Among the Living
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Among the Living Olivia Martin Neutra , historically a bathroom design brand, is expanding into a furniture collection, Neos, with young, Italian-born designer Luca Martorano . With a focus on textures, the pieces incorporate stone applied in “sheets,” a technical concept that emphasizes stone's strength and beauty. The result is a minimal, graphic range available in a variety of material combinations. We check in with Luca Martorano to learn more about the collection: "I wanted to create a collection in which pure style can express the potential of Neutra’s high-quality materials." Olivia Martin: What inspired you for this collection? Luca Martorano: When I first approached the idea, I found that much of stone furniture has a very traditional or heavy, bulky look. So, my first intention was to do the exact opposite. The question was how to create a light and ethereal collection, where the volume of the furniture can be divided into single surfaces. I came up with the idea of front drawers made from stone but in a wood frame, which splits the shape and deconstructs its volume. How did you materials inform your design? Usually, the designer chooses the material according to how it suits his concept best. But in this case, since the company specializes in marble and wood productions, I’d say it was the other way round: the design idea comes out from the materials. Therefore, I tried to take advantage of the company’s experience with the CNC milling process, and enhance the tactile effect of the hand polished surfaces. If you look beyond the essential appearance of the collection, it is possible to catch many delicate details, which lend value to every single piece. The cut edges on the front drawers elude the perception of the stone’s real thickness, so they are perceived like thin pieces of paper. What types of marble and wood did you use? A wide range of stones such as: the lightly veined Carrera marble, which has been used and appreciated in Italy since Roman age; Pat Gray, a compact fine metamorphic stone with a gentle warm tint; Moon Stone, a pale white-beige sand sedimentary stone, mottled with small pearly luster grains and fossils fragments used by sculptors since Renaissance; and others, like Sinai, Silver stone, Namib, etc. These marbles are combined with wood carefully selected by Neutra like walnut, oak, and teak. Is the collection meant to all go together or be mixed with other pieces or both? Why? The collection obviously works very well together. A Neos piece, with its function and proportion, easily finds a formal link to the others, generating stylistic harmony. But it is also true that a single piece can have a dialogue with other shapes, other materials, or other colors. The home is getting more and more eclectic, where objects from different places and ages naturally co-exist. What’s interesting about Neos is the possibility to customize each piece, using the wide range of Neutra’s materials. Which piece is your favorite and why? Large collections usually have some very good pieces, as well as other, less good looking pieces… it’s sort of a compromise. Small pieces are often disadvantaged because of their reduced proportions. In the Neos collection I think that rationality and clean style have contributed to confer equal dignity to all pieces. So, if I really had to choose one piece, I’d choose the wall console—small but functional and elegant. Like the look of Neos? Check out one of Neutra’s new bathroom collections .