by Archana PillaiSep 12, 2019
For those who may not know, Salvatori is an award-winning third-generation Italian design company specialising in natural stone. Founded in 1946, the company is renowned for its innovative and elegant products created in their Tuscan headquarters. From textures for walls and floors, to bathroom items and products for the home ranging from tables to decorative pieces, the Salvatori brand is recognised as the global benchmark in the ‘design meets natural stone’ field. In 2010 Salvatori developed the award-winning Lithoverde, the world’s first recycled stone, which is 99 per cent composed of offcuts and has been globally recognised for its contribution to architectural sustainability.
On the occasion of Salone Del Mobile 2019, Salvatori presented ‘Hidden Rooms’, an immersive installation of objects and accessories for the home designed by international designers John Pawson, Piero Lissoni and Elisa Ossino. Salvatori’s Brera showroom was transformed into a series of rooms to be discovered in a surprise sequence, alternating various types, textures and patterns of the brand’s natural stone.
The sensitivity and sculptural quality of the material has been a source of inspiration for a new series of accessories and objects of extraordinary aesthetic coherence. Built around the contrasts of Ossino’s two-dimensional architectural marks and the plastic monumentality of Salvatori’s precious marble, the collection is lightened by a balancing act of contrasting voids.
Ossino’s Hidden Rooms project brilliantly interprets Salvatori’s distinct stone textures and finishes, pushing the creative limits of the already versatile material. The idea was born from Ossino’s bathroom project, Balnea, explains Salvatori CEO Gabriele Salvatori, “We were inspired by the collection’s beautiful linen curtains and wanted to recall this idea throughout the exhibition in order to create a sense of detachment for visitors - hidden spaces you could view from a distance but not touch, as if you are looking out from behind a curtain.”
Pawson created a family of vessels and utensils for the home whose powerful affinities include rigorous simplicity of form, materiality and function. Each of the pieces comprising the Ellipse Collection is fabricated from a single seamless piece of Bianco Carrara marble. Circular in plan, the pieces share details of geometry and proportion, with variation in the character of the internal curve determined by embedded rituals of use. Contrasting polished and sandblasted textures create subtle differentiation between flat and contoured surfaces, for the eye and for the hand.
Lissoni debuted his Lost Stones collection, a new series of tables fabricated from heritage stone discovered in Salvatori’s archives. The tables employ the Japanese technique of kintsugi, a method of repairing shattered ceramics with delicate seams of gold. “The Lost Stones Collection gives new life to fragments of precious stone, joining them by following the randomness of its shatter,” explains Lissoni of the project.
As visitors traveled through the winding galleries they discovered hidden environments - a small chamber of optical illusions multiplied in mirrored reflections, a large bas-relief mural of geometric figures treated with different varieties and weights of marble and various spatial examinations of Salvatori’s stone, following one another in free form. There was no wonder then that word about this hidden gem tucked away somewhere in Brera was spreading fast and it soon caught place of prominence on everyone’s list. It definitely topped ours!