another differently shaped vase. You may decide to keep the original shape of the first vessel, or to edit bringing out the second using a hammer to break the thin marble plates.”
Ratti and Ulian publicly demonstrated the vessel’s transformation at Milan design week in 2014. The artists used hammers to gently break off the marble slats to reveal the form of the innermost vase. Dezeen writes the idea came from the production of marble bathrooms sinks, where basins are efficiently formed by slicing up the material and breaking it away.
“In this way it creates a cavity in the block of marble in a faster way than doing it with traditional tools, where the intervention of the artisan is limited to the finishing the interior walls of the sink,” – Ulian
The duo’s first iteration of the Introverso (introvert) vase had vertical striations rather than horizontal layers allowing for a different pattern to surface on the underlying vase.
Ratti’s Svelata (unveiled) collection, created exclusively for Matter of Stuff, features handmade partially emerged and formed vessels, each from a large single block of of marble. The collection includes a tall and slender vessel and a rounded stout design. His design aims to recall the timeless process of shaping marble and the material itself, Ratti writes in his artist statement.
“The idea stems from the desire to create a timeless vessel, which is classic and modern at the same time, just as the material it is made. The relationship between the modern and classical forms is revealed thanks to the capable hands of the craftsman who carves the piece.”
Ratti and Ulian attribute the rise of marble design to the rapid evolution of technology (robotic machines and water jet technology) being developed and applied to forming marble, Dezeen writes.
“[IT] is possible to obtain formal and structural results that until a few years ago it was impossible to even imagine, and then open up new horizons yet to be explored.”
Ratti and Ulian continue to develop creative ways to utilize marble scraps. Check out their modular marble furniture designs.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary marble design? Let us know in the comments.