Margraf’s major investment policy in innovation and internationalization has resulted in a partnership with the famous architect Bernard Khoury, to create “Vitruvius in Quarantine,” an imposing marble installation that will make its international début in the gardens of the University of Milan, from 13 April to 24 May, during the design week and Expo 2015.
The work, designed by the Lebanese architect and created by the team of Margraf technicians and engineers, will consist of a series of marble rings shaping a 10-metre-long tunnel. At one end stands the statue of a common man, a reinterpretation of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, who desperately tries to adapt to the ideal proportions of the human body, becoming an idiomatic symbol of natural stone used in art.
On the other side of the tunnel, a video performance of that same man, played by a Syrian refugee. He is on a bed, in a studio in Karantina, a district of Beirut, Lebanon, and he is trying to mirror himself in Vitruvian Man. The man sleeps, moves, rests, appears and disappears from the scene, and lives his simple daily routine that is monitored in real time and full scale for the entire duration of the exhibition.
The circumference of the tunnel is an extrusion of the circle, that “confines” the Vitruvian Man, made in scale. Upon entering the marble tunnel, visitors need to find a balance and stability in space. Spontaneously and awkwardly, imitating the position of the Vitruvian Man, a transition starts from the morphological solidity and perfection of the classic shape, carved in stone, to the volatile nature of modern digital images, celebrating the spectacle of triviality.
Shifting from stone, the most basic material, to the absolute ubiquity of immateriality. Two periods, namely classical times and the contemporary age, put face to face thanks to Margraf.
The work of art, quite complex in its realisation, saw the participation, alongside Margraf’s team of specialised designers and engineers, of some technical partners, among which Flow, a world leader in the development of ultra-high pressure water jet cutting systems, and Linea Light for the lighting design.
- Dimensions: tunnel length 9.9 m – circle diameter 2.3 m
- Lightweight marble: special assembly techniques using honeycomb panels and external aluminium cladding were applied to make each single circle. It is an exclusive Margraf experiment whose goals is to make a marble with a thickness of just 5 mm glued to a honeycomb panel of about 10 mm, using this very same assembly technique. Moreover, Margraf is developing a system with FLOW to optimise the cutting of honeycomb with laser technology to achieve maximum yield with minimum consumption.
- Lighting: every single circle can become an independent lighting fixture. They all feature a concealed channel, shielded with transparent film, which hosts an innovative dimmable LED system (to manage the intensity of the light). This creates an effect of great scenic impact with a continuous light inside the circle of marble.
- Use of an aerospace technology platform: the tunnel rests on a platform made using a self-levelling aerospace technology that allows installing this structure on any surface with any gradient.
- Easy assembly: advanced engineering to reduce the weight of each module to a minimum. The unique design of the anchoring system for each module allows assembling the entire installation in just a few hours. Moreover, the rings have been assembled in part using a cutting-edge button fastening system (used in the naval industry) that greatly facilitates the replacement of the marble components while leaving the base structure intact.