oma and abine marcelis design with solidnature stone
Natural stone brand SolidNature partners with Rem Koolhaas-founded architecture firm OMA for its debut at Milan Design Week. The immersive show ‘Monumental Wonders,’ presented at Alcova, features pieces by the Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis and the international architecture firm which had been newly commissioned by SolidNature for the occasion.
The exhibition spans five rooms at Alcova’s Lavanderia building and demonstrates a range of innovative strategies for the manipulation of natural and semi-precious stones.
entrance threshold by OMA | image courtesy SolidNature
a vibrant threshold and sculptural bathroom
SolidNature (see here) showcases the beauty of its natural stone from the start with its luminous portal comprising nine different types of onyx, assembled in sequence by OMA (see here) to form a vibrant threshold. Through this entranceway, the inspiring work of Sabine Marcelis (see here) takes center stage.
At once, visitors to Alcova (see here) are greeted by a monolithic, state of the art bathroom of Pink Pale Hue Onyx which is meant to be viewed from every angle as a free-standing sculpture. Seeming to glow from within, each element of the playful installation has been meticulously taken into account by the designer, who has created a piece where form and function coexists organically.
the threshold comprised nine types of onyx | image by designboom
Sabine Marcelis notes: ‘There is, for sure, a clear intent in everything I design. It’s very much about getting to the core of something and stripping back any decorative elements. I always design things with function in mind, but maybe when you see the installation in person for the first time, it doesn’t look like the most functional thing. It’s a delicate balance of aesthetics, materiality, form language, and function. ‘
OMA Partner Ellen van Loon continues: ‘The design explores the possibilities of natural stone, from the unfettered expressivity of a raw block of marble to the creative reuse of leftover off-cuts and stone dust. ‘
Sabine Marcelis’ onyx bathroom sculpture | image courtesy SolidNature
heaviness to lightness: challeging perception
OMA populates the main room of SolidNature’s ‘Monumental Wonders’ presenting Balance, a multi-functional cabinet made out of Satin Verde Marble with shelves in Fresh Flow Onyx. The cabinet can be used as an open shelf from one side while the other side can be used as a closed cabinet system. Balance visually challenges the perception of gravity as it stands on a single support that can be easily rotated.
Inhabitable is a bed intended as a block that reveals hidden functions within a very clean design. The bed is made out of two main elements, a fixed slab of Satin Verde Marble and a block of Dark Emerald Onyx which rotates revealing its multiple functions and storage facilities for various items such as plugs, books or laptops.
In addition to Balance and InhabitableOMA uses SolidNature’s innovative and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to create The Technological Stone, a block of natural stone with rough finishing, transformed into a power plug creating a bridge between nature and technology. The collection of Technological Stones is the main source of power within Monumental Wonders and visitors can see these connected to screens showing videos of the manufacturing process.
Balance by OMA | image courtesy SolidNature
showcasing experimentation in the lab room
The visit of SolidNature’s Monumental Wonders culminates with the Lab Room. Here, the expert natural stone manufacturer demonstrates the possibilities of the materials throughout a colorful display of marble samples, arranged by gradient. Most spectacularly, SolidNature shows the experimentation of the material, especially by using marble dust which is still in an early stage of development.
Visitors are invited to learn two techniques of working with dust: the first consists of casting the dust together with resin to create new textures, while the second process generates new colorways of stones by blowing air inside a case containing different stone dusts. This method has been largely used by SolidNature and the most well-known example of this can be seen in the bright pink stone used for the elevator of Fondazione Prada’s Torre.
view of the Lab Room | image by designboom
David Mahyari, CEO of SolidNature comments: ‘Monumental Wonders is the result of SolidNature’s constant pursuit of beauty and craftsmanship. Our constant research to develop cutting-edge solutions that highlight the versatility and uniqueness of natural stone informs our exhibition at Alcova where we aim to show that the impossible can be made possible through experience, creativity and ingenuity.
‘For Monumental Wonders we have been privileged to collaborate with a formidable team of creatives who translated SolidNature’s desire to push boundaries and reinvent the limitless ways in which natural stone can be utilized. ‘