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source: Nerosicilia 

| Designbest editorial staff

L

ava stone quarried from the slopes of Mount Etna; this is Nerosicilia, a precious stone, although it’s equally the name of a brand that built its success on this precise stone. A firm that finds its strength in a volcano, Nerosicilia’s origins in fact lie in Sicily and in this natural material.

Nerosicilia’s history is formed by a passion for your work, great expertise and constant research, besides it’s intrinsically linked to its territory. In Sicily, the largest mosaic deposit in the world, many years ago, someone decided to bring to light the ancient art of mosaic.

This person was Biagio Amarù, the CEO of a brand with considerable entrepreneurial experience in Sicily that for many years, has been at the service of the top ceramic manufacturers.  

His personal history consists of business acumen, passion and strong ties to his territory. Biagio Amarù is in fact an ambitious forward-thinker: he dreams of redeeming "his Sicily" and is determined to do everything in his power to bring out the island’s true identity, history and culture. The subject is familiar and he has a strong desire to find innovative solutions to best express the reality in which he lives: Biagio Amarù begins to look for new materials, Sicilian design projects as well as to increasingly strengthen the strong ties with his territory and origins. And this is how Nerosicilia was born.

"We have introduced a certain type of mass-produced craftsmanship," Biagio Amarù explains, "in other words, the ability to manufacture one-of-a-kind pieces as well as mass-produced ones”. Hence the collaboration with two Sicilian art directors, Massimo Barbini and Giovanni Salerno, and the choice to opt for the lava stone from Mount Etna mined from the quarries around Catania.

This material is unlike any other, in fact it consists of ancient lava flow that dates back to the seventeenth century and is meticulously handpicked and transported to Comiso, where it’s subsequently processed in special patented ovens. This extensive labour-intensive process transforms the original grey lava into a new, exclusive material (equally natural) available in different shades. In comes in five different textures and in the same number of shades: laNera, laRoccia, la enneUno, enneDue and enneTre that are joined to the "mother" version laGrigia.

Nerosicilia has the same density of the Sicilian territory and in addition, it describes its colours, scents as well as the island’s tough and wild nature. Each collection is inspired by the island’s spirit and proposes new perspectives, thanks to a collaboration with several international companies and designers such as Piero Lissoni, studio Jpelab, Capellini, Boffi and Paola Lenti, who were asked to create new styles in close partnership with Nerosicilia’s craftsmen.

Every year, the story that Nerosicilia writes on the lava stone grows in length, producing modern inspirations. Shaping a natural material and translating it into products that are on the verge of art and design, is a decidedly innovative move and one that proves to be a winner.

Here, the attention to detail speaks for itself and is the feature that stands out the most: recycled glass, upcycled from PCs and TV screens, forms unique decorations and combined with the lava, creates different colours, whereas the various cuts in the sheets form extraordinary graphic displays. Similarly to those by Piero Lissoni, who with Palazzo evokes with a new stylistic language, traditional wooden and marble floors and transforms the traditional styles into a sort of precious lava filigree. Or alternatively, the embroidery by studio Jpeglab that creates sensual, iridescent surfaces with lace. In Paola Lenti's hands, on the other hand, lava is transformed into a large Origami, an extraordinary type of floor that decorates itself thanks to oxidised lava and the vibrant tones of the heterogeneous slabs.

Nerosicilia’s creative potential is endless and the current result is under everyone's eyes: extraordinary surfaces that have a bold aesthetic and perform technically too. This is certainly due to the high quality and stylistic versatility of the lava stone. Although, it’s especially the material’s soul that adds value to the collections. The name Nerosicilia itself is a clear connection to the territory and to a volcano known throughout the world as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "Black as cool lava, Sicily as the source from which everything originates," Biagio Amarù proudly explains.

What you are able to achieve with the lava stone from Mount Etna you won’t achieve with any other materials. Hence, the uniqueness of a product entirely “Made in Italy”, or rather “Made in Sicily” that has crossed borders and has arrived overseas. An example? One of the first lava stone facades in New York City is by Nerosicilia.

 

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