The New Marble

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Two of the design world’s biggest names – Patricia Urquiola and Zaha Hadid – have done some heavy lifting, creating stunning marble products presented at Salone del Mobile in April.

Zaha Hadid’s vertebrae-shaped benches twist and flow in a way that resemble shapes formed out of bent wood or flexible steel rather than impenetrable rock. The limited-edition series, called Mercuria, was presented by Citco at Salone del Mobile within a theatrically designed all-black booth where the benches sat on plinths that raised them to eye-level.

This is the second time Hadid has collaborated with the Austrian firm, which takes great pride in expanding the uses of marble beyond wall and floor coverings (“Marble has been asphyxiated and threatened by dullness due to a lack of imagination,” reads Citco’s impassioned press release). The London architect’s first pieces for Citco, shown last year in Milan, evoked cresting waves, monstrously huge woven threads and crumpled steel – all luxuriously crafted with the utmost attention to detail.

Exploring marble’s broad palette, Patricia Urquiola goes well beyond the basic black, white or striated versions and elevates the material’s brilliant yellows, greens and rosy pinks. Her new collection is also enlivened by the material’s provenance: Italian manufacturer Budri invited Urquiola to make new objects with the broken chunks of marble and onyx that littered its factory in northern Italy after two devastating earthquakes hit the region last May, destroying tons of archived stone.

The Earthquake 5.9 collection includes floor mosaics, a Zebra-striped tabletop surface and an octagonal shelving unit that vibrates with complementary colours. At Salone del Mobile, Budri’s booth included a secret chamber at the back where the floors and walls were inlaid with Urquiola’s geometric floor treatment. With two mirrors placed at either end of the narrow room, the pattern was beautifully and endlessly repeated in both directions.

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