Lithos Design has always looked at the world of education with great enthusiasm and interest. For this reason, the Company very warmly welcomed the invitation by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, and specifically by the Master’s Degree in Industrial Design, to contribute to the activities of its Product Design Laboratory dedicated to stone materials, and materially develop two students’ projects.
These prototypes, together with others realized by some of the main companies in the stone business, were collected and presented at the end of the course in the « Flexible Stone » exhibition, which took its name from the main subject of the course itself in academic year 2012-2013. The exhibit was displayed also at the 48th edition of Marmomacc, the most prestigious stone fair worldwide.
The new horizons now opening up to stone design impose to rethink the methodological and know-how principles that are needed for its development, first of all when forming the future designers. Consequently, the main goal of the laboratory and course called Flexible Stone was to provide its students with critical awareness and a specific knowledge about the use of such materials in contemporary design projects. One of the main means in order to reach this aim was to create an exchange of mutual benefit between students and companies operating in the stone business, a virtuous circle that may help both in their growth and professional training. The study route began by analyzing the petrographic, geological and merchandising peculiarities of the main Italian stones and marbles. At a second stage, different opportunities to establish a direct contact with these materials were arranged. This experiential path included a series of group visits to different companies belonging to the most relevant marble basins in the proximity of Ferrara and the Faculty. Later on, it turned into a phase of direct, perceptive experiences with several stone samples, that the students themselves processed in a specific training institute.
These preliminary steps made it possible to identify various product categories to focus on, in order to start up the design projects. These product types ranged from interior and exterior design elements to architectural features, from modular items and covering systems to everyday objects. The chosen themes, each one associated to one type of stone, allowed the students to investigate several problems regarding the characteristics of every single material, testing their compatibility with the relevant design job and possibly exploring new ways to exploit its aesthetic qualities. At the same time, the students were provided with the technical tools enabling them to transfer their projects to CNC machines, with a specific training in 3D design using Evolve software by Altair. Last, thanks to the companies cooperating with the Faculty the final step of this educational path was made and, through the prototyping phase, it was possible to verify the students’ ability to manage all the ergonomic, functional, technical and aesthetic aspects of their projects.
« It is our hope » said the teachers in charge of the course – « that this intensive learning experience triggers real interest and generates fruitful bonds between these two worlds – education and production – which need mutual feedback in a sector, that of stone materials, that is exceptionally rich in cultural and economic potential that has yet to be explored and revealed ».
THE PROTOTYPES BY LITHOS DESIGN
Heseeto, Hear See Touch
« The stone turns out to music. An innovative meeting which gives expression to the eternal uniqueness of marble: technology is combined with the elegance of classical antiquity. An exciter uses the marble as the membrane of a loudspeaker, amplifying the audio signal. Thus, stone acquires the ability to speak by creating wonder in the user« .
Lorenzo Salmi, Serena Saponaro, Eleonora Zanus, the students who designed the object.
« The idea of a bio-ethanol fireplace comes from the translucency that the material acquires if worked in thin thickness and approached to a light source. Thanks to this fuel the marble doesn’t tarnish and the user is allowed to enjoy a fire anywhere without a chimney. Easy workability enables to conceive a tridimensional shape, restoring valor and dignity to White Carrara Marble ».
Students Leonardo Gravili e Dario Bellintani.
Flexible Stone Faculty of Architecture, University of Ferrara. Master’s Degree in Industrial Design Product Design Laboratory I – A.Y. 2012-13. Teachers: Raffaello Galiotto, Vincenzo Pavan, Veronica Dal Buono, Davide Turrini
Article freely adapted from materialdesign.it by courtesy of the editors, read the original article. Pictures courtesy of Raffaello Galiotto Industrial Design – materialdesign.it – Ilaria Stella