Stone as furnishing: The works of Angelo Mangiarotti on display
September 24, 2010
Over the past few years, the CarraraMarmotec stone trade fair has developed a range of cultural initiatives that connect the event to the architectural community as well as the history of the region’s famed White Carrara marble. At the most recent edition of CarraraMarmotec, this included a display of the works of Angelo Mangiarotti, who has gained international renown for his work in architecutre, design and sculpture - including a unique collection of stone furnishings.
The exhibition was organized by Il Sole 24 ORE Cultura in conjunction with CarraraFiere, and included over 100 pieces by Mangiarotti, who has always worked closely with Carrara and marble. Over the years, the Milan-based designer worked with some of the leading companies in the Carrara region to work the local marble in ways that had not been seen before. This contributed to the creation of prototypes that have almost always turned into serial productions.
“It was a project that we took on with great pleasure together with Sole 24 ORE Cultura, since our company worked for many years with Mangiarotti who belongs to that generation of Italian architects that have contributed to the creation and dissemination of a certain approach to objects of design that in the seventies was identified with the term ‘Made in Italy,’ “ said Paris Mozzanti, CarraraFiere’s General Manager. “It is certainly not by chance that Mangiarotti designed the building that houses our offices, considered a work of great value in modern architecture for its innovative use of marble. Back in 1999, the town of Carrara organized an exhibition of his marble sculpture, examples of which are now placed around the town, and this is probably the best way to highlight the relationship between marble, design and great architecture.”
For the CarraraFiere offices, Mangiarotti used White Carrara marble to create small “vaults” spanning 16.4 feet in size. For these pieces, the marble was cut with diamond wire technology to obtain the individual pieces without wasting any material - since the internal sides of one piece match the outside of the next. To “stage” the building, the base is made from gray Cardoso stone.
In addition to designing CarraraFiere’s offices, Mangiarotti’s “Sky Cone” (Cono Cielo), was placed at the entrance to the CarraraFiere exhibition center, and it has been described as “the synthesis of an extensive knowledge of the material and the potential of technology applied to quality processing.” For this project, 11 cone-shaped, hollow pieces were made out of individual blocks of marble that were shaped using computerized machinery in the Carrara region. The pieces were placed on top of one another and harnessed by a pre-compression cable inserted between the base and the top of the cone.
Meanwhile, the fairgrounds house a 5,000-square-foot exhibition of Mangiarotti’s objects of design, selected together with his daughter Anna. They included a range of furnishings that showcase the architect’s skill at producing natural forms that express unity between matter and form. Included were several examples of his “Eros” tables in White Carrara marble, which feature a gravity joint.
Born in Milan in 1921, Mangiarotti graduated from the architecture program at Milan Polytechnic in 1948, and from 1953 to 1954, he worked as an architect in the U.S. During his American period, Mangiarotti met Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Konrad Wachsmann, which was formative for his personal and professional growth. After two years in the U.S., Mangiarotti went back to Italy, and he opened his architectural firm in Milan, partnering with Bruno Morassutti until 1960.
Studio Mangiarotti remains active in Milan, and this year, the Department of Science and Technology at Milan Polytechnic announced the first edition of the “Mangiarotti Foundation Prize” for innovative construction systems.