Michael Zimber ist passionierter Sportkletterer sowie Gründer und Konzeptdesigner von Stone Forest, einer Firma aus Santa Fe (New Mexico, USA). Gemeinsam mit Michael Cahill, einem ausgebildeten Waldressourcenmanager, verarbeitet er seit gut 15 Jahren natürliche Materialien von Kupfer über Bambus bis hin zu Naturstein und kreiiert oftmals preisgekrönte Objekte für Küche und Bad. Für den monatlichen Designer's Talk haben wir Fragen zum Veneto Pedestal gestellt, einem eleganten und minimalistischen Standwaschbecken aus Naturstein, welches vor allem in hinterleuchtetem Onyx eine überwältigende Wirkung entfaltet:
Erneste Appell | What was the main idea of the Veneto Pedestal collection? What is special about it? Or to put it this way: Why should a consumer decide to buy that sink and not one of the million others?
Stone Forest | Our Veneto Pedestal is inspired by classic Italian design. We wanted to create a striking yet elegant barrel-shaped vessel. There are a lot of pedestals on the market, but none quite like ours. In addition to the design being a departure from the majority of pedestals out there, Veneto is carved from single blocks of solid multi-color onyx. It’s really a one-of-a-kind sculpture that includes a cavity in the back to accommodate a light source that enhances the luminosity of the architectural form.
EA | Where do you get your inspiration for designing? Are different cultural background than your own an often used source of that inspiration? Art? Architecture? Nature?
SF | We draw inspiration for our designs from a variety of sources, including nature, classic Italian and other European design, modern architecture and forms, Asian influences and more. Many of our pieces have a minimal design aesthetic. We’re not trying to be “Zen” or “contemporary”; the clean lines are simply adaptable to a variety of decorating schemes and let the stone’s natural beauty shine through. More than anything, though, we have to draw inspiration from each and every piece of stone that we use. We start with a basic form in mind, but often have to adapt to best meet the unique aesthetic and structural qualities of the stone.
EA | Designing in between fulfilling functionality and free, artistic form-finding, where do you see your work? Which one comes before the other, how do they come together?
SF | Our design philosophy lands right about in the middle of functionality and art. There’s no doubt we want to create one-of-a-kind pieces that are artistically beautiful in their own right. That’s what we’re known for and why many people come to us. But to be competitive in the marketplace we also have to place an equal amount of importance, may be even more, on making sure our products perform with the best of the best on the market. Let’s face it, a beautiful stone sink or tub quickly loses its appeal if it leaks. Art and functionality have to go hand-in-hand, and we enjoy the challenge of making products that serve both purposes.
EA | What was special/difficulty in the process of creating this collection? Are there any technical difficulties you had to master for mass production and how did you do it?
SF | The Veneto Pedestal’s descending taper design was carefully thought out. You have to remember that we’re working with solid stone. So in creating these pieces we have to make sure that the taper is enough to create a striking visual effect, but not so much that it makes the piece top-heavy. We feel that we have accomplished a well-balanced and striking design. As mentioned before, we also have to work with the unique aesthetic and other qualities of each piece of stone. The key is to make sure we are capturing the full extent of the stone’s beauty in each piece. In terms of “mass production,” our pedestals and other solid stone products are created one piece at a time.