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Handcrafted Marble by Espidesign

Meet architect and designer Paola Speranza and discover her elegant and unique collection of kitchen décor elements. The minimal silhouettes in marble are crafted by hand in her family workshop in the town of Pieve Porto Morone.

Paola Speranza, a lover of beauty and art in all its forms, is the architect and designer behind the Convivio® Collection. She lives and works in Pavia, Lombardy, a city with a rich cultural, artistic and environmental heritage whose urban architecture is a testament to its ancient Roman origins. 

How was Espidesign born?

Aside from my career as a professional architect, I am a consultant for my family who has been in the marble business for three generations. This passion for marble was quite naturally passed down to me. In 2016, my love for marble as natural material - alive and ever-changing - brought me to create Convivio®, a new and original collection of contemporary household objects for the kitchen and table decor.

Tell us about your Convivio Collection: why did you choose marble to create objects for the kitchen and table decor?

An enduring love for this natural material is the driving force behind the design of our handcrafted objects: this same love inspires us to use those objects to make and present home cooked meals on the table for loved ones. This passion for cooking is deeply rooted in the Italian culture, but my love for the kitchen comes from my professional experience as a designer of many kitchens for private clients, restaurants and renowned cooking schools.

Your designs stand out for their geometric and minimal silhouettes. What is the reason behind this aesthetic choice? From where do you draw inspiration for your work?

The pure and simple geometric shapes reflect my personal minimalistic taste. I believe that the “materia prima” (raw material) is simply magical when its beauty and purity are not concealed by eccentric and complex forms. For this reason, I chose to work with the most refined of marbles - Italian and otherwise - marked by different colors, veining, and finishes (glossy, satin, matte or polished). Some of these marbles are timeless classics, some are out of style, and others virtually unknown to the public. The captivating twist of the collection is precisely the rediscovery of outdated marbles and reimagining them for new uses. Only a great passion for this dynamic material could have yielded such a precise design intent.

The marbles I have chosen for the Convivio® Collection are all very elegant. From Italy, I selected: Bianco Carrara, Grigio Bardiglio, Calacatta Oro, Calacatta Carrara, Giallo Reale, Grigio Carnico, Verde Praly and Bianco Covelano. From other parts of the world, I typically select colored marbles, namely Rosa Portogallo, Rosa Norvegia, Verde Guatemala, Verde Marinacee, Rosso Marinacee, Rosso Francia and Nero Marquina.

All your designs are crafted by hand: can you describe the most fascinating stages of the creation and manufacturing process?

Marble is handcrafted in our family workshop in Pieve Porto Morone near Pavia. Each single piece is entirely made by hand – from the design and template to the finishing touches and customization – resulting in a one-of-a-kind piece. Selected with care, we use only the best offcuts of precious marble slabs. The thickness of the pieces is refined to create kitchen objects that are light and easy to handle. We use pre-made templates to define the basic outline and then add the details after the silhouette has been cut. The hole on the cutting board, the narrowing base of the center pieces, the joints of the serving trays... all these and more are the special details that characterize every piece we create.

My favorite finish is the matte satin finish, but this is just my personal taste. We also make glossy and polished objects using abrasive sponges and pure elbow grease. Each object is “unicum”, distinctly unique for the individuality of the material - marked by constant changes in color and veining - and superb handcrafting, revealing small defining features. Even handmade customization with engraved names, initials, and logos is a singular experience, achieved using a small pencil-shaped drill guided by the steady hand of our engraver, Juliano, whose unmistakable hand is in all of our pictures.

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