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Slabs of different coloured stone on a white background depicting the Beyond The Surface exhibition by SolidNature

SolidNature and OMA architects present "immersive dreamscape" adorned with stones for Milan design week

Promotion: for its first solo show, Dutch material brand SolidNature is hosting an immersive exhibition at Milan design week, created by OMA architects Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri.

Named Beyond The Surface, the installation includes a series of rooms clad and decorated with stone materials, which aim to represent the process of realising dreams.

Taking place from 17 to 23 April in the Brera Design District, Beyond The Surface marks the second time SolidNature has exhibited during Milan design week and the first time the brand has had a solo exhibition.

Render of a pink rocky cave with a staircase lined with different coloured marble
The installation showcases different processes of stone. Image by visualisation studio..,Staat. Above image: Beyond the Surface. Photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy OMA

Loon and Margheri designed the installation as an "immersive dreamscape", featuring formations of quarried stone that are arranged to inspire visitors to "dream and push the limits of creativity".

"This year’s exhibition is about nature’s power; it gives an impression of the processes of compression and solidification that led to the formation of natural stone as we know it today," said Van Loon.

Time was a central narrative when creating the installation, according to CEO of SolidNature, David Mahyari. Parallels were drawn between the time it takes to form stone and the time it takes for people to realise their dreams.

The installation also includes a sculptural stone table and bar by Sabine Marcelis

"We live in a fast-consuming world that demands instant gratification, but when it comes to achieving our goals and dreams, this takes time – it is a matter of discipline, patience, lots of failures and lessons," said Mahyari.

"The same can be said about working with stone," he continued. "It takes thousands of years to create a piece of stone, where sand, trees, mud and other matter go through processes like pressure or even earthquakes to eventually become an outstanding piece of art."

Slabs of different coloured stone on a white background depicting the Beyond The Surface exhibition by SolidNature
Beyond The Surface was designed by SolidNature and OMA architects. Photo by Arthur Wong, courtesy of OMA.

The installation includes seven rooms that outline the progression of stone from its geological earth formation to the high-tech finishing techniques and machinery used today.

The experience starts at a large staircase that leads visitors to the underground level. At the bottom of the staircase is a corridor lined with slabs of translucent onyx, which intend to symbolise the compression stone and "the narrowed focus of our day-to-day lives".

The corridor is followed by a room filled with cubic monoliths made from marble, granite, onyx and travertine suspended from the ceiling.

Render of a pink rocky cave with a staircase lined with different coloured marble
The exhibition takes place during Milan design week. Image by  ...,Staat

A room covered from floor to ceiling in pink onyx showcases the material in different finishing stages, including untreated stone, scored, hammered and polished finishes.

Named the revelation room, the space was designed to represent the inception of dreams and encourage visitors to contemplate the possibilities of their imagination.

Render of a narrow corridor lined with stone
The exhibition includes a narrow corridor lined with onyx. Image by ...,Staat

Beyond two pivoting onyx walls is a room enveloped in green marble with vignettes lining the walls, intending to represent dreams becoming reality.

The final point of Beyond The Surface is the garden, which is decorated with a sculptural stone table and bar by Sabine Marcelis, a tribune and stage designed by Italian/Dutch duo Studio Ossidiana and functional sculptures by Iranian artist Bita Fayaazi.

Stone sculpture in progress
Iranian artist Bita Fayaazi has created a number of sculptures made from stone

"The installation gives a taste of different potential treatments, applications and approaches of designing with natural stone," said Margheri.

To learn more about the installation, visit SolidNature's website.

The images are by Arthur Wong unless stated.

Beyond The Space takes place from 17 to 23 March 2023 at Spazio Cernaia, Via Cernaia 1, 20121 Milano, Italy. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for SolidNature as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.