Furnishings and finishings by Elena Salmistraro.
Elena Salmistraro – who took part in Marmomac 2018 with Marea, the project that won the Icon Award destined to be at the heart of the communication campaign for the 2019 edition of the event in Verona – continues her dialogue with natural stone by presenting a capsule collection of finishing and furnishing elements produced by the Lithea company based in Sicily.
Two tables, a dressing table and three wall coverings: these are the items making up “Bisanzio”, the collection with evocative names (Maniace and Calafato, Teodora, Byzas, Hagia and Sikelia) that takes inspiration from the Byzantine historic period in Sicily and its decorative opulence re-interpreted in a contemporary key. Elena Salmistraro is certainly not new to such a decorative approach to natural stone, combined here with gemstones, metal and mirrors to configure a highly characteristic creative language. The supports for the overlapping tops of the small tables are embellished by grafting tesserae in marble and semi-precious stones, set into a gilded metal frame, while the dressing table – on object specifically intended for female beauty care – has three mirrors resembling decorated fans standing on stone legs. Yet the finishings embody the perfect blend of Elena Salmistraro’s decorative spirit inspired by mosaics and her sensitivity: the geometric shapes and patterns are ideal for such interior applications, rather like elegant, three-dimensional wallpaper enhancing the natural beauty of the materials.
Founded in 2008 with strong roots in its homeland in Sicily, Lithea came into being with the intention of transferring ancient knowledge of stone material processing into an innovative design concept thanks to the use of sophisticated production processes and advanced technologies. Natural stone is Lithea’s elective material, from lava stone to pitch stone, from black Portoro to Carrara white marble, from Comiso stone to Tunis grey: a collection of fine materials boasting history going back thousands of years modulated in textures of refined expression thanks to ceaseless research and development.
Run-up to Marmomac 2019
At the end of February, a meeting promoted by Marmomac was the opportunity for professionals to meet Elena Salmistraro in person. Conversing with Raffaello Galiotto, the curator together with Vincenzo Pavan of The Italian Stone Theatre, the Milanese designer recalled her professional career from the outset through the occasions that, combining art and illustration, helped her mature her own, original approach to product design. Moving from papier-mâché to ceramics and from wood to glass, encountering natural stone material promoted a comparison between strong personalities, with the challenge of overwriting their identity linked to the present on to a substratum replete with ideas deriving from the past. Modern technologies, starting from 3D digital modelling, are the control tool making it possible to move from the idea to the work, yet the starting point for Elena Salmistraro is always drawing by hand and her own inseparable tool: pencils.
Project: Elena Salmistraro
Images: Nino Bartuccio