For this year’s edition of Milan Design Week, Ellen van Loon and Giulio Margheri have designed an installation commissioned by SolidNature taking place in the basement and garden of the neo- Romanesque Casa Maveri in the Brera District.
Loon and Margheri designed the installation as an “immersive dreamscape”, featuring formations of quarried stone that are arranged to inspire visitors to “dream and push the limits of creativity”.
The base of the exhibition space features a sequence of rooms which illustrates the process of formation and processing of natural stone. In collaboration with different invited designers, the garden showcases their individual take on processing natural stone into objects.
The journey begins with a grand staircase that leads visitors to the underground level. At the bottom of the staircase is a corridor lined with translucent onyx slabs, meant to symbolize the compression of stone and “the narrow focus of our daily lives.”
The corridor is followed by a room filled with cubic monoliths of marble, granite, onyx, and travertine suspended from the ceiling.
A room lined from floor to ceiling with pink onyx showcases the material in different stages of finish, including rough, fluted, hammered, and polished stone.
The space, called the Hall of Revelations, is designed to represent the beginning of dreams and encourage visitors to contemplate the possibilities of their imaginations. Beyond two revolving onyx walls is a room wrapped in green marble with vignettes lining the walls meant to represent dreams coming true.
The endpoint of Beyond The Surface is the garden, decorated with a sculptural stone table and bar by Sabine Marcelis, a grandstand, and stage designed by Dutch-Italian duo Studio Ossidiana, and functional sculptures by Iranian artist Bita Fayaazi.
“This year’s exhibition is about nature’s power; it gives an impression of the processes of compression and solidification that led to the formation of natural stone as we know it today,” says Ellen van Loon, Partner of OMA.
“The installation gives a taste of the different potential treatments, applications, and approaches of designing with natural stone,” adds Giulio Margheri, Associate of OMA.
Time was a central narrative when creating the installation, according to the CEO of SolidNature, David Mahyari who says, “We are excited to be working with Ellen and Giulio again for the second installation of our presence in Milan, and to continue to develop our longstanding relationship with OMA.”
Beyond the Surface follows on from Monumental Wonders, SolidNature’s first installation designed by OMA, which took place at Alcova during Milan Design Week 2022.