OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams

OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams

Beyond the Surface with OMA and Solidnature

 

SolidNature returns to Milan Design Week 2023 with a wonderland exhibition designed by Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri of OMA brushing against installations by Sabine Marcelis, Studio Ossidiana, Bita Fayyazi, and Ward Strootman. ‘Beyond The Surface’ takes up temporary residence at Spazio Cernaia in the heart of Brera from April 17th to 23rd, 2023 and casts a portal for visitors to jump into a parallel universe where the formation and quarrying of stone are bounded by the process of dreaming.

 

Just as the creation and working of stone require time, skill, and effort, the same applies to achieving dreams. SolidNature’s goal is to inspire and motivate visitors to dream and push the limits of creativity. ‘This year’s exhibition is about nature’s power; it gives an impression of the processes of compression and solidification that led to the formation of natural stone as we know it today,’ says Van Loon.

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images courtesy of SolidNature and OMA | photos by Marco Cappelletti (unless stated)

 

 

Collective artistry rising in Brera

 

OMA steps into the role of a curator for the site’s garden. OMA and its team collaborated with SolidNature to choose the designers based on how they can wield and demonstrate the untapped potential treatments, uses, and methods of natural stone design. This is where Sabine Marcelis, Bita Fayyazi, Studio Ossidiana, and Ward Strootman come in. The congregation of their wealth of knowledge in a spectrum of design fields culminates in a collective creation of a dreamscape in SolidNature’s temporary home for the design week.

 

In this year’s installation, Marcelis designs a table and bar whose functions focus on the feet below and presentation volumes above the surface. ‘With the surface being merely a transparent point of connection. The feet below and volumes above are made from different shades of travertine and the surface is from my signature color-treated glass, connecting the colors of the travertine. To build out the narrative I invited Laila Gohar to work with me on activating what will happen above the surface of the table,’ says Marcelis.

OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams

 

 

In contrast with Sabine’s geometric lines of the table and bar, Bita Fayyazi weaves a seating inspired by the social and political history, literature, and poetry of her Iranian roots. This is the first time Bita has worked with natural stone, saying that ‘I am so fond of and drawn to stones that at some stage in my own work I had started using “marble effect” in my resin sculptures. Because of its inherent beauty, it is a delightful material for making sculptures.’

 

The garden unfolds as a tribune and stage designed by Italian/Dutch duo Studio Ossidiana. They reimagine the space as a ‘piccolo teatro’  inspired by Elizabethan theaters as well as the surreal landscapes of quarries. At the center of the tribune, a gravel-filled courtyard carves a place for performances, lectures, and dances during the week.

 

Within the space the visitor will also come across a sculptural art piece made of semi-precious stone designed by third-generation Dutch jeweler, Ward Strootman, showcasing that stone can be appreciated in its monolithic forms as well as in smaller curated items.

OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams

 

 

Designing with natural stone

 

The neo-Romanesque Casa Maveri’s basement and garden is home to SolidNature and OMA’s Beyond the Surface. Visitors descend a stairway constructed of variously colored samples of the same stone after entering a volume of sky-blue onyx. Here, visitors will find a number of chambers that reinvent the production and processing of marble and provide them with a sensorial experience.

 

The several settings in the basement provide clear analogies between the creation and quarrying of stone and the dreaming process. The garden’s furnishings – including a bar, a tribune, a table and chairs, an artwork, and a lounge – serve as the backdrop for the many events held during the week. ‘The installation gives a taste of different potential treatments, applications, and approaches of designing with natural stone,’ says Margheri.

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OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams

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OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams
Dining Table by Sabine Marcelis

OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams
Dining Table by Sabine Marcelis

dining table by Sabine Marcelis
Seating sculptures by Bita Fayyazi

OMA and solidnature cast a wondrous portal into the natural formation of stones and dreams
Seating sculptures by Bita Fayyazi 

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Beyond the Surface. photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy OMA
Beyond the Surface. photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy OMA
Beyond the Surface. photo by OMA
Beyond the Surface. photo by OMA
Beyond the Surface. photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy OMA
Beyond the Surface. photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy OMA
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project info:

 

name: Beyond the Surface

stone: SolidNature

curation: Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri / OMA

artists and designers: Sabine Marcelis, Studio Ossidiana, Bita Fayyazi, and Ward Strootman

dates: April 17th to 23rd, 2023

location: Via Cernaia, 1 in Milan

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