Naturality: this is the theme of the fifth edition of The Italian Stone Theatre, during Marmomac in Verona, from 25 to 28 September. We asked Raffaello Galiotto, curator of Pavilion 1 with Vincenzo Pavan, to talk about the exhibition-event for 2019

What are the main new developments for The Italian Stone Theatre at Marmomac 2019??
The main novelty is the theme: Naturality. All the works set out to narrate the natural qualities of stone: we will see creations by various designers with different sensibilities, who will interpret the theme to reach a final objective.

Naturality: what does it mean, and how is the term being used?
The new development is to seek (through design, architecture and art) the intrinsic force of natural stone, making human creativity interact with nature, which stages extraordinary dynamics as it gives rise to a material like stone, surprising in its colors, forms and compositions. The installation will adapt to the narrative, with a sort of allusive green setting that conveys the message: in the entrance zone there will be a large hedge-meadow, 1.2 meters high, with tufts of grass and avenues visitors will follow to enter the exhibits. You enter nature and discover stone materials.

How will Pavilion 1 be organized, with its architecture and design installations, and its artistic itineraries?
There will be no finished products or experiments that have already been seen, but only original processes created specifically for the event. A multidisciplinary, multi-thematic exhibition: a multiplicity of interpretations approaching the theme of industrial design as a potentially mass-produced approach, along with architecture and art as experimentation. There will also be a Signature Restaurant and Wine Bar. Finally, the forum area and a lounge are part of the overall installation made in collaboration with AIAPP - Associazione Italiana di Architettura del Paesaggio. This is the first year AIAPP is taking part, precisely due to the motif of naturality expressed through green itineraries.

Architecture, design, art, food. All we need is fashion to round out the mixture…
It’s true, only fashion is missing. But it is not excluded. This is a design area where stone can play a role. There have been experiments with eyewear and jewelry. We might be able to widen things in that direction. Fashion could become a vehicle of communication and application of stone materials. It would be an interesting challenge, that can be met today more than in the past. Technology permits it, because stone can now be crafted in precise ways, down to the smallest details.

Companies, designers, avant-garde technology: a complex mixture. What is the secret to cope with different protagonists, to create an ideal alchemy and achieve quality results?
There are various factors. A fair that works, a pavilion like “The Italian Stone Theatre” that becomes an attraction. For companies, designers and other creative talents, taking part is important. Being there is useful in terms of visibility and experimentation, which would otherwise not be possible. The companies gather around projects, collaborating with enthusiasm, and with important economic investments. An alchemy that also comes from the unique character of this event on an international level. The difficulties are ironed out by the extraordinary nature of the event, behind which lies a long, complex effort of interaction with companies and the choice of designers. You have to accept the challenge and do your best to respond to it. This is a ‘miracle’ in a sector where it is very hard to develop a system. For an opportunity like this one, though, the barriers vanish.

The Italian Stone Theatre has now reached its 5th iteration: can we take stock of the past and look to the future?
The overall results have been positive. There are only a few negative aspects: perhaps we initially proposed excessive investments on the part of the companies, so over the years some of them have shifted their interest elsewhere. So now we are working on balancing the economic commitment of each company, so that it can be renewed over time. On the positive side, the response of visitors, the increase in the number of companies taking part, the fair that was hesitant at first but now considers this to be a sign of excellence. For the future, I hope there will be more openness to experimentation, and more willingness to cooperate amongst companies. Above all, I hope for greater internationalization: at the moment, the producers are only Italian. I would like the dimension to become more global. The Italian Stone Theatre would remain, but we could also create other areas with an international focus, shedding light on the Italian technology whose utilization is widespread on a worldwide level.