After two years of painstaking research, culminating in the in-house development of a specific production technology, Budri has launched the exclusive and revolutionary eyewear collection of marble and precious stones.
The original, daring idea of marble eyewear originated in August 2011, during works on the Natfuse project. A piece of marble was accidentally dropped and the shape of the resulting fragment resembled the front of a frame. This heralded the start of an increasingly ambitious and sensational challenge: to forge marble into a wearable accessory.
Each frame is produced from a large slab of marble first and a full marble subsequently. Only the very best part of it is selected. Countless steps of processing and handcraft are necessary to achieve the final, extraordinary result.
Products in the marble industry generally weigh a matter of tonnes, so the aim of achieving an accessory weighing between 39-42 grams with a thickness measured in tenths of mm was truly ground-breaking.
Other materials used for eyewear are ductile and malleable, while the use of inflexible, brittle, heavy marble involved a whole complex of problems to be overcome.
The project required large investments in state-of-the-art software and technology and the creation of a team of artisans and specialists to work solely on the constant development of the product, from technical design to creative design and styling.
Due to the complexity of the material itself, making eyewear in marble, demands constant research and experimentation, not necessary with other materials. The type of marble selected by Budri are obtained from quarries situated in different parts of the world. Therefore processing a new material means dealing with its specific unknown , unpredictable characteristics. to handle these challenges the Budri eyewear laboratory employees skilled artisans,, chemists and geologists who study the stone’s porosity, strength, absorbency and reaction.
SKILLED HANDCRAFT AND TECHNOLOGY
The starting material for marble eyewear is a huge quarried block. This is then cut into slabs, which we select and test with latest-generation equipment to extrapolate only the very best parts for use for eyewear production. The resulting small marble block undergoes a sophisticated milling-cutting process to produce a solid piece, from which the shape of the glasses frame is cut.
The second phase is the shaping, first on the outside and then on the inside, of the frame and earpieces.
The next phase is the personalization of the earpiece and optimization of the frame to accommodate the ZEISS lenses, the nose pads and the titanium hinges. The process concludes with shaping of the recess in the earpiece which is to take the logo, assembly, adjustment, and the final finishing, polishing and texturing procedures.
The perfect synergy, a collaboration between designer and craftsman. Valerio Cometti, engineer and designer, and the team headed by Gianmarco Budri, pioneer of the most extreme marble craftsmanship.
“Conceptually, the idea of taking such a solid, heavy, rigid material and making it plastic, lightweight and almost fluid, was for me simply irresistible from the outset” states Valerio Cometti. “The extremely rigid nature of the material meant that the design stage required an incredibly high level of precision, far greater than ever seen before in the field of eyewear. Those who know me also know how close an interest I take in the manufacturing and planning underlying the design. I view materials as the training ground of design, the tools used to develop and strengthen a project. Over the years, we have worked with a wide array of metals and alloys, carbon fibre, petrified wood, crystal, engineered polymers and even dried palm leaves: with each project we have relished the opportunity to work with the material, as opposed to working ‘against’ it. The use of marble in this challenge turned our framework of reference upside down, forcing us to invent a new way of designing and producing eyewear. What does that mean? Anxiety? Uncertainty? Nothing could be further from the truth! It means excitement, it means being willing to challenge ideas, to shake off any vestige of hubris. I believe this is the first step in a very long journey: we have only just begun to appreciate the potential of this material in the field of eyewear and we have scores of exciting ideas for the forthcoming collections.
“Honouring this material, loving its history and expanding its scope of use, all the while respecting it, is part of my life’s work.”, continues Gianmarco Budri. “When I rest my hand on a block of marble I am acutely aware of the strength that it expresses, but also the delicacy that it can convey through the expert hands of the craftsman. Countless different spirits lie concealed in each giant block of marble. I like to be able to free them producing an eyewear model in marble, turning the designer’s idea into reality is a real provocation: challenging the weight and rigidity of stone, honing it, smoothing it, shaping it into the tiniest details and seeing it flex is simply extraordinary.”