OMA’s Ellen van Loon and Giulio Margheri have debuted an exhibition at Milan Design Week that explores the process of creating design objects out of natural stone and its evolution from raw elements to refined commercial products at the market.
Set in the basement and garden of the Brera District’s historic Casa Maveri, Beyond the Surface was commissioned by Dutch materials suppliers SolidNature as a way of showcasing the craftsmanship and artistry behind the process, framing its creation on a metaphor for dreams and the innate human ability to actualize potential.
Van Loon says: "[The] exhibition is about nature’s power; it gives an impression of the processes of compression and solidification that led to the formation of natural stone as we know it today."
Designs from Sabine Marcelis, Bita Fayyazi, Ward Strootman, and Studio Ossidiana are arranged in an interactive five-room configuration that winds through a stone-clad showcase room, up a blue onyx separating volume with marble stairs, and into its culmination in the palazzo's garden, where examples of stone furniture are presented as the backdrop for different Design Week activities.
Margheri says: "The installation gives a taste of the different potential treatments, applications and approaches of designing with natural stone."
"We approached the two main areas of the exhibition in different ways," he added. "In the basement, we chose to emphasize the confined character of the space by completely cladding the rooms with stone, creating the impression that you are underneath the Earth’s surface. The spaces are meant not only to inform but also give the feeling of the processes that lead to the formation of rocks and the methods through which they are extracted. For the garden, our role was more that of a curator. We defined the areas where the activities associated with the Design Week would take place and chose the designers of the objects."
This year marks the second time that OMA and SolidNature have collaborated in Milan, following Monumental Wonders,which was held at the& Alcova during Design Week last year. The exhibition is open now and will remain on view until the April 23rd.
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