In search of the perfect circle. The ancient architectural figure of the arch consisting of elements laid dry, inherited from the Roman Empire, is doubled for the very first time, to form a circle.

A great circle made of dry-laid hewn stones, each one weighing 5 quintals. A cutting-edge architectural-engineering project, amazing for its grandness and for the almost surreal feeling it arises at the sight of its suspended stones, which are bound together and create a self-supporting structure only through compression.

STONE GATE, a piece of work designed by Raffaello Galiotto and presented by Lithos Design for the first time at the 100% Gravity exhibition (during Marmomacc 2012 fair), is the result of a design project entailing an important engineering study, to create the perfect figure.

STONE GATE circle is enchanting and fascinating. Indeed, one moves through a captivating large ring made of natural stone (h. 3.80 m, depth 1.20 m, with a total weight of 27.300 kg) which can be crossed and walked on, designed according to its weight.

It is a creation that the public can really experience, as one can cross it, walk on it, stop by it. One can live it, try it out, listen to one own’s voice amplified within its diameter.

It is a magnetic circle that raises the primitive human instinct before huge-sized works, that is, the impulse to measure oneself, to feel hopelessly small. These sensations are further increased by stone, the essence of natural elements, whose role is played in this case by the Bardiglio Nuvolato marble from Carrara.

Indeed, STONE GATE often induces visitors to instinctively stretch their arms wide open, as if to measure themselves against the majesty of this object. They thus become sort of Vitruvian Men, comparing human proportions, so perfect according to the will of Nature, with the perfect proportions of this large stone circle, as the circle is the archetypal symbol of the most perfect formal harmony. As a matter of fact, Leonardo himself with his most popular drawing restated how mathematics underlies any form of art aimed to reproduce the perfect beauty of nature, in the same way in which today it underlies the most cutting-edge industrial technologies to produce modular, repeatable, usable design. Thus it is no wonder if this association of ideas between this stone circle and Leonardo’s sketch came unconsciously to the mind of many beholders. This unexpected experiential dimension of STONE GATE almost puts this design work on a level very close to that of contemporary art.

With this project, inspired by the intriguing subject of the 100% Gravity exhibition – where designers and companies were asked to measure themselves with natural stone gravity in unprecedented ways –, Lithos Design experiments with and advances marble in new worlds and ways and, in line with the corporate philosophy, it further raises the bar of its know-how. This is the true secret lying also behind the company’s products, which show higher and higher levels of innovation with the issue of every new collection.

STONE GATE is an all-Italian initiative, from conception to design planning, throughout every step of the production process. The company carried out in-depth studies dedicated to the idea and to its production and it also relied on major engineering partnerships to guarantee the statics and safety of the structure.

Technical information

STONE GATE is 3,80 m high and 1,20 m deep, and is designed with a system of 20 modular hewn stones laid dry, combined in a structure that becomes self-supporting thanks to the state of compression given by the post-tensioning of the steel cables circling it and embedded in it. Every hewn stone weighs 500 kg, the total weight is then 27.300 kg and the total volume 6,5 cbm.

The chosen material is Bardiglio nuvolato marble, a compact lithotype of a dark grey colour with thin white-grey veins, which is particularly appreciated for artistic, architectural and urban design applications. The styling and technological know-how of Lithos Design is evident in the exterior surface of the work: indeed, the modules are finely decorated on one side with an ornamental 3-D texture designed specifically, to ensure perfect styling appeal from a formal perspective, with a strong scenic impact.

Concept & Designer
Raffaello Galiotto

Alessandro Serafini

Partner of the installation: Staminal Stone


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