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Aram Store Summer Sale 2018 starts 16 June

The Aram Store Summer Sale starts at 10am on Saturday 16 June 2018. As usual, there will be 15% discount off all new orders both online and in store. Some exclusions apply online (such as for products from Gubi, Cane-line, Moooi and Michael Anastassiades – contact the store to order these products with sale discount) and this discount does not apply to Clearance items as they are already heavily reduced. The prices shown online during the Sale are the discounted prices.

Increase your discount to 20% total by signing up to our newsletter. Once you have confirmed your subscription, you will be sent an email with a voucher code to take 5% off the discounted prices.

We also have a very special offer in conjunction with Carl Hansen & Søn – choose a dining table and four chairs from a specific range and get one of the chairs for free! See our journal post here for more information.

There will be BIG DISCOUNTS off a wide selection of ex-display furniture ranging from chairs and tables to bed frames and sofas. These will be offered on a sold-as-seen, first-come-first-served basis.

Here is a small selection – there will be many more available in store:

Doze bedframe - Flou - Aram Store

The Doze bedframe by Rodolfo Dordoni for Flou in kingsize and including its isolated spring mattress is at 40% off – was £4,504 sale price £2,700. Upholstered in ‘Diagonale’ blue fabric. NB – the slat base is a non-dismantle single piece and therefore an access check is required for delivery – contact the store for this. (Pillows and linen NOT included)

Bibendum Chair black base - Eileen Gray - Aram Store Spanish Chair - Børge Mogensen - Fredericia - Aram Store
Eileen Gray’s Bibendum chair in green ‘Haarkon’ velvet with a matt black base is at 30% off – was £3,487 sale price £2,440 The Spanish chair by Børge Mogensen with black saddle leather and an oiled, smoked oak frame is at 25% off – was £4,257 sale price £3,193
Air chair - Jasper Morrison - Magis - Aram Store Allstar desk chair - Vitra - Aram Store
Set of four Air chairs by Jasper Morrison for Magis in bright green plastic – UNUSED & BOXED – at 30% off – was £472 sale price £330. There are four sets available (16 chairs). Allstar desk chair by Konstanin Grcic for Vitra in grass green hopsak with green and black frame and soft casters for hard floors at 30% off – was £714 sale price £499

La Chaise - Charles & Ray Eames - Vitra - Aram Store

Charles & Ray Eames’ La Chaise – inspired by the famous Gaston Lachaise sculpture ‘Floating Figure’ – by Vitra in white lacquered polyurethane with an oak and chrome base is at 35% off – was £6,039 sale price £3,925

There are may more ex-display clearance items available in store.

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Dining Table & Chair Offer - Aram Store Summer Sale 2018

This Summer, we have a very special offer in partnership with renowned Danish manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn – which can be used in conjunction with our Sale discount. If you order one of a range of five dining tables along with four chairs from a range of six designs, all in oak – either soaped, oiled or white oiled finish – then we will give you one of those four chairs for FREE.

For example, if you ordered a CH327 table and four CH24 Wishbone chairs with a full retail value of £7,103, with Sale discount and the free chair you would pay only £5,255.55 – equivalent to a total discount of 26%. Or a CH337 table and four CH88 chairs valued at £4,084 would be just £3,098.40 or a 24% discount.

Simply place one of these dining tables and four of these chairs in the applicable finishes in the shopping basket and the discount will be applied automatically. 

The dining tables to choose from are:

SH900 Extending Table - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

The SH900 extending table designed by Strand + Hvass – 1900 to 3000mm x 1000mm x height 720mm – in oak, soaped, oiled or white oiled finishes

CH327 table - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

The CH327 table designed by Hans Wegner 1900 x 950 x height 720mm in oak – choose from soaped, oiled or white oiled finishes. Larger 2480mm table also available

CH337 CH228 tables - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

Left: the CH337 extending table – right: the CH338 extending table – in oak, in soaped, oiled or white oiled finishes

CH339 Table - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

Hans Wegner’s CH339 extending table (2400 x 1150 x height 720mm) in oak, soaped, oiled or white oiled finishes. Extension leaves available separately

The chairs included in the offer are:

Left – PK1 chair designed by Poul Kjærholm in natural wicker on a stainless steel frame; centre – CH23 chair with a natural papercord seat on an oak frame; CH20 ‘Elbow’ chair with an upholstered seat in any colour of ‘Loke’ leather on an oak frame. The CH23 and CH20 are both designed by Hans J Wegner; finishes: soaped, oiled or white oiled.

Dining Chair offer 1 - Aram Store Summer Sale 2018

Left – CH24 ‘Wishbone’ chair with a natural papercord seat on an oak frame; centre – CH33 chair with an upholstered seat in any colour of ‘Loke’ leather on an oak frame; right – CH88 chair, black painted or stainless steel metal frame with an oak seat and back. All three chairs designed by Hans Wegner and with wood finishes in soaped, oiled or white oiled.

Dininh Chair Offer 2 - Aram Store Summer Sale 2018

For inspiration, here are some combinations included in the offer. The headline image at the top shows the CH327 table with two CH24 ‘Wishbone’ chairs.

