It was a chance meeting between Costanza and Mario Marsotto and designer James Irvine that transformed a generations-old family business from being not only a supplier of Carrara marble but also a producer of striking contemporary furniture. The mission was simple: to invite a roll call of international design talent to the Marsotto-owned quarry near Verona to create a collection made entirely from the milky coloured stone. “Our dream is to use marble in everyday objects,” say the Marsottos of Marsotto Edizioni, which was launched at Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 2010. “At the same time we wish to preserve all the experience and the ancient manual techniques of our craftsmen. Some of the most brilliant international designers have participated with great enthusiasm to create a timeless collection of products.”

Under the art direction of James Irvine, Marsotto Edizioni works with ten designers including superstars Konstantin Grcic, Ross Lovegrove and David Chipperfield. “All the designers have pushed the use of marble into unexpected areas,” remarks Irvine. “Always useful yet at the same time sculptural. Faithful to the philosophy of making products totally in marble. A combination of high technology with the craftsmanship of the artisan.”

Highlights of the collection include Thomas Sandell’s Tilt console that showcases two bisecting slabs of Carrara, Joel Berg’s Luma lamp, Jasper Morrison’s series of London, Paris, Rome low tables, and Irvine’s own Connoisseur wine rack. At Salone del Mobile 2012, which took place in Milan in April, Marsotto Edizioni exhibited the latest pieces to join its collection – a series of large tables. “The table as a social hub has always been part of Marsotto’s history. For decades our artisans, guardians of tradition at the old stone mill, created the precious inlays that gave their unique character to many of the tables still used in family homes today,” write the Marsottos in the introduction to the new collection. “And now, in a different contemporary mood, we have reintroduced that object around which are performed so many daily gestures of relationships, sharing and affection.”