Studio Formart: The Perfect Marriage of Craft and Food
Join us in celebrating the beautiful objects that are created in Studio Formart’s busy workshop, and are whimsically displayed in their charming restaurant in Carrara.
On the northern Italian coast of the Mediterranean sits the world-renowned marble center, Carrara. As you gaze towards the foothills above the ocean you see large cutaways of white which represent centuries of mining of this coveted stone. It is here at the corner of via Ulivi and piazza Alberica in Carrara, that sits a small restaurant called Cibart, founded by twin brothers Andrea and Simone Dell’Amico, experienced ceramists and marble sculptors. In the breathtaking, ancient square, the seating area in front of the restaurant is furnished with lavish slabs of colored marble functioning as benches for the patrons. Inside Cibart, many other artifacts of marble or ceramics are on display, making the restaurant a de facto gallery for the prolific brothers. Artemest interviewed the twins and visited both their generously proportioned, messy and lived-in workshop, as well as the delightful Cibart.
ARTEMEST: Could you tell us how you and your brother got started with marble, and tell us about your workshop?
ANDREA DELL’AMICO: My brother and I produce artifacts in ceramics and marble every day in this very workshop. We both attended the Accademia delle Belle Arti here in Carrara and the school for marble sculptors. Initially, however, we were drawn to terracotta and then to ceramics, and for many years that was our main focus. We made home wares, primarily. But living in Carrara, we could not escape the allure of marble, which is such a foundational element of our culture. So we started to make objects for both interiors and exteriors.
A: Tell us about the restaurant, Cibart. How did that come into play, and in what way is it connected to the other work you do?
ADA: 2008 saw the birth of an entirely new enterprise, conceived by our Studio: Cibart. At first we focused on creating a large window, like a giant display case, located right in the middle of the “centro storico” of the city, where we could showcase our work. But we saw it as tied into the local food culture, and decided to serve the foods and wines that are typical of our particular region of Italy: Cibart, where the first part of the word is “cibo,” “food,” and the second is “art.” It is the ultimate expression of the Apuano territory, combining two of the most salient aspects of the culture of Carrara.
A: Which of your works are showcased at Cibart? And tell us a little bit about this lovely square.
ADA: Cibart is located in one corner of the marvelous piazza Alberica, which is surrounded by ancient buildings, some of which are 1,000 years old, and paved with cobblestones that have been here since the late Middle Ages. Piazza Alberica is unique, not only in Tuscany, but in all of Italy. As far as our products are concerned, at Cibart we offer our entire array of artistic and wine- and food-related products. If you want to enjoy a cocktail, or have a leisurely lunch or dinner, you can simultaneously admire and purchase all the artifacts we have made here at Studio Formart.
A: What kinds of foods and wines do you have on offer at Cibart?
ADA: Everything we serve is a locally sourced specialty. From the cured meats, to the artisanal cheeses, the famous lard of Colonnata, the local breads, to the excellent wines, like the Vermentino wines from Colli di Luni. We also serve meats from the Lunigiana and the Garfagnana areas. We are extremely proud to offer these delicacies from the Apuano territory. Our patrons are always satisfied, because our top priority is the quality and freshness of our ingredients. Cibart is a strong proponent of everything locally sourced, with, however, a special focus on quality, both in regards to food and wine and to our artistic creations.
A: What is it that distinguishes Carrara from other Italian or Tuscan cities?
ADA: Carrara, of course, is known all over the world for its marble. This marble is mined in the quarries of the mountains that surround the city, and is then transformed into a product in the local workshops. Some of these produce a semi-finished product, for use in interior and exterior decoration and architecture. Many others, however, like us, transform the raw material into works of art. There are still many workshops here in which international artists of worldwide renown have worked. So we too feel that it is our responsibility to carry on this tradition, in honor of the manual skill and exacting craft, which must not die out, but must continue to thrive. We hope to inspire others like us, especially young people, to carry on this wonderful tradition, which has made Carrara famous all over the world.