Here, the CH338 extendable table is paired with the CH20 ‘Elbow’ chair with a tan ‘Loke’ leather seat, both in soaped oak finish.

CH338 and CH20 Elbow chair - Hans Wegner - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

The Ch337 extendable table accompanied by four CH33 chairs with black ‘Loke’ leather seats and all in oiled oak.

CH337 table and CH33 chairs - Hans Wegner - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

The elegant and minimal PK1 chair – stainless steel frame with natural wicker.

PK1 chair - Poul Kjaerholm - Carl Hansen & Son - Aram Store

This offer for a free chair runs until 31 August 2018 but the sale discount can only be used for the duration of our Summer Sale.

 

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Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Nathalie Flou Classicon Swedese

Days are long as we approach the summer solstice and it is the perfect time of year to introduce some new interior ideas. For our recent in-store photoshoot we looked at bedroom style and focused on two beds by Vico Magistretti for Flou – Nathalie and Tadao. Accompanying products are contemporary and classic designs from a number of other brands.

Flou was founded in 1978 when it launched Nathalie (pictured above), the first-ever ‘modern textile bed’. Its recognisable pillow covers with their distinctive, bow-shaped ties help to keep the bed tidy and the natural linen upholstery shown is completely removeable and washable. One of its most popular features is the optional under bed storage. Lift the mattress base from the end of the bed and hydraulic pistons quietly activate to take the weight allowing fuss-free access. Dependant on the specifications, Flou offer up to nine different size options and a range of other upholstery fabrics and leathers. Here it is photographed flanked on the right by ClassiCon’s chrome Orbis floor lamp and the St Tropez rug by Eileen Gray.

The free-standing Mira mirror by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Swedese is seen in natural oak. It also comes in black stained oak or white lacquer. Next to it sits Jean Prouvé’s Tabouret Solvay stool, designed in 1941 and now produced by Vitra.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Nathalie Flou Swedese Libri shelves

Next to the bed are the Libri shelves by Michaël Bihain for Swedese. Lean one against a wall or create a bookshelf room divider with multiples. It is available in two heights – small is pictured.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Nathalie Flou Montana Foscarini Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray’s Blue Marine rug enlivens the neutral tones by providing a pop of vibrant blue. As does the Keep dresser by Danish modular storage experts Montana, who offer a varied palette of forty-two water-based, coloured lacquers. The textured Tress floor lamp from Foscarini compliments Nathalie’s natural linen upholstery and the off-white shade of the Roattino lamp. Tress grande is pictured in griege, with black, white, crimson and indigo options also available. The smaller version – Tress media – stands at almost half its height.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Nathalie Flou Eileen Gray E1027

Eileen Gray designed the E1027 side table for her sister who enjoyed eating breakfast in bed. Being adjustable in height means it fits well next to most beds. Its strong lines and form are clearly emphasised by the matt black lacquer – a finish which she considered especially elegant.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Tadao Flou Montana Eileen Gray Flos Vitra Louis Poulsen

In contrast to Nathalie, Vico Magistretti’s Tadao bed is a minimal, wood-framed design. Strong slats of Canaletto walnut, stained oak (pictured) or larch joined together by dark blue grosgrain ribbon form the base and headboard. Four legs provide support, with two large castors at the headboard end and circular feet pads at the front. The castors make it easy to move, as well as being a playful accent.

The floor covering is Eileen Gray’s graphic Bonaparte rug and her Folding Screen is shown in gloss-white lacquer. In front is the Eames Elephant, designed in 1945 by Charles and Ray Eames. This American cherry plywood version is new from Vitra – the first time it has been serially produced in the Eames’ intended material. Next to it sits another Eames classic, the LTR occasional table in walnut, also produced by Vitra. Flou’s multi-functional Servomuto chair/side table offers a spot to keep night-time essentials and Arne Jacobsen’s AJ floor lamp in yellow ochre provides reading light.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Tadao Flou Montana Flos

The night-stand above is by Montana. Just like their modular range, Dream comes in forty-two colours with an optional matching coloured glass top (pictured). The white gloss lamp is Tab by Barber & Osgerby for Flos.

Aram Store_May 2018_Bedroom Trends_Tadao Flou Montana Wagenfeld lamp USM bedside unit Verner Panton Wire cubes

Montana produce a number of products by 20th century Danish designer Verner Panton. His stackable Panton Wire cubes are showed above left in chrome with an optional removable marble top. White, black, red and dark chrome are also available new finishes.

Above right is an example of USM’s new Haller-E range – an electrified adaptation of their unique modular storage system. This clever evolution turns the distinctive chrome structure into cable-free conduits and housing for hidden LED lighting, and USB power-points for various devices. The lamps can be configured for such uses as task-lighting in a bureau unit, accent lighting in a living-room setup, a fully illuminated display cabinet, or a bedside unit.

All furniture and lighting shown is currently on display in-store where we hold a library of material and colour samples for the majority of products.

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Axy table_Claudio Bellini_MDF Italia_Aram Store

Our in-store ground floor display currently highlights some of our favourite pieces of this season’s outdoor furniture.  The range includes dining chairs, sofas, coffee tables and accessories.  Here is a selection of what can be seen and is available to order in-store and online.

