Working with stone throughout our history at GPI has made us familiar with the wide variety of marble applications in the design industry. Besides the translucent characteristics of some stones when sliced into thin sheets - giving us the ability to backlight - the creative manipulation of stone continues to surprise designers. Kjetil Thorsen, an architect at the Norwegian firm Snohetta, has created a project meant to show just how adaptable marble really is.
As part of a showcase entitled Mutable Spirit, Thorsen’s display The Antipodes of the Lithosphere was commissioned for an Italian stone company. The installation "expresses the versatility of marble through panels which are composed of an arrangement of stone cylinders stacked to form a wall". The alignment of these cylinders and their solid-void relationship allows for an obstructed view of the wall's opposing side and interesting light patterns. Texture and visual delicacy is given to the marble object that would traditionally be perceived as smooth and heavy.
The project was displayed in Italy at Marmomacc, an international trade fair for operators working in the marble sector. The event showcases various types of complex stone processing and is a venue in which to highlight the natural stone materials and its inherent characteristics and potential applications.
We are particularly drawn to this installation for its deep consideration of what the designer refers to as the “genetic code” within stone material. While the wall partitions constitute a large volume of space, evoking images of marble in its quarried block for, the mass is punctuated by peeks through the cylindrical forms.
By keeping the relatable form but executing with this unexpected detailing method, Thorsen draws a close tie to the roots of the marble formation and elevates the possibilities of fabrication. For these meaningful design moves, today we salute Kjetil Thorsen for her insightful marble design!