The new collection was designed for Margraf by architect, designer and artist Raffaello Galiotto, who told us how the project came about

Fragment is something that, in the collective imagination, has lost its entirety. A fragment (in Latin fragmentum, from frangere ‘to break’) is each of the pieces into which an object has broken, fragmented, or a small part that has become detached or has been taken away from an object. For Raffaello Galiotto fragment is the concept that tells the essence of his new collaboration with Margraf. Something that continues to exist despite everything. A project, without nostalgia for the past and with a great impetus towards the future, in which the designer attempts to probe the plasticity and the latest marble processing technologies.

The symbolic power of marble

Inspired by classical architecture, by the stone elements still visible today in archaeological sites, the ‘Frammenti’ collection was born from reflection on the symbolic power and perception of marble, a noble material, the legacy of a past of which evidence remains in the form of ruins. The collection develops around this concept, staging a composition of classical elements with an innovative visual aspect, oriented towards the astonishment of discovery rather than the melancholy and regret of ruins and vestiges erased by time.

An assemblage of fragments

Starting from the architecture of the classical world, Galiotto has designed three monolithic marble sculptures that are transformed into three design elements: the Corinthio column, the Palladio table and the Peloponneso seat, sculptural forms resulting from the assembly of fragments bound together by an elastic marble material, a soul that gives new life to these stone fragments.

Three marbles for three design elements

From the vast Margraf material library, the designer has selected three marbles (from Italy, Brazil and Vietnam) that give life to ‘new’ ruins of materials unknown in antiquity. The marble Fior di Pesco Carnico, with shades that fade from white to grey to light pink, goes to make up a table whose lines recall the lintels of classical portals. The seat is brought to life by the intensity of Polaris Gold quartzite, with its colour variations from yellow to green. Finally, the deep dark veins of Notre Dame marble give dynamism to the column which, resting on the ground, recalls the remains of classical elements of ancient architecture.

We asked Raffaello Galiotto to tell us about the genesis of the project.

What was the idea behind the Frammenti collection?

‘Frammenti’ was created to enhance contemporary marble processing and its link with classical tradition. Two apparently antithetical aspects, but well represented by a company with a long tradition such as Margraf. In the common imagination, or at least in my own, marble is inextricably linked to antiquity, to the remains of disappeared civilisations, to ruins, to cities such as Rome, Venice..., built with coloured marble from faraway places. The collection stems from this thought and elaborates it by using newly discovered marbles to produce works that interpret the classic style, but with a new concept, designed and processed with the most modern technologies.

Can you define your concept of a ‘fragment’, explain how a ‘new’ ruin is conceived and realised?

The history of marble is a history of fragments. It is so ever since the material detaches itself from the rock, in the form of a boulder or block. It is so again when the semi-finished product divides further and becomes a work or product. It is, in essence, a story of separations, and as we know, separations break ties, break apart parts, giving rise to new entities and new stories. The ‘Frammenti’ collection highlights these broken links, reuniting the parts, going backwards at the moment of detachment, to physically show the wake of conjunction between one fragment and the next, as if there were a fluid flowing out of the broken body. An elastic wake, but petrified forever.

‘Ruins’ and ‘remains’ of classical antiquity become contemporary design elements: how did you achieve this synthesis?

Mine is not a nostalgic or decadent gesture, rather a gesture of contemporaneity. It is so because it is a new narrative, which reconnects the fragments not according to anastylosis, i.e. the recomposition of the parts as they were and where they were, but creates new monolithic works in which it materialises the virtual links between the parts in the very act of detachment. Instantaneous rather than posthumous works that are the result of current and complex computer modelling, subsequently machined by numerically controlled machine and finally polished by hand.

The plasticity of marble and modern technology: how far does the hand of man go and where does the contribution of the machine begin?

I would say the opposite: where does the machine arrive and where does the hand of man intervene? Because even today in the stone industry, the machine is normally used for the more laborious roughing operations that used to be done manually. In reality, these numerical devices could bring artefacts to finishing, but with difficulties and costs that are perhaps not yet convenient compared to what can be done by hand. But the question is another, it must be understood that the machine acts differently and can achieve what the hand cannot and vice versa. Therefore, it is not a question of replacing human intervention with the robot, but of grasping the characteristics of this new expressive language that raises new questions about what can otherwise be achieved. In this way, marble could once again tell the story of the man of its time and pass it on to the future. Opportunity or not?