Pictured above is the Sign Matt chair by Piergiorgio Cazzaniga for MDF Italia.  This matt version is an update to the original indoor model which was produced in a glossy finish.  Made of rotational moulded polyethylene, colours are white, cement, navy blue, mud and corten rust.

The Axy dining table is also available in indoor and outdoor versions.  Designed by Claudio Bellini the outdoor model comes in seven sizes. Tops are fine-porcelain laminates, self-bearing with fibre-glass support – matt light grey or black Calce and medium grey Pietra di Savoia.  The legs are extruded aluminium painted with matt white or graphite grey epoxy powder.

S 33 N All Seasons chair_Thonet_Aram Store

For their All Seasons collection of furniture, Thonet selected icons from the Bauhaus period and made them weather resistant.  The S 33 N side chair by Mart Stam is amongst the designs.  It dates back to 1925 when Stam experimented with gas pipes and created the first cantilever chair.  In this new outdoor version the powder-coated tubular steel frame is available in seven frame colours.  The seat and backrest are made of synthetic mesh in twelve colours.  It is pictured above in black frame and petrol teal mesh.

The following products are from Danish brand Cane-line whose outdoor collection of furniture and accessories offers maximum comfort and minimal maintenance.  Working with Danish designers only Cane-line promotes a comfortable outdoor living lifestyle with products UV and weather resistant.

Defined carpet 200cm_Cane-line_Aram Store

The Defined hand-made circular carpet comes in two sizes – 140cm diameter and 200cm diameter – in grey, beige and turquoise.  Made of polypropylene, the carpets can be cleaned with lukewarm water and a brush.

Moment sofa_Parc rocking chair_On The Move side table_Cane-line_Aram

Parc rocking chair by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen MDD is made of lava grey aluminium and teak.  The slatted seat is ‘body fitted’ with curves that follow the body’s form providing great comfort.

The Moments three seat sofa from the same designers has a classic Scandinavian appearance.  Its tubular steel structure is covered in Cane-line Rope with teak glides added to the legs. The base mattress and back cushions are made of the Cane-line SoftTouch® QuickDry materials, ensuring the cushions are dry again an hour after rainfall.  Back cushions are removable allowing the sofa be used as a daybed and a matching lounge chair is available.

On the Move side table by Strand+Hvass has a removable tray top.  Following customer requests the popular table is now available in three sizes.  This versatile product is also perfect for indoor use in lounges, bedrooms and bathrooms.  In powder-coated aluminium, the tables are available in a range of colours.

Level outdoor occasional table_ByKato_Cane-line_Aram Store

The Level coffee table from designers ByKato is available in three sizes.  Pictured is the large size which measures 122L x 62D x 42H cm.  In lava grey or white powder-coated aluminium frame, shelves are teak or concrete.

Roll trolley_Cane-line_Aram Store

The Roll trolley is made of powder-coated aluminium in lava grey, midnight blue or white. It was designed by Welling/Ludvik whose collection for Cane-line uses aluminium as the main material.  Roll is easily transportable has a removable tray top.

Roll bar trolley_Cane-line_Aram Store

From the same series, the Roll Bar trolley comes in lava grey or white powder-coated aluminium.  The two wheel/two leg combination allows it move around and then be placed in a fixed position.  It is supplied with one teak slatted plate which can be moved and used on the top or bottom shelf.

Lean chair_Less chair_Cane-line_Aram Store

Lean (above left) is a stackable side table, also by Welling/Ludvik.  The frame is black or white powder-coated aluminium with a matching colour Cane-line Weave seat and back.

Less stackable armchair (above right) is by the same designers and comes in three finishes. Pictured here in lava grey aluminium frame it has a natural French weave seat and back.  Other seat and back options are grey weave or grey Sunbrella Natte cushions with QuickDry foam.

Core table_Cane-line_Aram Store

Core dining table by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen is in three sizes.  The frame is in lava grey or taupe powder-coated aluminium and the top is in teak, ethically sourced from Indonesia.  The size on display in-store is 210L x 100D x 74H cm.

Divine floor cushion_Cane-line_Aram Store

Divine is an oversized floor cushion which can also be used as a footstool.  Measuring 55L x 55D x 35H cm, the outer fabric is hand crocheted in colours olive green, turquoise, brown, grey, midnight blue and marsala.

Peacock lounge chair_Foerson & Hiort-Lorenzen MDD_Cane-line_Aram Store

Designed by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen MDD the Peacock lounge chair has a woven structure in two colour options – dusty blue/midnight blue or light grey/grey – with the base in teak.  Optional cushions are in Sunbrella Natte outdoor fabric in grey or light grey.

Lighthouse lanterns_Cane-line_Aram Store_lava grey

Lighthouse candle holders are in-store in two sizes.  Made of lava grey powder-coated aluminium they can also be used as urban greenhouses where herbs can be grown.  At 23L x 23D x 42H cm the small size is perfect for a table top with the large size, measuring 33L x 33D x 54H cm, suitable also on the floor.

All products are on display in-store.

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Last week some of us travelled to Milan for the annual design week. Here’s a selection of our favourite picks from Salone del Mobile, Ventura Future and some of the many showrooms which fill the city.

