Ancestral roots in vocational design was the catalyst for the professional pursuits of Laura Torregrossa, the founder of Paris-based design studio, Marbera. With both maternal and paternal sides running the gamut of professional trajectories within the industry, her lineage carried a profound impact. Ultimately, it led from childhood jaunts with her parents to conducting the work herself.
Leveraging the distinct beauty of the noble materials marble and onyx as the backbone for her collections, each French-designed, Italian-produced, globally-sourced piece is an ode to her rich heritage and legacy, both holistically, and personally.
Here the founder discusses the confluence of tradition with the contemporary, the journey of Marbera and bringing her designs to life.
With Paris roots and Italian production, elaborate on your disparate influences and how that’s come to form the identity of Marbera.
My family on my father's side is Italian and live in Italy. My grandfather and great-grandfather were themselves marble workers. My mother, who is French, is an architect, and my father is in the renovation business. I think I naturally and unconsciously wanted to combine all these skills in creating Marbera.
The centrality of Marbera is natural stone, namely marble and onyx. What was the catalyst for a pursuit as pointed as this one?
I grew up with a love for stone. Since I was a little girl, I have accompanied my parents to marble quarries for their projects. I am fascinated by marble and and the translucency of onyx, which offers incredible candy colours.
Marbera exudes contemporary qualities rooted in traditional practices. How do these disparate characteristics coalesce within your collection?
The concept of Marbera is to modernise the image we have of marble, transforming this raw stone into a decorative object in minimalist and contemporary designs. The core purpose of Marbera is to highlight a traditional know-how using extraordinary natural stones and transform them into distinct and timeless pieces.
"There's a whole chain behind Marbera; the stone blocks are extracted from mountains internationally and are imported to Italy."
The catalogue for natural stone is immense. With such an array of available materials, what’s the procurement process like?
I select and source from countries around the world. It has been a long process that has been refined over several years. There's a whole chain behind Marbera; the stone blocks are extracted from mountains internationally and are imported to Italy. Then we cut them into slabs in our factory and subsequently shape these materials to transform them into furniture.
Bespoke pieces have become a cornerstone of Marbera, further illustrating the distinct appeal that the natural materials offer. What sets this material apart from others?
Marble in general fascinates me – all the wonderful natural colours, veins and distinctions. I can't get enough of it. Onyx – which is my favourite type of stone – is a translucent marble found mainly in Asia, Iran and Brazil. It's semi-precious, difficult to extract and quite rare. When we expose the onyx to light, the crystal veins display an incredible purity. It gives me an emotion like no other material. Marble is truly an art of nature.
What, ultimately, do you hope each Marbera patron derives from your designs?
That each piece is distinct and kept for life. Each stone has its own history due to its age and origin. We delight in the idea that every customer can acquire a piece of nature and showcase it in their interiors.
Meet the Founder
Sicily - the island of my heart
Best source of inspiration
Nature and Japanese design
Favourite piece from the collection
The Gaia table of course
Best part of the creation process
The discovery of an extraordinary marble slab – it's love at the first sign