Setsu and Shinobu Ito: marble is a hard material with a soft surface

Setsu and Shinobu Ito, two Japanese designers who have been living in Italy for a long time, talk about marble and its beauty. Their projects express all the features of marble: beauty, versatility, strength, flexibility. “Marble – they say – is an interesting material because it is hard but has a soft surface. However, it has a drawback, its weight, as marble is heavy and difficult to maneuver. When you decide to design with marble, therefore, you have to weigh up several aspects.”

Watch the video where Setsu and Shinobu Ito talk about marble


 

“In Japan, we have a great tradition of projects in paper, which, unlike marble, is light, but reveals surprising hardness. So, it is interesting to work with marble as you might work with paper, and to leverage the most interesting aspects of the materials.”

In 2019, at Marmomac, at the exhibition Lithic Garden, studio Ito presented the Stone Forest project. It was a marble garden with a fountain made of Bardiglio, Calacatta, Statuarietto and white Carrara marble. A blend of marble’s beauty and nature, surrounded by its natural element – water – and manufactured by Errebi Marmi.

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The Stone Forest, Marmomac 2019

Another interesting marble work by Setsu and Shinobu Ito is the Tide carpet, designed for the Carpet of Stone exhibition, at Marmomac 2015. A 2mm-thick slab of white Carrara marble was cut and decorated with a digital print. The end result was a 3D optical effect, reproducing the waves of the tide.

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Tide marble carpet, Marmomac 2015

Among Setsu and Shinobu Ito’s marble designs are also products, such as Kiri, a bar cabinet by Giorgetti. Kiri is an effective synthesis of the contrast between a warm material, such as wood, and a cold material, such as marble. The cabinet’s doors and exterior surfaces are made of Canaletto walnut vertical strips, with a carved marble top and cast bronze handles.

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Kiri bar cabinet designed by Setsu and Shinobu Ito for Giorgetti

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