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Salvatori talks to Patricia Urquiola about the new Taula table collection

07.2021

Taula: the new table collection designed by Patricia Urquiola

Fruit of our recent collaboration with Patricia Urquiola is a collection of dining and coffee tables that take their name and inspiration from the imposing monolithic structures found on the Mediterranean islands of Majorca and Menorca.

Playing with natural stone’s inherent tactility, the Spanish designer bestows an unexpected sense of lightness upon what is traditionally seen as a heavy, immutable material. Her designs are brought to life through artful use of technology and craftsmanship to create a series of table tops that seem to hover above their structures in what could almost be described as a mystical manner.

We take a closer look at the story behind the collection and Patricia Urquiola’s vision for it.

How did you find the experience of working with natural stone and how did you incorporate it into your design style?

At the heart of the design, right from the beginning, was an enormous respect for the material itself. We understood that we were dealing with a resource that needed to be safeguarded and approached with care.

We worked closely at all times throughout the process with Salvatori to choose stones that came from locally-owned quarries. This meant that we worked with a short, trustworthy supply chain and it gives me pleasure to be able to say that we were the ones to then adapt to the stone and its characteristics.

Could you tell us a little about the name of the collection, Taula. What was the inspiration behind it?

The collection refers to ancestral structures that we have then reinterpreted and simplified. The tables almost look as though they have been sketched, in that you feel you could trace them in a single movement starting from the top and then finishing with the solid volumes that support them.

Taula’s elements reveal themselves almost imperceptibly. What makes them so fascinating is the seeming ‘precariousness’ between the joints and volume, in direct contrast to the traditional idea of mighty stone constructions.

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What stones did you use and why?

Again, it was respect and the availability of nature’s stones that guided us here. Crema d’Orcia, Bianco Carrara, Pietra d’Avola, Gris du Marais® and Verde Alpi make up the cast and they play off each other in a dialogue.

Salvatori gave us tremendous freedom in terms of composition, meaning we could design single-material tables and also combine two types of stone in bi-material variants.

What that means in practice is that the rectangular dining table comes completely in Crema d’Orcia or Pietra d’Avola, or in a version that pairs Bianco Carrara with legs in sandblasted Pietra d’Avola. Instead, the square dining table is in Gris du Marais® or Bianco Carrara or you can choose a version in Bianco Carrara with legs in sandblasted Verde Alpi marble.

Completing the collection, we also have six coffee tables and here we have Bianco Carrara with legs in sandblasted Verde Alpi in the round version and in Crema d’Orcia with legs in Pietra d’Avola for the rectangular form. In the single-material versions, we again have Bianco Carrara and Gris du Marais® in a rectangular shape and Crema d’Orcia or Pietra d’Avola for a round one.

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Taula is the second project you have worked on with Salvatori. How is it different from Kore, the first one?

Taula was designed as a complete furniture concept and it was a longer process than Kore because it involved a number of different test phases and we had to experiment a bit to arrive at the final collection. It was a fascinating project and, we could say, accompanied that of Kore simultaneously.

Kore is a “sister” collection that is a reflection of the meaning, in the deepest sense, of the word “home” and its evolution.

How was the experience of working with Salvatori to develop Taula? Were there any particular challenges you had to overcome together?

The main challenge was coming up with the right support solution which entailed finding a balance in the play of weights and ensuring that the meeting between stone and metal was functional. We learned to evaluate the limits of each material.

Taula was born right in the middle of lockdown when everything was at a standstill in terms of testing and developing prototypes, steps that are fundamental, particularly when you are working with stones that needs incredible attention, with no room for error.

The relationship between my design team and Salvatori started off digitally. I still remember the many online meetings that, however, didn’t stop us creating an extremely cohesive rapport, even though it came into being remotely.

It’s fair to say that this project was virtual-only for a good while, and now that we are in contact in person it is even more joyful.

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Taula is the result of a process that combines an extraordinary level of precision engineering and craftsmanship, the result of meticulous research conducted by our team into form and perspective. The numerous tests and experiments that lie behind the final collection gave form to a striking series of innovative and mystical designer tables.