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Culture

A history of a quarry, a family and carrara marble

November 10, 2018

The Cinderella table comes from an edition of 6 made for Carpenters Workshop Gallery (in 2008). The white Carrara marble table was Jeroen Verhoeven’s graduation project from Design Academy Eindhoven. This extremely important piece is a beautiful example of how technology help facilitating creating something truly amazing.

Image courtesy of: Artlinked

The Vanelli family has owned a quarry in Carrara, Italy for two centuries. For the past 200 years, it’s a family business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Currently at the helm is Gualtiero Vanelli who inherited the business from his grandmother in 2001. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Vanilla was intent on change people’s view about marble. He founded two companies which are now in charge of producing special, usually large, marble projects with robotics technology.

Artists are commissioned to build their own designs; something that quickly caught on after Design Miami/Basel in 2008. It was in Switzerland that Brad Pitt paid $225,000 for a marble version of the Cinderella table, designed by Jeroen Verhoeven. The Dutch artist used manufactured marble by GVM, one of the two companies founded by Vanelli. The flat top sits elegantly, yet entirely effortlessly on intricate swirling curves that trail down to create semi-hollow legs. This is precisely the table you’d expect to see in a fairy-tale castle!

Who knows what might have been created if the minds of Michelangelo and his peers had advanced technology at their disposal.

Image courtesy of: Marmi Rossi

The glory of Carrara’s shining, striking, white marble goes back many generations. Michelangelo’s “David”, Rome’s Pantheon and the Temple of Antonius and Fastina are all made from Carrara marble. Growing up near the Carrara region of Italy, these artists didn’t have to travel far to get this beloved material. Very hard to work with… the integration of software and robots to marble will make it more accessible, and not just for the top-tier artists!

Fiammata Vanelli stands in front of a collection of Fiammetta V. products.

Image courtesy of: Fiammetta V.

There’s another Vanelli worth noting… Fiammetta Vanelli, Gualtiero’s sister, created Fiammetta V., a home-goods producer which beautifully reestablishes the high reputation of Carrara in everyday objects. The trays have are laser-cut-lace edges and the chopping boards are inset with strips of magnificently grained wood. The company has been around since 2014 and is just beginning to scratch the surface of what can be manufactured.

Not busy enough… apparently, Fiammetta established Statuary Arte alongside her brother, Guiltier. This artist “lab” in Lucca is a place where artists can freely experiment with the marble. No doubt many will just at the chance to work with the Carrara which was probably sourced in the same quarry as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo marble.

Bar cabinet in black port, Laurent marble, wood, and solid brass. Width: 44″, depth: 16″, and height: 64″.

Image courtesy of: Pamono

Collaborating further, last year Vanelli asked her closest family friend, Massimilano Giornetti to design for Fiammetta V. Having recently worked as creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo (until he took the same position with Shanghai Tang), Giornetti was just the person for the task of designing limited-edition works for this high-end collection.

This “Dionisio” bar cabinet is made from Paonazzo marble. Made of a cherry wood structure, doors have an inner back-piece, mirrored glass shelves, back lighting and a sub-structure with details in solid brass. Part of 2017’s “Capsule” collection, this is an amazing piece of art!

Zona 67, the Vanelli family quarry.

Image courtesy of: 1st dibs

In 1818, Duchess Maria Beatrice d’Este granted the Vanelli family the right to excavate the Carrara region’s white marble. For many, many years, Vanelli quarries have been marble sources for public works, buildings, and sculptures throughout Europe and the world.

The generation current at the helm of the “commercial” side of the quarried marble have every intention of taking the raw material and using new, cutting-edge technology to showcase the softer side of this solid stone. Usually seen as a masculine material, some of the newly designed products feature a beautiful feminine sensibility.

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