 

Dimore Gallery

Installation at the Dimore Gallery

 

Teli by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, 1959

Flos presented a group of classic designs by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Here is their Teli pendant lamp, designed in 1959.

 

Gubi installation

The Gubi showroom was in the Palazzo Serbelloni, a neoclassical palace. Left: 1965 lamps by Paavo Tynell and Gubi 2.0 dining, coffee and lounge tables. Right: the new Bat lounge chair by GamFratesi.

 

Inode+Sveje showroom Miyazaki exhibition

Miyazaki Chair Factory took over the Brera showroom of designers Inoda + Sveje. Here they presented classics alongside a new design, the Golondrina chair by Jorge Herrera.

 

Vitra Salone del Mobile

L-R: .03 chair by Maarten Van Severen for Vitra, Kiki sofa by Ilmari Tapiovaara, Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto and Trienna table by Ilmari Tapiovaara for Artek

 

Vitra Salone del Mobile

Vitra’s coloured coded displays at Salone del Mobile

 

Artek Vitra Salone del Mobile

Artek demonstrated the versatility of their compact product range – perfect for city living. Pictured here is the A110 pendant lamp by Alvar Aalto with the Domus chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara and Kaari table by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, wall-mounted behind.

 

ceramics from Kose Salone del Mobile

Graphic ceramics by Kose

 

Poul Kjærholm Carl Hansen & Son Salone del Mobile

A beautiful combination of natural wicker and brushed steel seen in the PK1 dining chair by Poul Kjærholm, produced by Carl Hansen & Son.

 

Eileen Gray ClassiCon Aram Designs Salone del Mobile

Eileen Gray designs at ClassiCon. L-R: Roattino floor lamp, Roquebrune chair, St Tropez rug, E1027 table and Day Bed. All are manufactured by ClassiCon and authorised by the world licence holder Aram Designs Ltd.

 

Louise chair Philippe Nigro Zanotta Salone del Mobile

The new Louise chair by Philippe Nigro for Zanotta

 

Salone del Mobile Porro Gap illuminated wall shelving

Porro launched their new LED illuminated Gap shelving by Carlo Tamborini

 

Salone del Mobile USM

The impressive USM stand, built entirely from USM modular frames.

 

Salone del Mobile Zanotta

The new Hiro sofa by Damien Williamson for Zanotta

 

Salone del Mobile MDF Italia Yale bed

Jean-Marie Massaud’s latest design for MDF Italia, the Yale bed, on display in their showroom.

 

Salone del Mobile Walter Knoll

Pops of rich jewel tones against neutral leather and monochrome marble on the Walter Knoll stand

 

Salone del Mobile Zanotta William sofa

The William sofa by Damien Williamson for Zanotta in a fantastic green upholstery

 

Salone del Mobile Montana

The new Free modular shelving range from Montana

 

Ventura Future_Vine lamps_Caine Heintzman Studio

Vine lamps by Caine Heintzman for ANDlight, seen at Venture Future.

 

Ventura Future_3D printed stool top and flooring by Aectual

Another eye-catching design at Venture Future – 3D printed stool and flooring by Aectual.

 

Please contact us should you wish to enquire about any of the new releases seen here.

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Carl Hansen & Son - Passionate Craftsmanship - Aram Store

In February 2013, I visited the Carl Hansen & Søn factory in Aarup, outside Odense in Denmark. It was a very important time for the manufacturer, as they had just bought Rud. Rasmussen – another cabinetmaking business famous for its craftsmanship – and I wrote about the visit for our blog: ‘The Evolution of Craftsmanship’.

Evolution doesn’t stand still and it was fascinating to visit Carl Hansen & Søn once again last week. The remarkable growth of the company can be attributed to the current CEO, Knud Erik Hansen – the third generation of the family to take the helm, after buying out his older brother Jørgen. I remember that when Aram Store first opened, the lead time for Hans Wegner’s renowned ‘Wishbone’ chair was more than a year; this was because Jørgen took a very cautious approach and maintained the same production methods his grandfather had put in place in the original factory in Kochsgade, Odense in 1933, despite rising global demand.

Carl Hansen factory 1933 Odense - Aram Store

The factory at Kochsgade, Odense, opened in 1933

Knud Erik brought with him a wealth of business acumen and recognised the improvements that could be made by investing massively in the most technologically up-to-date machinery. This also meant that production could be kept in Denmark, crucially safeguarding the skill and experience of the company’s master craftsmen. But within two years of my 2013 visit, production had already outgrown the 6,000 sq m Aarup factory that Knud Erik built in 2003. So, with a great deal of planning and care, everything was moved to a new campus of 12 buildings ten minutes down the road at Gelsted.

A new purpose-built factory at Aarup opened in 2003

Carl Hansen Factory Gelsted - Aram Store

Having reached capacity after 12 years, production moved to a new campus at Gelsted in 2016

Whilst the machinery – which runs almost 24/7 – speeds up immensely the manufacturing of components, craftsmanship is still absolutely integral to the process. Once machined, each piece is finished by hand – appraised for quality at each stage – and assembled by hand, the skill evident in the ease and confidence with which minor adjustments are made, for example, to ensure that a Wishbone chair sits straight and flat.

