Number
3/2019

Anish Kapoor & G1938

The fame of Anish Kapoor is worldwide. The works of this British artist fill the rooms of major galleries and high-end museums, and are spread throughout famous public spaces, such as Millennium Park in Chicago, the Rockfeller Center in New York, Kensington Gardens in London, and the mansion of Versailles.
Kapoor’s approach combines the abstract with the senses, and poetry with fantasy, and maybe this is the secret of international success.

He treats sculpting materials – stone, metal, plastic and wax – as a constant source of surprise and amazement, and completely turns the image of the material itself on its head – what is heavy acquires lightness, and the opaque becomes luminous. An almost alchemical and magic dimension is bestowed on work techniques (the artist doesn’t shape the objects personally), working like a magician who knows all the secrets of transformation.

The work techniques in themselves become an integral part of the work, as they push to the limits.
This is the case with Marmi Ghirardi, the company that has understood how to turn the artist’s intuition into perfect objects for display. Everything transpired from the sketches and drafts sent to Carpenedolo, in the form of schematic designs that were little more than summary indications, but they already contained the key idea, the exact final objective. The harmony between Kapoor and the team at Marmi Ghirardi is implicit, almost automatic, because while there is the creative design on the one hand, on the other is the implementation and technological knowledge, resulting in the exact completeness of the ultimate form.

What are known as the mirrors and parabolas appear symbolic (but for the artist these works are nameless): blocks of absolute black Uruguay granite, which creatively contrast rough and refined, natural and artificial. On one side the power of the inorganic, primitive and mysterious texture can be perceived, and on the other the transformation created by the artist and obtained mechanically, in a sort of flip side of the coin where the stone is sparkling.

Grooves have been shaped with perfect skill, and look like abstract shapes, creating precious adornments in relation to the size and volume of the stone blocks. They allude to an idea of unfathomable depth, where the ‘darkness’ of the shaped surface paradoxically becomes luminous. Mirror images can be perceived in these concave discs and corrugated surfaces, where outer reality is captured in reflections. As such, the illusion is one of vortices that attract everything – black holes, as in space far away.

The colour black is almost an obsession for Anish Kapoor, especially absolute black (the artists owns the exclusive rights to Vantablack, a colour which completely absorbs light radiation). In the sculptures produced by Marmi Ghirardi, colour research has been turned into monumental objects, which are as poetic as they are close to the intrinsic beauty of the granite, and its evocative, primordial power.

Absolute black
Among the precious stone materials of greatest international success, Absolute Black stone has all the characteristics for successful use in architecture and furniture, with its uniform colour, even composition and hardness.
These are qualities produced from the geological formation, which is commonly defined as granitic but more specifically belongs to the ‘gabbro’ category i.e. intrusive holocrystalline magmatic rock, which differs from granite due to a lower concentration of silicates, at a percentage between 45% and 53%, and is therefore a basic rock. The extremely fine grain is the result of the very slow cooling and enormous pressures that the original magma experienced inside the earth’s crust.
Nameless object, Kapoor
Nameless object, Kapoor
Mandarin Hotel, Barcelona
Mandarin Hotel, Barcelona
Movenpick Hotel, Doha
Absolute Black stone is mainly sourced from quarries in Zimbabwe, India, South Africa and Uruguay.
Is produced from solid rock or random stone of considerable tonnage. The large quantities available make it possible to obtain volumes of material for use in large projects, especially in architectural design, and to cover significant outdoor and indoor surfaces of buildings, shopping centres, public buildings and museums, or private residences, including flooring and decorative features.

It is precisely the uniform colour of the material that enables multiple applications, as demonstrated not only by the work of architects and designers, but also the creations of artists and sculptors. The Absolute Black reveals an intimately flexible, almost classic, nature, while maintaining a primordial, exotic image – all elements typical of the crucible of Modernity. Deep, vibrant backgrounds, lighting effects and severe, minimalist aesthetics are enhanced even more by the work techniques – flame hardening, polishing and brushing. The result is an insightful range that enables the sleekness of the black granite to communicate with other materials, ranging from metal to wood, and natural products to industrial products. The Absolute Black provides the backdrop to furnishings and architectural detail. Similarly, the material appears enhanced when the artist’s hand expresses its symbolic and poetic dimension.

The uniform colour ensures that covered surfaces (for example slabs on ramps/staircases or wall sections) look cast into a set, backstage in the theatre of daily life. This aspect also adds prestige to everyday objects, such as kitchen worktops and built-in bathroom features. The quality is not only visual, it is even tactile, providing pleasure that increases in proportion to the amount of the skilled treatment a surface has received. Items become in themselves works of art – small monuments designed and produced with skill and expertise. Absolute Black stone has a dual characteristic, acting as a neutral backdrop while also standing out due to its indisputable intrinsic elegance.

The virtues of natural stone

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey USA

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Diocese of Paterson, NJ recently completed a $17 million USD renovation/restoration of the 150 year old building.

These images are a visual essay of a case study in stone procurement: cut-to-size as specified by the design and executive architect and pre-purchased by the Owner as a package for the General Contractor (GC) or Construction Manager (CM) bidding process. The GC or the CM would be provided with a set of Contract Document drawings and (especially setting) specifications, along with a set of approved shop drawings and sample submittals for competitive bidding of the installation.

Location

Paterson
New Jersey, USA

Architectural design

Arthur J. Sikula, AIA
New York, USA

 

Stone contractor

Ghirardi team
Italy

Materials
Bianco Venatino Gioia
Repen
Verde Alpi
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