Matter of Stuff: A Study in Marble and Metal

PORT meets Alessandro Zambelli andStudio Uufie to discuss the London Design Festival 2016 partnership between luxury lifestyle hotel ME London and creative studio Matter of Stuff  

London Design Festival regularly leads to collaborations between designers and unlikely clientele, often with varying degrees of success. This year saw the coming together of ME London and creative studio Matter of Stuff, who commissioned six international designers – Alessandro Zambelli, Nina Cho, Olga Bielawska, Tim Vanlier, Tomas Libertiny and Studio Uufie – to produce elegant furniture in marble and metal . The collection displayed not only the distinctive styles of the designers involved, but a progression in their own skills as a result of the project. Here, PORT catches up with designers Alessandro Zambelli and Studio Uufie, as their creations went on display at ME London.

Alessandro Zambelli

Alessandro Zambelli for ME London
Alessandro Zambelli for ME London

What is your philosophy when it comes to design and approaching collaborations like this?

Alessandro Zambelli: Every time I try to explore new processes; I am particularly interested in doing research through my work. I have found inspiration for Marque’ in the Art Decò, preserving the principles of ebonistic inlays, translated in metal.

How did you ensure that ‘inner-soul’ enlivened this project?

AZ: I am pleased that this project unveils an inner soul. It’s very much a personal process that makes me look for new form and concepts, while reminiscing about old memories.

Why did you choose to bring oxidation into your process of design for this project?

AZ: I find the oxidation of metal a very fascinating process and it is one that I have never approached before. It has been interesting not to have the complete management over the process of transformation of the material. While in the past we used to plan every result, in this case the essence of metal has dictated the chromatic and decorative rules. I have simply given order to this freedom.

Studio Uufie

Studio Uufie for ME London
Studio Uufie for ME London

What did you hope to achieve in your collaboration with Matter of Stuff?

Studio Uufie: It gave us the opportunity to focus on pieces that would reflect our experience of being in a concentrated environment with five other designers in the picturesque countryside and seaports of Italy. The collaboration allowed us to have pieces that were both experimental, but highly detailed in production through Italian craftsmanship.

How did you utilise the metals that were made available to you?

SU: We used several metal production techniques (welding, spinning, CNC cutting) to produce three different tables in copper, brass and aluminium. Using both solid wood and solid metal, liquid metal application is used to blend the two materials seamlessly. By pushing the quality of both materials, there is a sense of unreality in how the table is made.

Why did you choose the echo as a source of inspiration for your collection?

SU: The table is inspired by many sources, such as nature, but mostly by our shared experience during the residency in Italy. We used the analogy of ‘echo’ to show how the design is reminiscent of this feeling of serenity and astonishment. Also, how the two materials (wood and metal) can ‘echo’ each other to create harmony.

The collaboration between ME London and Matter of Stuff is on display at ME London,  336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA until 27th September 2016