Stefano Boeri's reflection on natural stone starts from an iconic presence of his city: the Duomo of Milan. The architect and urban planner traces the very long history of its construction, talking about the almost obligatory choice of Candoglio marble for such an important and symbolic architecture. The iridescent white of the Duomo, which modulates its shades according to the light, is the peculiarity of the marble from the Ossola Valley, which for centuries was brought to Milan along the Ticino and then through the Navigli to the Darsena. A journey that undeniably speaks of the importance of the material, a fundamental element of the architecture of the Duomo. From here Boeri's thought expands, reflects on the use of stone in all Italian architecture, and on the numerous varieties of authentic raw materials: from Botticino marble to Carrara marble, from Apulian limestone to Sardinian basalt, up to granite .
Stefano Boeri's is just one of the voices of architects and designers who have joined the campaign in recent months in support of the objectives of PNA (Pietra Naturale Autentica). The network brings together the companies that dig and process natural stones and has as its sole objective the dissemination of information on the qualities and real potential of authentic stones. PNA's slogan is No Fakes, Natural Stone Is Better. An invitation to deepen the culture of materials, to discover their importance in an ethical and sustainable approach to contemporary design and its emerging themes. In this context, Stefano Boeri recalls the work for the Casa del mare on the island of La Maddalena in Sardinia and for the Matera railway station. For the Casa del Mare, the combination of different natural stones, local and non-local, prevailed, worked in thin slabs to simplify maintenance operations. But the result is also surprising from an aesthetic point of view due to the variety of textures and colors of the surfaces. Even more fascinating is the Matera station, a project in which limestone, integrated with steel, made it possible to create an underground construction that mentions the local primitive architecture.
The voice of Boeri is flanked by that of Setsu Ito, who a few years ago created an installation entitled Stone Forest for Marmomac. Its link with natural materials is strongly influenced by Japanese roots. Ito speaks of stone as a vehicle of life, a strong and expressive presence capable of dialoguing with all the other elements and of relaunching not only the aesthetic but also the symbolic aspect of the project. Building with living materials gives a different meaning to the concept of living. And knowing the qualities of these materials, also thanks to the collaboration with those who dig and work them, means knowing how to master every part of the project with competence.
Marco Piva's words, on the other hand, underline the uniqueness of each slab and each block of stone. The veins, the shades are always different. Those who know well the quarries and the excavation profession can guide the cut and get the maximum aesthetic expression from each stone. And he works alongside the architect and the designer to find the stones that best respond to the designer's idea. The human presence is typical of manual work that revolves around the extraction and accompanies the construction of buildings or objects in every part of the process, from conception to the finished project. To the professional competence of the architect is added the value of the relationship, of the comparison with the stone experts. A relationship that makes the project more alive and capable of communicating universal and recognizable qualities over time.