Italy has been a regular destination over the last couple of years. Carrara and Verona are the centres of the world’s marble trading and I’ve been taking clients there to choose stone. It’s been an inspiration and we have bought material that you can’t find either in London or anywhere in the world. It’s also been a learning curve.
Diaspro Di Sicilia, liquid and vibrant is the world’s most expensive marble and the Vatican is paved in it.
Lasers and C&C machines have made the incredible possible. Zaha Hadid’s furniture is made in a factory so clean, white and pristine that it is more Art Gallery than industrial.
The yards are vast, some so big that they give you bikes to get around, some have secret and underground show rooms, I saw ‘round the clock’ lasers cutting away blocks into buildings from the new Apple store in Chicago to a Saudi Mosque. It’s an exciting experience to share with clients and the results are coming through in our projects.
We under use and under appreciate marble in this country, polishing it to a vulgar level or just being too precious about it. Look at the pavements and floors in Italy over the centuries.
As a quick detour I took a drive up to the foot of the Alps to see Canova’s museum. I’m not a huge fan of the sculpture but his craft is fascinating to understand in stark contrast to the C&C machines. The new wing in shades of white and textured stucco walls designed by Carlo Scarpa is a jewel.