“Something recovered is always something gained,” says Massimo Bottura. Thought becomes action when the chef with three Michelin stars and his wife Lara Gilmore, in 2015, recovered leftover food from the pavilions of Expo Milano to prepare a three-course meal, launching the non-profit association Food for Soul which uses foods from restaurants, before they are thrown away, to offer meals to people in difficulty, organizing dining halls in Milan, Bologna, Modena, Naples, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and London, soon to be joined by new locations in North and South America.
Now Piero Lissoni and Salvatori have also embraced this moral principle – inspired by Bottura’s project – through the creation of a series of tables to donate to the cause, on which to consume exceptional meals. The tables are made with the same commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, with slabs of stone salvaged from abandoned quarries around the world. From the sale of each table – all one-of-a-kind pieces, by nature – 3% of the proceeds go to the association. The rectangular and round Design for Soul tables are made with natural stone and marble that would otherwise be dumped or left abandoned in the environment.
In many cases the stone is the same type used in historic projects, like the terracotta-colored stone of the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the green marble chosen by Mies van der Rohe for the Barcelona Pavilion and the Seagram Building in Manhattan, or the black stone used for Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The slabs, after cutting, cleaning and polishing, are placed on modular, versatile legs, then glued together using the Japanese art of Kintsugi, normally used to repair broken pottery, using gold seams to emphasize rather than disguise the beauty of flaws, the unique history of every piece and every material.
This is actually an extension of the Lost Stones project launched by Piero Lissoni at the last Salone del Mobile, also with Salvatori. “I think the time has truly come for companies to understand that we can have a positive influence on the lives of others – the designer says. – Design for Soul is an example of how that is possible.” Not just support for communities, then, but also wider promotion of fairer, more responsible consumption of natural resources that now run the risk of depletion. A warning the world can no longer afford to ignore.