Online | Design

Marbera Q&A

Paris, France

Laura Torregrossa and her partner Cyril Zbirou set up Marbera in Paris to bring a sculptural, contemporary edge to stone furniture, from candy pink onyx to textural travertine. Here, Toregrossa explains more about how her family heritage and background made Marbera feel like an inevitability; and why stone is “nature’s art”

DESIGN ANTHOLOGY UK: What’s your background, and why did you set up Marbera?

Laura Torregrossa: Marbera came to life four years ago, and its creation is closely tied to my personal history. My Italian grandfather and great-grandfather were master artisans in marble craftsmanship; my mother is an architect; and my father is the owner of a bespoke carpentry company, based in Italy. Fuelled by a deep passion for design, decoration and furniture, the idea of establishing my own brand to offer timeless creations that bring together all these passions felt almost inevitable.

Having initially studied communications, I later worked in events and real estate. However, the desire to create a brand with a distinct identity, seamlessly blending fashion, lifestyle and marble, became a driving force. The goal was clear: infuse the image of marble with a modern and contemporary Parisian touch through Marbera.

Marbera's showroom in Paris
Laura Torregrossa and Cyril Zbirou

DA: Can you explain where Marbera’s raw materials come from?

LT: We procure our stones from various quarries around the world. Classic marble and travertine are sourced from Italy, while our semi-precious stones, including onyx, are obtained from quarries in Iran, Turkey, Asia, Brazil, Mexico and other regions.

DA: What do you look for in a good piece of stone or marble?

LT: We seek impressive colours and veins in a good piece of stone or marble, envisioning each slice harmonising with other materials like wood and textiles. The paramount criterion is to develop an emotional connection and fall in love with a piece. In essence, it’s nature’s art.

DA: Are there technical difficulties with making your pieces? They look so simple, but is that deceptive?

LT: Absolutely! Despite their seemingly simple appearance, working with marble poses technical challenges. Marble, being a natural stone, is inherently heavy and fragile. The production and rendering aspects are showcased, but the intricate logistics, encompassing craftsmanship, transportation and installation, are highly technical and complex. Fortunately, we have a dedicated, professional team surrounding us, making the entire process achievable.

The paramount criterion we look for is to develop an emotional connection and fall in love with a piece. In essence, it's nature's art
Bobi stool in pink onyx
Gaia table in Calacatta viola marble
Gaia table in travertine
Dolce stool in green oxyx

DA: What’s the inspiration behind the pieces?

LT: Our primary goal is to craft timeless, minimalist pieces that captivate and, above all, celebrate the beauty of stone. The inspiration for our creations draws from Japanese design, fashion and architecture. We want to create design that stands the test of time and continuously resonates with an aesthetic allure.

DA: Can you explain more about how Marbera’s bespoke projects? 

LT: Bespoke projects, where we collaborate with architects, professionals, designers and individuals to create customised pieces, are a significant part of our work. As well as crafting individual custom pieces, we can also design entire furniture collections tailored to a specific project.

Our process begins with establishing a colour palette, followed by selecting the perfect stone to complement the design. We then create a precise moodboard, capturing the envisioned aesthetic. Most importantly, our bespoke projects often involve the integration of various materials, including textiles, wood and metal, to achieve a harmonious and cohesive design.

Gaia tables in a variety of stones
Marbera's palette of samples

DA: Marbera works with a few different stones, but onyx seems to dominate – why are you drawn to it?

LT: Onyx’s vivid, candy-like colours bring a unique visual dimension to our pieces, while its translucency provides the opportunity to play artistically with light, creating enchanting visual effects. Working with onyx allows us to express our creativity in a way that goes beyond the material itself, adding a touch of magic and sophistication to each creation.

DA: What’s next in store for you?

LT: We’re eagerly anticipating the launch of new collections that seamlessly blend marble with wood, featuring storage furniture and a seating collection adorned with exquisite textiles. Exciting collaborations with artists and brands are also in the pipeline. Our team is expanding, and we’re thrilled to announce a new showroom scheduled for 2024/2025, and we’re planning to establish new points of sale in the USA, the UK and the Middle East. All these endeavours mark significant steps in our journey to further grow and expand the reach of Marbera.