CH26 Chair Hans Wegner Carl Hansen Aram Store

CH26 chair frames ready to have their papercord seats woven

CH07 Shell chair Hans Wegner Carl Hansen Aram Store

CH07 Shell chair frames stacked up awaiting their seats and backs

CH20 Elbow chair Hans Wegner Carl Hansen Aram Store

Stacks of CH20 ‘Elbow’ chairs showing off the unusual 11-ply underframe

CH24 Wishbone chair lacquered colours Hans Wegner Carl Hansen Aram Store

The CH24 ‘Wishbone’ chair lacquered in a rainbow panoply of colours ready for their papercord seats to be woven

“Carl Hansen & Søn is built with lots of emotion and love involved. And that can be challenging too. We are still a family – it is our choices, our decisions that influence the direction and future of our designers, both new and from our heritage. The designers we produce and the stories we tell – there are humans at the heart. Real people who are part of our wider family and an authentic Danish design network. We have a very strong sense of belonging: I want to bring the next generation, my sons, into Carl Hansen & Søn – it is the most important thing. We are a Danish company, but we are sustained by our exports, and capturing the minds and hearts of a global audience. We have to develop fast and consider what is happening elsewhere and in new markets. It has always been the way, ever since my grandfather. Everything since has been a natural, genuine evolution.” – Knud Erik Hansen

CH445 chair Hans Wegner Carl Hansen Aram Store

The CH445 chair, CH446 footstool and CH008 coffee table in the Spring sunshine at the Carl Hansen & Søn Copenhagen showroom on Bredgade

True to the company’s founding values, it is Carl Hansen & Søn’s ambition to make furniture of the highest quality, maintaining beauty and value with respect for sustainable design, materials and more than 100 years of traditions of craftsmanship.

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Marble is a highly desirable material ubiquitous throughout the fields of sculpture, architecture and design. It is a natural stone available in numerous colours and styles with connotations to antiquity and luxury. Here we explore its history both geologically and within the arts. We shed light on the famous region of Carrara, its quarries and workforce, and highlight exemplary uses within 20th century and contemporary design.

All marble is a type of limestone, however the term is somewhat broad and describes a group of rocks with varying petrographic aspects. In its most refined form – the famous white statuary marble of Carrara – it contains 98% calcite. This type was created over 200 million years ago from the skeletal remains of tiny calciferous sea creatures, which formed a deep sediment on the ocean bed. As the earth’s tectonic plates shifted this sediment was subjected to enormous heat and pressure causing the calcium carbonate to crystallise. Over millions more years this was slowly pushed to the surface and now forms the area we know as the Apuan Alps in Tuscany, Italy.

 

Carrara Bianco marble

On the opposite end of the spectrum to Carrara Bianco there are marbles which display a riot of rich colours and patterns. These are also sedimentary limestones but are usually from detrital (formed of other rocks) or chemical (formed from precipitation of calcium carbonate from sea water) origin and are coloured by a variety of minerals such as graphite and iron oxide. When speaking commercially, classification becomes even broader to include rocks with silicate minerals* from a magmatic beginning, such as types of quartzite. Although these have a different composition they have similar workability characteristics and sometimes appearance.

*rock forming minerals containing varying ratios of silicon and oxygen

 

Marble samples Brèche De Vendome Azul Imperial

Left: Brèche de Vendôme marble of detrital origin. Right: Azul Imperial quartzite

Evidence of marble sculpture and stonework within Europe goes back to the Neolithic era around 5000 – 4500 BC. Small carved figures of people and animals have been found from this time on Crete and the Cycladic islands. It is believed they used marble pebbles washed up on beaches complete with smooth edges courtesy of the undulating waves. During the succeeding Bronze Age – which roughly spans from 3200 to 600 BC – newly invented tools improved sculpting techniques and made working with larger, half eroded or partially freed marble possible. The ancient Romans began stonemasonry this way and used a much simpler system of categorisation than we do today. They had two categories; stones which could be polished were called ‘marmora’ and stones which couldn’t were called ‘lapis’. Interestingly, the word ‘marmora’ comes from the Greek ‘marmarios’, which means ‘shining’.

 

Marble female figure from the Cycladic culture, final Neolithic 4500–4000 BC. © Metropolitan Museum of Art

After designing implements for extracting and transporting large marble blocks, the Romans developed the first designated quarry sites. Luni or ‘Luna’ as it was then known, in the Italian vicinity of Carrara is a small port town founded around 177 BC. It was there and in the surrounding hills that the Carrara quarries were opened and the marble trade began. Augusto Danesi a sculptor and Carrara museum curator said in 2004 when speaking to Martin Gani a journalist writing for The World & I, “it’s not hard to tell how the Romans quarried, the hammers and iron pickaxes found here as well as grooved uneven surfaces clearly point at the Romans.”¹ They began by using wet wooden wedges that were inserted into natural cracks – the wood expands and the marble slab breaks away. Implements were then developed to make cracks and handsaws designed to improve cutting techniques. An improvement, yes, but a small one as it would take two workers a whole day just to cut seven or eight cm. The Carrara quarries were excavated using these rudimentary tools for hundreds of years and all the while the output grew in popularity. Marble was considered a luxury because it was expensive, imported from other regions and unnecessary because most cities would have had adequate stone resources nearby. Using such a luxurious material was a public display of wealth and wealth equated to power. Nevertheless in spite of its favour as the empire declined, so did Luni and the quarries of Carrara. The harbour gradually filled with silt until it became a mosquito-infested swamp and by the 5th century AD extraction had ceased entirely. In the years that followed those who wanted to enjoy the grandeur of marble would – after first receiving Papal consent – reuse or recycle columns, capitals and other features from Roman buildings. Until the 10th century AD when the bishops of Luni, who then dominated the Carrara region, reopen the quarries and gradually an export trade was re-established.

