“Innovation is at the heart of Salvatori” proclaims CEO Gabriele Salvatori when asked how the company evolved from a simple stone company to an international design brand, “it’s in our DNA.” Since taking over the family company from his father decades ago, Gabriele Salvatori has overseen enormous growth and considers innovation as the secret to his successful brand. From developing new textures to exploring industry-first sustainable practices, Salvatori is always one step ahead.
Gabriele Salvatori, photo Veronica Gaido
These days, innovation has revolved around the implementation of sustainable practices within the company, which Gabriele has spearheaded for over a decade. “In 2008, I started to think that we were producing beautiful products, but that we were also producing a tremendous amount of waste. We began to develop more sustainable practices within our workshop. I started to develop new ways to reuse the scrap material we would produce. And that’s how we started producing Lithoverde "
“We took all of the broken pieces that had cast off from the production process and pieces them together like a Mondrian painting,” Gabriele explains of the development of the innovative material, which has been awarded for its commitment to sustainability. “We didn’t want to use epoxy resin because that’s harmful to the environment, so we did our research and found a soy-based resin, which worked perfectly. We launched the product in 2010 with John Pawson at the Salone del Mobile. The project, House of Stone, became a defining event for our brand, introducing us to the world. Now, it’s a trend to be environmentally conscious, but at that time, this was something new within this industry.”
Another example of reuse of wasted materials is the “Lost Stones” texture designed by Piero Lissoni, who took forgotten, unloved natural stone and breathes new life into it through the adaptation of the Japanese technique of Kintsugi, which essentially uses a type of golden adhesive to glue fragments of ceramic together. Transferring this approach to stone, the result is a material where every single piece made from it is truly unique.
“And then he says ‘We’ll call them Lost Stones!’. I have to smile.” - Tells Gabriele “And so then we started looking for stone in every conceivable scrapyard. We found remnants of the same stone used by Mies van der Rohe for his Barcelona Pavilion, some blocks of the marble used for the Notre Dame cathedral and a few slabs of another marble used for St Peter’s basilica in Rome in the 16th century. So once these pieces are finished, there is no more which means you are taking home a piece of history. And that, for me, is pure poetry.”
While a focus on sustainability has only captured the imagination of the design industry in the past decade, an innovative attitude, according to Gabriele, is hereditary. “My father’s greatest quality has always been his willingness to challenge every single thing, every single process, every single product. That has always been at the root of our brand.” – Gabriele Salvatori.
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