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We talk to designer Stephen Burks about his Friends and Neighbors mirrors

08.2021

We talk to Stephen Burks about his Friends and Neighbors mirrors

This year we worked for the first time with Stephen Burks, one of the most acclaimed American industrial designers of his generation. Of African origin, but born and raised in Chicago, he has worked with artists and artisans in over ten different countries across six continents.

The fruit of our collaboration is a pair of mirrors that celebrate the glorious palette of colours created by natural stone. Friends, a table mirror, and Neighbors, a wall-mounted option,

Dalla nostra collaborazione sono nati due specchi, uno da tavolo, Friends, e uno da parete, Neighbor. Due complementi d’arredo unici, che sfruttano tutta la palette dei nostri materiali e che rappresentano un evidente richiamo alle origini dell’artista capaci di unire un’estetica contemporanea alle più antiche tradizioni primitive.

Discover more about the Neighbor e Friends mirrors through the words of their designer Stephen Burks

What inspired you to create these mirrors?

The mirrors as an object seemed an appropriate way to begin to collaborate with Salvatori. I imagined the reflective mirrored surfaces to be the perfect complement to the beautiful stone the company works with.

What message did you want to convey with them?

During these challenging times when anxiety and excitement fill the air as the world comes together for a common cause, I wanted to talk about identity and the importance of welcoming your friends and neighbours back into your life.

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What was the concept behind the realisation?

I imagined all of the different faces from all around the world and tried to bring them together as a kind of hybrid of my imagination through the mixing of the coloured marble on the reflective surfaces. The rocking table mirrors I imagined could offer a bit of elegance and humour to the interior.

It was your first time working with Salvatori. How was it? Did you nejoy it?

The team seems very professional, although I find communication is always difficult when working trans-continentally. We all have to do our best to keep the other’s schedule and commitment in mind.

What problems did you face during the design and realisation and how did Salvatori overcome them?

When we designed the rocking mirrors, we weren’t sure about the weight of the various materials and therefore couldn’t predict how they would balance. The first prototypes were a bit unstable, but with multiple prototypes and an innate sense of the material Gabriele and his team solved it.

What stones did you use for your pieces and why?

I tried to use the entire Salvatori palette to somehow abstractly represent the diversity of faces in the world and remind us of how silly it is to define people by colour.

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The Friends and Neighbors mirrors are the result of a long process, of dedication and of sheer love. The collaboration took place in a difficult period across trans-Atlantic time zones, but determination and passion combined with extraordinary technical precision and craftsmanship triumphed to create these exquisitely unconventional pieces of design.