We sat down with Enrico Gobbi, who has wisely expressed the moods of these last two years in artworks made of marble
by Francesca Ciancio
Iridescent and elusive like the sea. Solid and concrete like stone. Enrico Gobbi’s work and passions seem to move between these two shores. More or less a year ago, the well-known architect of super- and mega-yachts, together with the company Team For Design, launched a whole new challenge for himself: a collection of marble sculptures that are a true gallery of artworks. After all, his interest in beautiful and valuable things is nothing new. The tailor-made fittings for customers describe a pattern made of light, tone-on-tone colours, and elegant details. No glitz, but minimalist and highly impactful designs. And this applied not only to large boats but also to luxurious dwellings.
A new challenge for the architect of super-and mega-yachts, founder of Team For Design, who has created a collection of marble sculptures for boats and homes.
The idea of dedicating himself to sculpture was triggered by his work as an interior designer: «For years I had been used to visiting art galleries all over the world, looking for unique pieces for my customers. Then, the outbreak of the pandemic put a brake on this practice, and more than one shipowner started to ask me to personally prepare pieces that could be suitable for their boats. The same thing happened for villas and apartments. As an architect and a Venetian, thinking first about glass and then marble was a natural choice. And that’s how my life as an artist began».
Gobbi likes to stress that it is not yet a business, but rather still a gamble, and, of course, a need for expression. The marble collection follows the Murano glass collection, both of which are the result of the unmatched craftsmanship of Venetian masters: glassmakers in the first case, stonecutters in the second.
«THE OUTBREAK OF THE PANDEMIC MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME
TO CONTINUE VISITING ART GALLERIES
TO BUY ARTWORKS,
AND THUS THE IDEA
OF CRAFTING THEM
MYSELF WAS BORN».
The collection now counts a total of seven works based on a vast array of inspirations: «All attributable to a state of mind that has a lot to do with the situation we are experiencing: the hugs we have missed out on, the strength and bravery of the warrior, the couple of lovers to celebrate love. They are all unique pieces, because, although after the initial design the blocks are milled by an automatic robot, the finishings are all handmade, which is the only way to give these sculptures a soul», as Enrico Gobbi adds. Sales are going well, but it is hard to produce more than four or five pieces a year.
Marble is increasingly trendy as a material for nautical interiors and evokes a style that was already in vogue in the 20th century when shipowners often requested stone walls inside their boats.
The goal is to reach a dozen sculptures per work, and then move on to a new collection: «From the drawing to the completion of the work, a lot of time goes by. First of all, there is the choice of the right marble block, where I check if the natural veining of the stone fits the project, then comes the actual work, at first by machine, then by man; it takes at least 4/5 months altogether». The colours are those that are most dear to Gobbi: black and white. This means drawing from the precious Italian marble quarries for the Bianco di Carrara and the Calacatta, while the Black Marquina comes from the Basque Country in Spain, although it is sold in Italy. Gobbi explains: «We have been using a company from Vicenza for some time, which knows exactly what I need for my customers. At the moment, I have chosen these two basic colours, but for the future, I am designing a more pop-inspired collection with coloured marbles».
«THE WORKS OF THE MARBLE COLLECTION CONVEY THE MOOD
OF OUR TIMES: HERE WE SEE IL GUERRIERO
Among all the works, Il Guerriero (The Warrior) has reaped the most success and it is also among the most complicated pieces because of its groove: «I think it is also my favourite work because of the idea of power and calmness it conveys to the observer at the same time. In every sculpture, I acted on two fronts: solidity and sinuosity. In some sculptures, the former prevails, while in others, it is the latter, but much also depends on the wishes of the customer. I could perhaps say that those with sharp edges and lines are more the work of an architect, while the soft ones (smiling) are the artist’s work».
Gobbi mentions his inspiration with discretion: the designer from Venice can only think of Michelangelo and his ability in giving life to marble blocks, by removing the excess material. Sculptures come from the ability to subtract, not to add something: «Borromini is also an important role model for me in the field of architecture, just like the entire lagoon city represents an open-air marble-made museum, starting with the Basilica di San Marco. Soon we will return to glass, with a dedicated collection».
«OTHER COLLECTIONS WILL FOLLOW AFTER THIS ONE, AND THEN
I WILL GO BACK
TO GLASS. I’M ALSO THINKING ABOUT
A POP COLLECTION
WITH COLOURED MARBLE».
These sculptures have been created thanks to the artisan wisdom and skill of Venetian and Tuscan marble masters.
Imagining these heavy sculptures integrated into nautical constructions remains puzzling, however large the boats may be: «And yet, this is a rising trend among shipowners, and it evokes a style from the early 20th century during which boats often flaunted large marble walls. Of course, this doesn’t make naval engineers very happy!». We were also talking about the interior design projects in which Team For Design is increasingly involved: «40 percent of our work is now dedicated to homes and hospitality venues and for some of these locations we have created sculptures of more than two meters in height. It is naturally more difficult to do this on boats because, as I always tell my customers, these works need to ‘breathe’, that is, to have a lot of space around them, and a boat, however large, is not the ideal setting».
(Enrico Gobbi, pure passion – Barchemagazine.com – May 2022)