Number 5
February 2020

Franco Ghirardi

From business to art – this is how Franco Ghirardi’s life in the world of marble could be summarised.

A passion for design transpired as an adolescent, but it was shelved when as a boy he followed in his Father’s footsteps in the business established in 1938.

Franco Ghirardi
Nowadays the octogenarian can fully indulge his creative calling by continually meandering between his beloved blocks of stone.
The outdoor area at Marmi Ghirardi is dominated by two large sculptures, which have been deliberately designed in relation to the modern image of the new premises and the surrounding landscape. The first is a large wheel in the form of a turbine, which has already been displayed in Verona in front of the arena. One of the blades has collapsed and the wheel is split – it is entitled Energia pulita (Clean Energy) and alludes to the force of water. On nearby grass there is a circle with eight boulders and a polished, central memorial, giving the impression of a primitive settlement, almost a ritual site. The courtyard leading to the work areas has a tree designed in Carrara marble.
Franco Ghirardi, Energia pulita
Clean Energy, 2014 / Breccia aurora chiara
Franco Ghirardi, Albero stilizzato
The stylised tree, 2017 / Carrara
On many occasions Franco Ghirardi has created installations that involve public areas, and it is in these that the power of his craft shines through. The stone, granite and marble speak of a primitive nature, and in the artistic expression of Franco Ghirardi this dialogue directly unites humankind to matter. This is not just a practical talent refined over years of skilled work – it is a poetic and lyrical vision. It can be perceived in the smallest pieces of work, in the sketches, and in the objects. The creative process follows a path that starts with the design and sketches, and proceeds to modelling and the final implementation.

Some projects require an academic or figurative model, while others are wholly personal creations – the exotic garden, the pages of an unpublished book, the pine cone. The hand of Franco Ghirardi passes from the damp clay to the search for plasticity. Sometimes it comes back to engage with the hardness and severity of stone. This has been the case with the most recent designs, including a silhouette of bushy trees which the sculptor has imagined as two-dimensional lace, or the parallelepipeds that pay homage to the stone carvings in the Camonica Valley.

The sculptures created by Franco Ghirardi seem to be timeless. Unconstrained by styles and fashions, they rest on the solid foundations of manual skill. The knowledge of technique and the experience acquired through contact with stone, granite and marble are transformed into stunning expression through the beauty of the materials themselves.

Franco Ghirardi, The pages of an unpublished book
The pages of an unpublished book, 2014 / Carrara
The Magnificence of Aurora
Among the most precious marbles, Breccia Aurora shows the refined class of its characteristics. The range of colours available and mechanical/physical qualities enables its use in creations with a strong visual impact and softly pleasurable ensembles, especially when designing indoor settings.
Breccia Aurora is suited to any type of process, be it polishing, brushing, sanding or cutting. As a result it is extremely versatile for use architecturally, ornamentally and artistically for wall coverings, flooring, ceilings, staircases, fireplaces, mosaics, fountains, monuments and pillars.
Sheraton Hotel, Muscat, Oman
Sheraton Hotel, Muscat, Oman
Sendayan Mosque, Malaysia
Sendayan Mosque, Malaysia
Emerald Hotel, Kosovo

Emerald Hotel, Kosovo

A long history is testimony to the use of Breccia Aurora in structures designed for the palaces of the aristocracy, corroborating the nature of lavish marble. Similarly, it is a source of inspiration for modern architecture – just think of the remarkable mirror polish effects or the elegance of open vein designs.
The background of the Breccia Aurora Classica model is warm with beige and straw-coloured tones, accentuating the veins and graduations that envelop the surface in a dancing weave. Breccia Aurora Classica has always been viewed as a comprehensive palette of colour, ranging from hazelnut to olive, and includes orange and brick red shades, hence the name Classica, which alludes to timeless beauty and Mediterranean inspiration.

The Breccia Marina Blu model is an exclusive version from Marmi Ghirardi and is mined from their own quarry. This marble features a grey and maroon background with blue-tinged veins. The eye can feast on a deep, dense background with attractive flecks that fit well in a stylish and contemporary interpretation. The marbling effect is almost picturesque, and can communicate with almost any other material, be it wood, metal or glass.

The rock is classed as metamorphic and is excavated in an area between Brescia and Lake Garda, which has a lithological structure that takes the name Corna and dates back to the Early Jurassic period. Marmi Ghirardi operates in the area with their own quarries, and is committed to an environmental recovery plan.

Detail that matters

Sheraton Hotel

Muscat, Oman

National Hotels Co. has commissioned the restyling of the Sheraton Hotel Muscat Oman, a project that involved all the public and hospitality areas of the hotel.

Breccia Marina Blue, Breccia Aurora Classica and Bs Beige, some of the most precious natural stones in the world, exclusive to Marmi Ghirardi, were used in the project providing full implementation of the projected concept.

One of the last renovations in the project, which certainly has a great aesthetic impact, is the design negotiation achieved in the Tea Library. The materials used for the Tea Library are the Calacatta Gold, Black Marquina together with Gold Leaf. The stone fabrication was entirely hand-made. The final result is an artistic mosaic with 23×23 mm tesserae, with application of Gold Leaf on a netted matrix.

Sheraton hotel
Sheraton hotel
Sheraton hotel
Sheraton hotel
Sheraton hotel
Sheraton hotel


Architectural design

London, UK


Stone contractor

Ghirardi team

Breccia Marina Blue
Breccia Aurora Classica
Bs Beige
Calacatta Gold
Black Marquina

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