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Good design lasts forever

01.2020

How does a simple design object become a classic? From the seemingly endless number of well-designed pieces that launch into the market each year, only a few will float up from the milieu to capture the spirit of a generation.

Think, first, of classics from the past. Take for example the Eames Lounge chair. Now, a ubiquitous element of tasteful homes across the globe, but when it was initially released it represented so much more than a nice-looking place to sit. Made primarily out of moulded plywood, the Eames had been developing the material and process for years as a way to mass-produce affordable furniture, thus democratising their ideas of what constitutes good design. But the first successful application was a far cry from fashionable loungers. Experimenting during the Second World War, the Eames landed on a way of constructing splints and stretchers for the American military from their lightweight, flexible wood. It was only from the investment and interest that followed that allowed the pair to evolve the process into the household furniture we know today. The chair eventually gained infamy for what it represented: it was in equal parts stylish and forward-thinking, a thesis on the Eames’ shared vision.

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Over half a century later, the issues designers are seeking to solve with their work are a world away from those the Eames faced. Sustainability, reuse and environmental preservation rightfully occupy the minds of the up-and-coming designers looking to make an everlasting mark on the crowded design landscape. To become a classic, a design piece must be greater than the sum of its parts and steer our society forward towards a brighter, more equitable future. Which is why Salvatori chooses to look beyond simple aesthetics when developing our products.

In an industry that offers designers what seems like a limitless choice of materials to work with, natural stone represents one of the most sustainable options available. As we wrote in our sustainability statement: “Hard-wearing and long-lasting – as evinced by the still-standing monuments of ancient civilisations – stone requires no chemical processing or extensive treatment. If you replant a quarry, if you leave the mountain as you found it, then the impact on the environment is minimal compared to the intensive and damaging production required for other materials.” Natural stone, though made from the earth, manages to make very little impact on it.

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The focus on sustainability also extends to the minor materials Salvatori works with. “When we collaborate with architects and designers,” says Salvatori CEO Gabriele Salvatori,” we have a list of materials that we ask that they avoid.” Industrial glues and plastics are among those banned, he explains, while designers are encouraged to use recycled glass, sustainable wood and non-toxic resin. “We are even experimenting with reusable and recyclable packaging, researching alternatives to polystyrene. Our goal for the new decade is to make Salvatori one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable design companies in the world.” Indeed, Gabriele’s efforts were acknowledged by the Italian President in 2013 when Salvatori received the Premio dei Premi for Lithoverde, the first material made entirely out of recycled stone.

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Designing with these values in mind inspires a similar ingenuity that led the Eames to create their iconic chair. Though the objects that will eventually become classics of this era won’t come sharply into focus for many years, at Salvatori we are confident that by holding forth our ideals of environmentalism and sustainability, our products will stand the test of time. Good design is more than just an elegant form or a pleasing colour, it’s a belief that seeks to make the world a better place. Count on it to stick around for years to come.