 

Apuan Alps, Tuscany, Italy

During the Renaissance Carrara and particularly its near-flawless 98% calcite Statuario marble received international recognition. It became the stone of choice for Michelangelo and many other artists for a number of reasons. Firstly, calcite is a soft mineral and is relatively easy to cut and shape. In addition the uniform fine grain allows for precise detail. Its purity means it boasts a luminous whiteness, enhanced by the fact calcite allows light to penetrate an inch or two deep. And in slight contrast, the surface itself has a waxy quality akin to human skin. These qualities make it the ideal material for those who want their image of man to transcend into a godlike figure.

 

Michelangelo’s statue of David

Thanks in part to the Renaissance sculptors the quarries of Carrara have had no rest to this day. Supply and demand is now greater than ever due to technological advances and globalisation. However in the run-up to the 20th century boom, the slow and arduous quarrying process was only occasionally relieved by new inventions. In the mid-1800s three-strand wire saws made abrasive with sand and lubricated by water were introduced. Quarrymen were finally able to put down their handsaws, but the huge problem of wastage remained. Excavated blocks would be rolled down the mountain and during this 85% would be lost to rubble. Oxen and carts would transport what remained to port. Sometime sleds, or ‘lizza’, would be used for extra heavy pieces of twenty-five to thirty tons. Charles Dickens visited and poetically described this process as “a stream meandering down to the bottom of the valley over a bed of stones of all forms and sizes…rudimentary carts of five-hundred years ago or so are still in use. Two, four, ten, twenty pairs of oxen per block, depending on size, are used.”² Another Brit, the industrialist William Walton took an interest in Carrara and invested in building railroads. By 1910 80% of marble left the region this way. At this point quarrying became electrified and pneumatic hammers were introduced. By the 1950s and 60s diamond-toothed wire saws had arrived and the railways were abandoned in favour of trucks – both of which are still used today.

 

Despite these new technologies quarrying still requires a huge amount of intrinsic knowledge, something which quarrymen learn only through experience. They feel a deep connection to the area – many families go back generations – and talk of marble as a living entity. It contains ‘anima’ or soul, it ‘sings’ and its ‘nerves’ make it strong. The groans and movements which come from the mountains show that it is ‘awake’. It is unsurprising that such rich terminology has developed as the quarries are otherworldly places. The translucency and patterning of the stone, the vibrant bright white light it reflects and the sheer scale. Vast excavations which cut deep into mountains millions of years old speak of human endeavour in all its beauty and brutality.

 


Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani

 

In the 1970s the Tuscan regional government introduced mining regulations and turned the Apuan Alps into a national park. Since then there has been a sizeable reduction in the number of quarries, from 501 in 1956 to 211 in 1987. Records show that 138 of these were in Carrara and by 2003 this had reduced to 83. To protect the surface environment much quarrying has gone underground. However this impacts upon the human workforce as the noise of jackhammers, bulldozers, excavators etc. echoing through the chambers becomes literally deafening. What’s more despite the reduced number of quarries production remains at an all-time high. Speaking in Martin Gani’s article for The World & I, geologist Antonio Criscuolo said “it is calculated that thanks to technological development, in the last fifty years more has been mined than in the whole of one thousand nine hundred and fifty years that preceded that. Today around 1.1 million tons are being quarried a year. There is no shortage in sight in the foreseeable future, and the rate of production will depend on demand and environmental issues.”³

 

Underground marble mine, Carrara, Italy

Wastage has been dramatically reduced with new extraction methods but not eliminated. A regional waste industry has been established and now marble unfit for traditional use is repurposed in a variety of ways. Some rubble is kept within the quarries and used to cushion the fall when large blocks are excavated. Some is powdered and sold as architectural render known as ‘stucco’. Refined marble powder compromising mainly of calcium carbonate has a PH value of 9.91 meaning it is neutral to slightly alkaline and is suitable for acid neutralisation purposes. It is added to lakes and rivers to help restore a healthy habitat for aquatic life. Powder which has been further distilled is known as ‘whiting’ and is used in many over-the-counter acid reflux medicines. These are just a few examples, usage goes as far as ceramics, glue, paper, dyes and paints. However dealing with waste marble is just one of many complimentary industries. Augusto Danesi estimates that “for each quarryman there are probably no fewer than a thousand others who work in the transportation, transformation and commercialisation of Carrara marble.”⁴ The region even processes marble mined elsewhere. There are countless workshops that deal with the cutting, sculpting, polishing and finishing of all types of marble. Artists will submit designs and have a Carraresi craftsperson sculpt it for them. Studios produce windowsills, tiles, gravestones, columns – all types of architectural embellishments exported prêt-à-porter style.

