The underlying theme is cleanliness of form, because with marble, a noble material with little margin for error, you cannot make mistakes. But it goes further, back to his childhood memories and sensory experiences of trips to Australia, New York, China; his life and formative experiences. Everything flows together into a working approach whose results are appealing objects born of the alchemy between respect for the materials and harmony of the forms.
Matteo Leorato was born in Verona in Italy’s Veneto region, and he continues to carry with him an aptitude towards the practical knowledge which leads to design intuition, refined by an international point of view built up through extensive experience abroad and which he continues to develop in Barcelona, where he currently lives and works.
The art of the material
It is his encounter with marble – thanks to the artistic direction of the company Mondo Marmo Design – which has allowed the designer to fully develop his original vision, based on the cleanliness of form dictated by the material itself – worked in a subtractive manner, it requires a slow knowledge and awareness, to be acquired over time, in the workshop. Because marble is able to reward these efforts, helping to mature clean and balanced design ideas in which technological innovation has always lingered, starting with the perfection of terrazzo flooring centuries ago in the Italian regions of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige.
Matteo Leorato’s work focuses on the desire to develop objects in equilibrium between harmony and curiosity: clear, balanced proportions, brought to life by a tension evocative of other forms or functions. Human interactions is added to these elements as a key aspect of contemporary design, as the designer himself tells us: “I usually find myself far from the concept of a statue-like kind of object, but I love those products which are animated through the gestural expressiveness of the people who bring them to life: the wind-up watch is undoubtedly the object which best reflects this philosophy”.
Everything comes together in the products: the Block Round marble lamp for Mondo Marmo Design, based on the primitive shape of the cylinder, contains a luminous core evocative of fluorescent lighting, in a balanced synthesis of irony and harmony. The Loggia series of coffee tables for Portego, inspired by Greco-Roman architecture and made entirely of terrazzo, are evocative of small domestic buildings which seem to have changed their assigned use in order to learn new gestures and interactions.
He is developing the topic of technological innovation with Mondo Marmo Design with lightweight marble – sandwich panels with a wafer-thin outer layer of stone – and in original research into terrazzo with Progetto Rialto. The traditional flooring material is, indeed, the subject of a contemporary revisitation based on new patterns, light, essential designs obtained using inlaid marbles with calm, balanced colours, such as Bardiglio, Rosa Perlino, Bianco Carrara and Breccia Sarda. Harmonious, balanced designs, with an ironic aspect with timeless references, just as the marble itself suggests.