Classic and heavy as we are used to knowing it, but worked with cutting-edge technologies that allow to obtain any shape. It is light and thin as you would never expect: until it is brought to a thickness of just a few millimeters and used for example to filter light or make jewelry and glasses. Marble is very ancient but constantly evolving.
«A unique material that today, in dialogue with design and using the most modern technologies, can give life to solutions that were once unthinkable», explains architect Simone Soardo, who will talk about it in Verona in a few days. «Just think of the technologies for the protection of the material, thanks to which it can now be used in the kitchen without fear of coffee or wine stains. Or its use in wetlands. Or, again, when it is combined with other materials such as plastic ». So, despite the millenary stories of which it is the protagonist, marble is a material with partially unexplored potential because its possibilities are still little known. This was revealed by a research commissioned by Marmomac, the international fair dedicated to marble and natural stone scheduled in Verona from 27 to 30 September. From here too, from the awareness that much more can be done with stone material, the decision of the event was born to focus even more on culture and training with a rich schedule of initiatives aimed at students, architects and designers. Starting with those of The Plus Theater: an area designed to inspire the use of this material with workshops on design, architecture and experimentation. An example of this is the exhibition “Italy to discover. University research and the landscape of urban public space”, curated by Giuseppe Fallacara and Domenico Potenza as part of the Marmomac meets Academies review. An exhibition that aims to tell the variety and richness of the Italian lithic landscape – including both the places where the stone is extracted and the urban landscapes in which it is used – and to present the main experiments of universities.
«The focus this year is urban stone furniture», explains architect Giuseppe Fallacara, professor at the Polytechnic of Bari. «We are presenting fifteen full-scale, usable prototypes made by students of Italian and foreign universities. There are bicycle stands or benches with shock absorbers, embossed urban totems for the blind, diaphragm walls to screen buildings, seating with stone and metal and interlocking flooring systems. But it is not just about original objects: each tells a specific research theme, from the optimization of the stone and the reuse of waste to 3D printing and artificial intelligence ». And each contributes to broaden the knowledge of the material. «To make it clear that marble has many uses and that others can be invented», continues Fallacara.
Of course, training is not just about students. Particular attention is paid to professionals; the survey commissioned by Marmomac shows that knowledge on the uses of this material is still superficial enough not only for consumers but also for many designers. An important opportunity are the training sessions of the “Stone & Design” program organized by ICE-Italian Trade Agency with Confindustria Marmomacchine and Marmomac. The themes range from design to technology and stone processing. “With the case histories we take stock of what has been done so far and what could be done with this material”, explains architect Soardo, one of the speakers. «The imaginary connects marble to classical environments, from the church to the monument: here, we want to rejuvenate it and bring it into the contemporary». Without forgetting the focus on sustainability, given that, the architect Soardo continues to explain, “marble is a natural material of which nothing is thrown away, with production waste that, for example, can be used for agglomerated products, in the cliffs. artificial to defend against storm surges or, if granular, for substrates in building. All aspects that underline the need for continuous training ». But also of a comparison that can be a stimulus for the entire sector. «By involving designers and planners, we also try to attract thinkers», Soardo concludes: «to trigger a virtuous circle of ideas».
di Ilenia Carlesimo