The husband and wife team of Francesco Barberini and Nina Gunnel of Atelier Barberini & Gunnel have an ambitious and important mission. The mission comes in the form of a project called Pieruga. After spending time in Carrara, Italy and working on a specific sculpture, the duo quickly realized how much knowledge and skill of the ancient tradition was lost.
Marble is a natural material that is technically “an antique” and it is still used in everyday life. Pieruga creates accessories through an artisan process… bringing into play the ancient techniques that can be used with advanced technologies.
Pieruga hopes to bring awareness to the humungous amount of waste that occurs during the extraction and processing process. When using large blocks of marble, so much of the material is discarded and thrown away. The couple wants everyone to realize how unnecessary this is because marble pieces should not be useless… there are so many creative ways to turn the material into something other than waste. It would be such a shame for something that is 2,000 years old to be discarded as trash.
Items are numbered and come in small quantities; and everything is made in Italy. The artisans that work at Pieruga are all extremely skilled craftsmen. Thus, it is safe to say that each piece spends many hours under the hands of an expert sculptor.
Utilizing unused pieces, it is important to note that these are not necessarily small pieces. Pieruga objects are made of precious marbles and natural onyxes. Every single piece is different from another and possesses its own color tones and veining.
Since its founding in July 2019, the company has launched three distinct collections. The Artistic Collection is playful and colorful. It employs the team’s creativity and is unique in that it has inlays of colored marble and onyx, shiny surfaces, and fun transparencies. The Limited Edition Collection is a selection of the most exclusive pieces created by using the very best blocks of marble. Of course, all of these pieces are hand-sculpted. The Pure Collection is comprised of smaller pieces such as plates, bowls, and vases. These pieces come in a large assortment of colors: amber onyx, Statuary marble, white onyx, honey onyx, Azul Macaubas, pink Assisi, Pierta Grey, Calcutta marble, Pierta Brown, green onyx, and Marquina marble.
About the material, co-founder, architect, and designer Nina Gunnell said, “We believe that marble and stone are noble materials, not only for their extraordinary beauty but also for the attention they require. These materials don’t allow for mistakes. They’re a gift from the earth, meaning they’re limited.”