 

Carrara workshop

Like most natural materials the supply and value of marble is based on demand and availability. White varieties have essentially remained fashionable since the Renaissance though the taste for colourful marbles – in the broader sense of the term – has fluctuated. Between the 17th and 18th centuries unusual and rare types were very popular, but Neoclassicism pulled the focus firmly to white. The flavour for chromatic types was re-established by Modernist architects such as Gio Ponti, Adolf Loos and Mies van der Rohe. Notably the latter two were both sons of stonemasons. Rather than creating patterned inlays or intricate stonework as was tradition, this new wave emphasised the stone’s inherent beauty by using large slabs in the form of tiles, panels and table tops. Whilst this approach was different the connotations of marble being precious, luxurious and sophisticated remained.

 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion. © Fundació Mies van der Rohe Barcelona

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed his famous Barcelona Pavilion for German’s contribution to the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. He used North African golden onyx, vert antique and green marble from the Greek island of Tinos. The building was originally designed to be temporary and was dismantled within a year. However over the following years the design was consistently referenced and in the mid-1980s a group of Catalan architects reconstructed it to the original specifications. Nowadays Mies van der Rohe’s pavilion is widely regarded as a benchmark of 20th century modernist architecture.

 

Franz Füeg, St Pius, Meggen, 1964

Franz Füeg, St Pius, Meggen, Switzerland

In 1964 the architect Franz Füeg used large, thin slices of Greek Penthelian Dionyssos marble to great effect for his St Pius church in Meggen, Switzerland. Each panel measures 1.5 by 1.02 meters and only 28 millimeters thick. From the building’s exterior the marble appears a soft grey-white, but inside with sunlight streaming through the marble becomes a rich ochre.

 

From Entryways of Milan by Karl Kolbitz, published by Taschen. Photograph by Delfino Sisto Legnani

Gio Ponti, Antonio Fornaroli and Alberto Rosselli created this entrance to a Milanese residential building in 1952-56.

 

Adolf Loos Austrian mahogany and breccia marble table, circa 1920

Adolf Loos Austrian mahogany and breccia marble table, circa 1920

From the modernist era onwards numerous architects and designers have and continue to incorporate marble into their furniture and lighting designs. It remains extremely popular with many classic 20th century pieces still in production, as well as being a go-to material for contemporary designers and manufacturers. Highlighted here are some key examples from the mid-twentieth century onwards.

 

Biagio table lamp by Tobia Scarpa, produced by Flos

Biagio table lamp by Tobia Scarpa, produced by Flos

Tobia Scarpa, son of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, designed his Biagio table lamp in 1968. The body of the design, which is produced by Flos, is carved from one piece of Carrara marble. This video shows the skill and precision which goes into the making of each lamp:

 

 

Eero Saarinen’s pedestal based collection is arguably one of the most famous marble tables still in production today. Designed in 1957, Knoll offer a range of marbles for the table top. Pictured is the new option – rosso rubino with a high-shine polish. This finish is preferable as colours appear more saturated and the marble is less porous.

Saarinen dining table in rosso rubino marble by Eero Saarinen for Knoll

Saarinen dining table in rosso rubino marble by Eero Saarinen for Knoll

 

Guilio Cappellini kept the form of his angular Vendôme table minimal in pleasing contrast to the fabulous Brèche de Vendôme marble. Designed in 2015 for Cappellini, this statement piece comes in square or rectangular form.

 

Vendôme table by Giulio Cappellini for Cappellini

Vendôme table by Giulio Cappellini for Cappellini

 

Piero Lissoni’s Materic table was launched by Porro in 2017. The black stained ash base supports a marble top available with or without a central ‘lazy Susan’ turning table. Porro offer six marble finishes: calacatta oro, Carrara, covelano fantastic, grey valentine, verde rameggiato and Sahara noir (pictured).

Materic table by Piero Lissoni for Porro

Materic table by Piero Lissoni for Porro

 

These are only a few of the many classic and modern designs featuring marble available to order here. The brands we work with are consistently using the stone in new ways as technology advances. New releases are added to our catalogue and the knowledgeable Aram Store sales team are always ready to discuss any queries.

 

 

References:

¹ ² ³ ⁴ Marble is Life: The Quarries of Carrara, Tuscany by Martin Gani. Published in The World & I. Vol 19: Part 5. 2004.

Classical marble: geochemistry, technology, trade: Advanced research workshop on marble in Ancient Greece and Rome: geology, quarries, commerce, artifacts: Papers. Published by Kluwer, 1988.

Carrara: The Marble Quarries of Tuscany by Joel Leivick. Published by Stanford University Press, 1999.

Fine Marble in Architecture by Studio Marmo, text by Frederick Bradley. Published by W.W. Norton & Co. 2001.

New Stone Architecture by David Dernie. Published by Laurence King, 2003.

Fundació Mies van der Rohe Barcelona

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USM Haller Storage System Dark Grey Aram Store

The Haller storage system from USM has long been a favourite here for its range of use, adaptability over time and ever-modern looks.

