The Italian renowned marble company Budri presents a breakthrough technology

The world of natural stones, as we know, has an unsolved relationship with the issue of sustainability. In this interview with Alessandra Malagoli Budri, Art Director of the company, we discovered a new, really interesting innovation.

Talking about sustainability in the world of natural stones is not easy.

It is a material that comes to us from mother nature, impossible to produce in a laboratory and which, even today, makes the eyes of architects, designers and marble enthusiasts shine.

The colors, the shapes, the veins. Everything about natural stones contributes to their beauty. Often, even their imperfection.

However, with increasingly strong trends in terms of sustainability and the search for more virtuous production methods, companies operating in this industry are forced to raise the bar and ask themselves how they can reduce their impact on the planet.

BUDRI _ Slim Technology _ Fragment collection by Nicolas Gwenael _ Showroom 2
© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection by Nicolas Gwenael

In this regard, we took the opportunity to talk with Alessandra Malagoli Budri, Art Director of the historic and prestigious Italian marble company BUDRI, which is about to debut on the market with a revolutionary technology named BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ developed by the in-house R&D team of the company and now available to designers and architects around the world.

The first one to take advantage of this innovative solution was the French designer Gwenael Nicolas, founder of the design studio CURIOSITY, who is going to launch during the next Milan Design Week, in collaboration with Budri, the Fragment collection.

Marble and the market, perhaps, have found a more sustainable relationship thanks to this innovation which promises to reduce the extraction of marble by at least 2/3 and, therefore, its use.

Here’s what Alessandra Malagoli Budri told us.

© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection by Nicolas Gwenael

Could you briefly introduce us to the BUDRI world? Who are you and what do you do?

Alessandra: My name is Alessandra and I am the Art Director at Budri, an Italian company which, since 1960, has specialized in working fine marbles and natural stones.

With a manufacturing facility of 8000 m2, availing of over 55 years experience in business, I feel confident at saying that our company sets the benchmark for the design, bespoke execution and installation of major projects of great complexity in all five continents.

The brand operates in niche markets with high added value, characterized by high product-quality, bespoke projects and an accurate service dedicated to clients.

BUDRI _ Slim Technology _ Fragment collection by Nicolas Gwenael _ Chandelier
© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection / Chandelier by Nicolas Gwenael

What does it mean to talk about sustainability for a company that works with marble? What are the aspects that must be taken into consideration to say whether a company is virtuous or not in this sense?

Alessandra: ‘Sustainability’ is not a word to be taken lightly, even more if you work with such a precious material, that has been evolving for millions of years and becomes more valuable every day.

Budri has always been committed to protecting the environment and natural resources.

The absolute sustainability does not exist yet, thorough process combining research and awareness gradually leads to a more sustainable approach.

© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection / Console by Nicolas Gwenael

You developed a technology named BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™. What is it exactly? Was it a fortunate innovation or a planned R&D goal? What are its advantages over current solutions?

Alessandra: BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ ® was certainly not a fortunate innovation, but a planned goal to achieve.

Budri’s first step of slim marble was awarded by the European Union Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020.

For years our Research and Development Division has been investing in technologies, techniques and composites that safeguard the value of the material.

Reducing the marbles weight to facilitate processing and installation was certainly important, however the main aim of our division was to reduce the impact on excavation, on the ecosystems and on the geo- morphological structure.

Equally important the reduction in pollution from the transport of materials.

With our BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ the weight is reduced from 60 Kg per sqm (for a thickness of 2 cm) to 9 Kg per sqm.

Considering that we started with the first steps towards sustainability in 2010 with the innovative slim marble for jewels, we have now achieved with BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ our apix in this project.

What are the applications of BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ in the world of design and architecture?

Alessandra: In the world of Design, the drastic reduction in thickness allows designers to create with a lot less barriers.

Before BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ innovation, producing for instance a marble vase, meant to start from a solid block of marble and shape it.

Today, thanks to our technology, it is possible to produce the vase in another material (e.g. wood or resin) and cover it entirely in marble, like a fabric, but keeping the same original effect of the natural stone – the same natural characteristics and beauty of the stone: colours, veins, pictorial patterns and strength.

BUDRI _ Slim Technology _ Fragment collection by Nicolas Gwenael _ Vase
© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection / Vase by Nicolas Gwenael

There is no loss in value and preciousness.

We can firmly say that we have achieved a double luxury: the luxury of working this noble material and the luxury of protecting it.

Regarding BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ for architecture, in autumn 2022 Budri will present the absolute news that will represent a real revolution in the world of vertical and horizontal marble surfaces.

Considering the current final customer of marble, do you think that BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ technology can satisfy the same material needs and expectations? Don’t you think that such a radical change – for example – in terms of weight could change the customer’s perception of marble?

Alessandra: The BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ does not change the appearance of the material at all.

So far, customers have reacted very positively to this innovation.

© BUDRI showroom – Fragment collection / Table by Nicolas Gwenael

The Fragment collection, which you will present at the next Milan Design Week, created in collaboration with the designer Gwenael Nicolas of Curiosity Tokyo, is the first made with BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™. How did you manage the creation process in these early stages? What was the designer’s response?

Alessandra: The designer’s (Gwenael Nicolas) initial idea was to develop a collection that used stone processing residuals.

The creative project comes from designing patterns that could derive from smaller marble portions of processed slabs.

Fragment – the name of the collection – takes its name from the fragments which, in this case marble rods, have been cut from slabs resulting from manufacturing processes.

The first inspirations came from marble sticks used for artistic mosaic.

Tiny and colourful rods of different size and thickness that matched together resulted in surprising textures.

Only later, when the designer became aware of the new BUDRI SLIM MARBLE™ technology (the collection was supposed to be presented in 2020, but due to Covid we will present it during the Design Week 2022 ) was not only very impressed, but also very positive in adopting this innovative system in this collection.

The designer was able to create freely: a large dining table of incredible lightness and thin and elegant wall claddings.


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