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The importance of artisanship in contemporary design

04.2021

The role of artisanship in contemporary design

When it comes to contemporary design, the artisanal element is becoming increasingly appreciated and sought after. In a world of cookie-cutter, mass-produced products, items made, shaped or finished by the warmth of a human hand represent not only something precious and unique, but also a form of true luxury.

At Salvatori, while we have always embraced technology and innovation, we have never underestimated the importance of craftmanship, seeing it as an essential ingredient in every aspect of production, from choosing the perfect piece of stone to working it into a beautiful finished object.

Let’s take a closer look at the role artisanship plays in contemporary design.

Discover just what makes craftsmanship more important than ever in contemporary design

Uniqueness and a return to our origins

In an increasingly frenetic world where it sometimes seems we have no time even to think, the idea of turning to a simpler, gentler era is extraordinarily appealing. A time when the rhythm of life was slower, when the disposable, use-once-and-throw away culture didn’t yet exist. A time when everyday rituals allowed you to connect with nature and each other.

The artisanal approach takes us back to a less complex pace of life when manual work was performed with the pride of seeing how you could take a raw, unfinished material and transform it through your own skill and hands.

This is something we cherish, and seek to reproduce through products such as our Raw texture. Designed by Piero Lissoni, it replicates the roughly-hewn effect of chiselled wood and its tactility conveys both the essence of stone and the rugged sensation that only a totally artisanal process can impart.

There is yet another important aspect of this approach, and that is that every product made by hand is completely unique.

This is even more pronounced when working with a material like natural stone, where no two blocks, slabs or tiles are identical. When you touch a tile, a table or even a simple accessory such as a book end or soap dish, you know that it is truly one of a kind, and in today’s world of mass production, that is something to be treasured.

Salvatori design

Working with a material as complex but special as natural stone is an enormous privilege for us, but at the same time, we believe it also comes with a responsibility to safeguard this wonderful gift of nature. As such, we seek to find ways to limit waste and reuse as much of it as possible, and this philosophy is behind products such as our Lithoverde® and Lost Stones textures.

In both of these, the human touch plays a fundamental part. Created in 2010, Lithoverde® is the world’s first stone product made almost entirely from recycled material. In fact, it is 99% comprised of offcuts of beautiful marble or limestone that would otherwise be thrown away. We use not only our own discards, but also those of many other stone companies, meaning a significant decrease in wastage of this beautiful natural resource.

The idea behind Lithoverde® is incredibly simple, although at the time it was introduced, it represented a revolution in the industry. We recut the scraps of stone into rectangles and squares of varying sizes and lay them out, building layer upon layer until we have a new block, which is held together with a soy-based resin. Every block is created entirely by hand, from the choice of each piece of stone that goes into it, through to its actual construction.

Similarly, our Lost Stones collection exemplifies the indispensable role of artisanship in quality design. Once again, taking abandoned slabs or fragments of stone and giving them a glorious new life. In many cases, we are lucky enough to use stones left over from incredible structures such as Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral and Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona Pavilion.

We scour stone yards and old warehouses the length and breadth of Italy to find marble, travertine and limestone that have simply been forgotten and often left to the mercy of the elements. Our master craftsmen patiently restore them to their former glory, mending any cracks or piecing irregular shapes together with a golden resin, in a modern-day interpretation of the age-old Japanese art of Kintsugi, used for repairing precious porcelain in centuries gone by.

Our ultimate mission is to develop design that evokes emotions and a sense of belonging in whoever comes into contact with it. Natural stone is a living material, with each piece containing a unique and multi-layered history within it. The veining, the colouring, every little flaw or quartz line tells a story and it is only expert craftspeople who know how to unlock it and let its inner beauty truly flourish. And that is why, at Salvatori we are fervent believers that the human factor makes the real difference when it comes to design.

The Salvatori approach blends technology, efficiency and innovative design with the know-how and passion of centuries-old artisanship.

A material such as natural stone, where every piece is different, requires the hands and eyes of those who know it inside out, and that is something a machine will never be able to replicate.

Our products are designed to bring not only elegance and aesthetics to the environments they grace, but also to impart something of the very special tradition and soul of stone.

If you are inspired by this philosophy, why not browse through our website and see if something in particular tugs at your heartstrings? Or just contact us, we will be pleased to dive with you into this colourful world.