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Collaboration with designers is fundamental to good design

07.2020

Collaboration is a cornerstone of the Salvatori brand. The talent and ingenuity of our network of contemporary designers, coupled with Salvatori’s unparalleled knowledge of handling and finishing stone, has materialised into a stunning range of products that consistently push forward the possibilities of natural stone. “After years of designing textures and products in-house, I wanted to expand our vision — to see things from another perspective,” CEO Gabriele Salvatori explains of what initially led him to reach out to the design community; which, in doing so, transformed Salvatori from a natural stone producer into a leading lifestyle brand. Over the years, noteworthy designers and architects such as Piero Lissoni, John Pawson, Michael Anastassiades and many more have lent their inimitable design sense to Salvatori’s products. But collaboration is much more than just delivering a design file. To produce a noteworthy collection, a relationship is key.

'Seeing things from another perspective'

Take, for example, acclaimed British architect John Pawson, who has been working with Salvatori for over a decade, starting with the headline-making House of Stone project launched during the 2010 Salone del Mobile. In 2019 he released his latest collection for the brand, Ellipse, a minimalist range of tools and vessels for the kitchen. “John, a long-time collaborator, is revered for his simple, expressive architecture and the new Ellipse home collection perfectly demonstrates his famously rigorous approach,” Gabriele says of the collaboration with Pawson. “Most people don’t get to see the amount of care John puts into creating even the smallest object. When designing the collection, he spent countless hours perfecting each curve, manipulating the Bianco Carrara marble by a fraction of a millimetre at a time to find the exact, precise shape. No matter how long it took, we would not go into production until he was 100% satisfied with the design. Collaborating on this collection was a reconfirmation of how rewarding it is to work with John, a true master of his craft.”

These collaborations not only enrich the Salvatori brand and result in beautiful products, they also challenge designers to work in unfamiliar contexts – for example, using materials outside of their regular oeuvre. In light of Salvatori’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, Gabriele asks designers to create products that avoid substances detrimental to the environment: “no plastic, no rubber, no derivatives from oil, no bonding agents like epoxy resins — none of these things,” Gabriele says of the brief he shares with collaborators. “Play with wood, play with stone, play with metal. Natural materials make us very happy,” Gabriele adds.

While creating beautiful, long-lasting products and meeting sustainable goals are the foundation of Salvatori’s vision, there is also much to be said about the power of friendship within a collaboration. Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni’s relationship with Salvatori stretches back almost twenty years. “You know when you have an idea and it seems a bit crazy — so you call your even crazier friend? This is what happens to me when I call Piero to propose things to him,” Gabriele describes of their longstanding friendship, which has produced countless collaborations over the years, including 2019’s Lost Stone collection, a texture which we first used for a series of bistrot tables created using remnants of historic stone. “Instead of counterbalancing your madness, he throws fuel on the fire. But I also have to say that I do the same every time he calls me with equally far-out ideas. Ours is first of all friendship and then a working relationship.”