Devised in 1963 when Swiss manufacturer USM produced architectural fittings, and intended only for in-house use at their factory, it received such strong interest from visiting clients as to become the company’s main product within a few years.

USM Haller Low Media Unit Orange ARAM Store

USM Happer Storage System Detail universal ball joint Aram Store

The system is built around a patented ball-joint connecting tubular framing which is then clad and equipped from a wide array of parts. Solid and perforated flat panels made of powder-coated sheet steel in 14 colours are options for shelves, doors, drawers and walls. Glass too can be used with the exception of drawers. Plastic glides or castors support the overall structures. Parts are almost all recyclable.

This video shows how the parts are joined:

USM Haller Bookshelves and Doors beige Aram Store

USM Haller Storage System - Large White Aram Store

The versatile storage system can create anything from a room-sized library to a media unit to a drinks trolley to a wardrobe. This modularity allows a USM piece to be extended, split into smaller units, or reconfigured to something entirely new as needs evolve.

USM’s simple to use configurator programme allows customers to design their own storage system.  The steel tubing can be selected in varying lengths, panels can be added and colours changed.

Configure your own USM Haller storage solution by clicking here.

USM Haller Storage System for the dining room Aram Store

The Haller storage system is complimented with a range of desks and tables boasting similar levels of choice. Along with numerous sizes, tops are available in various materials from simple laminates to coloured glass, and an array of accessories allow customisation for home-office use.

Our substantial USM display now includes several pieces using the new Haller-E elements. This clever evolution of the Haller system turns the distinctive chrome structure of the furniture into cable-free conduits and housing for hidden LED lighting, and USB power-points for your various devices. The lamps can be configured for such uses as task-lighting in a bureau unit, accent lighting in a living-room setup, or a fully illuminated display cabinet.

USM Haller Storage with integrated LED lighting ARAM Store

For help in creating your own USM Haller system visit us in-store to browse the range of material samples and display products as well as getting expert advice from our sales team.

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Montana TV & Sound - Free B&O Beoplay M3 - Aram Store

Montana TV & Sound. Get a free Bang & Olufsen BEOPLAY M3 wireless speaker worth £279 when you buy a medium or large TV & Sound module. Choose between a range of models, sizes and Montana’s palette of 42 colours.

Free B&O Beoplay M3 speaker with Montana TV & Sound - Aram Store

Enjoy your high resolution TV and crisp surround sound without the clutter of cables, remote controls and other electronic devices and accessories. Store it all away in a classic and beautiful storage solution, designed to suit your needs.

Montana TV & Sound VJ19 - Aram Store

Candy Floss or coffee? Choose between a multitude of different models, colours, sizes and doors – perforated and retractable, suspended on the wall, on castors, a plinth or legs.

Montana TV & Sound VL13-2 Candy Floss Pink - Aram Store

Montana TV & Sound VJ16 - Free Beoplay M3 - Aram Store

The retractable doors discreetly hide the electronic equipment. The door has a perforated steel front lacquered in Montana’s colours – to open: push lightly at the bottom and slide it up under the top of the unit. The perforations make it possible to operate infrared controls through the closed door, and provides better circulation around the enclosed devices.

The back panel is fitted with a round slot for a cable grommet to connect the unit to a power socket and the shelf has a slot for cabling between equipment and the unit.

Montana TV & Sound SI15 - Aram Store

Montana TV & Sound SI15 - Aram Store

The free BEOPLAY M3 offer runs until 30 April 2018. We will order your free gift for you and Montana will contact you directly to arrange its delivery.

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PH 5 lights Poul Henningsen Louis Poulsen Aram Store

Poul Henningsen’s classic PH 5 pendant lamp is now 60 years old and a new colour range has been introduced by its Danish manufacturer Louis Poulsen. Released on 1 February, it follows the success of the smaller sized version the PH 5 Mini which was introduced in November 2017 in the same colours.

To mark the release we have collaborated with Louis Poulsen to present an exhibition which showcases the lamps and looks at the work of the celebrated designer. The exhibition runs from 9 to 24 March. A private view takes place on Thursday 8 March between 6pm and 8pm and in keeping with all things Danish, refreshments from ScandiKitchen will be served.

PH 5 lights Poul Henningsen Louis Poulsen Aram Store

PH 5 and PH 5 Mini are downward and lateral reflecting lamps. Made up of five spun aluminium shades, they come in eight colours. Classic white remains in the collection and a new Modern white will join these colours which come in tonal combinations – orange, rose, red, green, blue and grey. Different tones feature on each of the lamp’s five shades starting with the darkest at the top and then softening at the bottom with the palest colour. Contrasting coloured anti-glare reflectors sit under the shades providing a warm light tone. Bronze rolled aluminium struts hold the five shades together except for the Classic white model where the struts are purple.

In addition to the private view and exhibition we are holding two fantastic competitions in partnership with Warehouse Home. Details of which will soon be announced via Twitter and Instagram.

Private view Thursday 8 March 6pm-8pm
Exhibition runs 9 to 24 March

PH 5 lights Poul Henningsen Louis Poulsen Aram Store

Also in our building on 8 March is the opening of the Designers Select Designers exhibition in The Aram Gallery. The show will celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the gallery presenting work by past exhibitors as well as emerging designers who they have nominated.

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