Have you ever gotten excited about a 40x40cm marble tile? Well prepare to right now! In their latest project ‘40X40’, Italian designers Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti have taken the humble marble tile - often found discarded in the back of warehouses - and have unleashed its potential to create some breathtaking and functional new items.
Creativity is at its most mesmerising when it offers new exciting perspectives and encourages you to see things in exciting new ways. When this endeavour is combined with the objective of utilising materials so that there is no waste and using ethical design practices and processes, it is impossible not to sit up, take notice and applaud such efforts. Cut using a water jet machine, these stunning pieces have been made in such a way so as to not waste any material. And it is this precision in the manufacturing that echoes the precision of the designs themselves.
Ulian and Ratti aimed to create pieces that were functional but also beautiful seen for example through the PiùOmeno table lamp which has been made by cutting a tile into pieces and then assembling these pieces using simple joints. Highly practical as well as sophisticated because of the minimalism and function of the design, the light can be adjusted by simply by tilting the shade backwards and forwards.
The striking O Ring fruit bowl has a nimble quality as the tile has been cut into rings that have been layered at angles. Bold in design, it also shows how a modest idea can create something that takes time for the eye to comprehend. There is a undoubted real joy in this. The Gerla vase + fruit bowl is also a series of relatively thinly cut rings that have been compiled in an original fashion. The Piet fruit bowl is made from four pieces joined at angles, making it recall a Mondrian painting. All of these items function as fruit bowls that will upstage even the most delicious and colourful fruits.
The Sfrid0 side table and the Layer stool on the other hand, are both made from just two tiles but vary in regards to their design. The coffee table is ornate. Although simply constructed, the water cutting process has created an item that’s more romantic. The stool is more modern and has a dual purpose; it can be used both as a container and as something to sit upon.
So there you go! After seeing Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti’s amazing 40x40 marble collection you will never look at a marble tile in the same way again. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!