Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti shape
marble vase with a hammer


Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

Milan 2014: the final shape of this marble vase by Italian designers Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti was revealed by smashing off edges with a hammer.

Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti cut slits into a rectangular block of white Carrera marble so that the thin sections could be broken off with a hammer, forming the uneven exterior surface around the Introverso 2 vase.

Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

Shown during Milan design week last month, the project is a follow-up to a previous iteration designed by the duo in 2012.

Ulian told Dezeen that the idea came from the production of marble bathroom sinks, where basins are carved out by slicing up the material and breaking it away to save time and energy.

Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

"In this way it creates a cavity in the block of marble in a faster way than doing it with traditional tools, where the intervention of the artisan is limited to the finishing the interior walls of the sink," explained Ulian.

Similarly for the vase, a CNC milling machine was used to cut sections out of a 40-centimetre-high marble block, creating 6 millimetre thick layers around a central vase-shaped void.

Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

The outside edges of these layers were then smashed off using a hammer, unveiling the final silhouette.

"Breaking the slats with a hammer to bring out the vase contained inside is a simple operation that can be performed by any person," said Ulian.

Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

The cavity was carved out using a CNC turning machine and the cuts stop 25 millimetres from the internal surface to prevent accidental damage during demolition. "There is no danger of damage to the vase," Ulian assured.

If the design is reproduced and sold, owners could chose whether to keep the vase in its original state or to take a hammer to the excess material and break off the sliced sections to reveal a unique final form.

The first Introverso vase designed by the pair had vertical striations rather than horizontal layers, which created a different pattern once smashed off.

Introverso 2 Vase by Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti

Introverso 2 was shown at Milan design week last month, where we noticed a number of marble projects. Ulian and Ratti also showeed furniture carved from giant marble blocks during the event, and Ulian believes that advances in the machinery used to shape the stone can be attributed to its revival.

"The reason that this year there has been a boom of projects in marble, I believe, is due to the rapid evolution of technologies applied to the numerical control processing of marble," said Ulian.

"Today, with these five-axis robotic machines and waterjet technology of cutting is possible to obtain formal and structural results that until a few years ago it was impossible to even imagine, and then open up new horizons yet to be explored."

  • divad

    This is done in ever CNC stone cutting process. It is actually the first cut that is done. They just left out the next steps and inflated it into a project?

    Can be seen here for example:

  • apocalipstick

    Sure those fins weren’t scored with the CNC machine before hammering?

  • Stephan

    Somehow I preferred the vase when it was still hidden in the block, with all the neat cuts in it.

  • madsu

    There’s just something that gets to me about shattering marble into unemployable left overs. Find the unhammered much more subtle and intriguing.