In an era saturated with visual input and messages in transit, how can a company set itself apart, creating an authentic bond with its audience? NEUTRA, a company specialized in the production of marble furnishings, responded to this question during the latest Milano Design Week with a courageous initiative. Rather than sticking with traditional schemes, NEUTRA chose to abandon the customary design locations, creating an immersive experience inside the MEET Digital Culture Center, a facility set aside for expressive developments that rely on new technologies. A statement of intent that underlines the value of experimenting with new languages and approaches with which to communicate the essence of a brand.

In this unconventional scenario, marble was transformed from a simple material into the protagonist of a choral narrative, to convey the visions of eight leading players in the field of international design: atelier oï, Draw Studio, Foster+Partners, Gabriele & Oscar Buratti, Mario Bellini, Migliore+Servetto, Nespoli e Novara, Zaha Hadid Architects. The result was an exhibition pathway on multiple levels, a multisensory exploration in which marble revealed its essence through forms, lights, sounds and visual impressions.

To the edge of matter exposition by NEUTRA, design atelier oï e Draw Studio

The installation curated by the studio Migliore+Servetto transformed the spaces of MEET into a place in which to experience marble with all the senses. “You can see the material, but above all you can also touch it and listen to it,” said the art director Ico Migliore. Listening was the central factor in an installation that concluded the exhibition itinerary: a space where thanks to a 360° video and a sound system created for the occasion by the sound artist NEUNAU (Sergio Maggioni), visitors could be immersed in the sounds produced by the material itself. An experience generated by the fusion between the physical essence of marble and the infinite potential of multimedia research. This combination made it possible to “grant a voice” to the material, discovering its expressive force and wealth of different narratives.

By choosing to make an appearance in an unusual place for design, NEUTRA transformed the MEET Digital Culture Center of Milan into an exceptional stage on which to celebrate the timeless beauty of marble. On the ground floor, an impressive multimedia installation welcomed visitors with a dynamic skyline, framing the Erosion collection by Zaha Hadid Architects. Here the Minera table and the Branch console, sculpted from a single block of Carrara marble, embodied the primordial force of nature and the master craftsmanship of NEUTRA.

Tavolo Minera by NEUTRA, design Zaha Hadid Architects

Vasca Palma by NEUTRA, design Foster + Partners

“These furnishings are a tribute to the intrinsic beauty of natural stone, and its metamorphosis over time,” said Stefano Paiocchi, senior associate of Zaha Hadid Architects. On the first floor, inside the gallery New Marble Landscapes, the furnishings created by Foster+Partners, Mario Bellini and Migliore+Servetto established a dialogue with projections of landscapes. An example? The marble bathtub inspired by a petal floating on the water, designed by Foster+Partners for the luxurious Palm Flower residential project in Dubai.

As in a treasure chest, a repository of the historical memory of marble, in the space called The matter archive the Adym bookcase and table by Gabriele & Oscar Buratti, in Verde Alpi, fully illustrated the sculptural power of the material. In the third gallery, The mirroring effect, the boundaries of the space were dissolved thanks to games of reflections created by the Vivera and Cavo mirrors by Migliore+Servetto, combined with the Minimal M6 washstands by Nespoli e Novara. An invitation to look beyond the surface, to discover the beauty of interstitial zones.

The mirroring effect exposition by NEUTRA, design Migliore+Servetto e Nespoli e Novara

Sistema componibile di tavoli bassi Micelio by NEUTRA, design atelier oï

To complete the sensorial experience, in the last setting, To the edge of matter, a digital moonscape enveloped visitors, prompting them to reconsider their perception of time and space. In this evocative scenario, furnishings by Draw Studio and atelier oï, playing with proportions and contrasting materials, became an integral part of a dreamy multimedia installation.

“To work with stone, a material that has been formed over a span of millions of years, has taught us the value of a slow pace, the need to give the creative process time to develop and ripen,” commented Mattia Albicini, co-founder of Draw Studio. Armand Louis of atelier oï, on the other hand, emphasized the charm of working with an imposing material like marble, managing to fill it with a sense of lightness and movement, poetically expressed in the Micelio tables and the Révérence lamp.

Divano due posti La Grande Muraglia Outdoor by NEUTRA, design Mario Bellini

The echoes of the NEUTRA event have spread beyond the boundaries of Design Week: until 30 September a selection of the brand’s outdoor furnishings, coordinated by the award-winning chefs Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini, transform the garden of the gourmet restaurant VÒCE Aimo e Nadia, at Piazza della Scala, into an urban oasis. The unrivaled protagonist: the new La Grande Muraglia Outdoor collection by Mario Bellini, in an elegant game of contrasts with the Leaf table by Luca Martorano and custom tables in travertine.