THE MARBLE LABORATORY MARBLE “... my fascination for marble started in Massa Carrara where i used to go regularly for Olivetti Synthesis. It was there that I got to know the artisans who quarry and work probably the most extraordinary marble in the world. Massa Carrara is unusual in relation to other quarries because apart from mining marble, it is also the biggest marble market worldwide where even marble types no longer quarried are to be found. With Memphis, Ettore Sottsass and myself were the first to explore this unusual material, so far removed from the other Memphis projects. The first designs were made of one marble type only and then we started to design objects composed of different coloured marbles with different surfaces: my vase Sholapur for example is in fact made of nine different marble types three of which are no longer quarried…” With Memphis at an end, Michele De Lucchi sought marble compositions of a more classical beauty, also to give value to a material, already elegant in itself. He was in combining refined, polished marbles with untreated and humble stones. At Signor Bertucelli’s artisan store, one could select an infinite quantity of marble types and three vases were made with Black Marquinia, White Carrara and “pietra dorata”. The techniques are those traditional still used today, of turning the marble by hand. The marble pieces are also joined by joints in the traditional way and then fixed with an adhesive material. Mario Rossi Scola and Elisa Gargan undertook, with great enthusiasm and patience, all the necessary research and devolopment continuing rapport with the artisans of this laboratory. Six copies of each vase were made. They are no longer available. “...I would like very much to experiment further and make other objects with this exceptional material which is not widely used in contemporary design. Although resistant with the passage of time, marble has a limited usage quality as its polish disappears quickly it tends to become opaque when in contact with water. The price of marble and the cost of working with it also limit the possibilities for experimentation…”.