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The Maker

Marble.Partners

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The Maker

Marble.Partners

Marble.Partners is that rare thing – a business that is completely sustainable, creating products that are effortlessly beautiful. Making furniture from off cuts and salvaged marble, and decorative items carved from the purest white marble, their work is rooted in good design and high-end art using waste pieces of precious stone. A collaboration between Mia Castenskjold, Klaus Weiskopf and Stefan Zschernitz – the company is based in London, but draws on the varied, international experiences of its founders.

Klaus, Stefan and Mia
What are your backgrounds and what made you want to set up Marble Partners?

Both Mia and Stefan have a background in fashion while Klaus’s background is in art. Mia is a Danish communications consultant, Stefan a German photographer and Klaus a South Tyrollean sculptor.

 

What's the biggest thing you've learnt?

Marble.Partners is such a niche business that we could not really find any advice on how to start and build it up. We did speak to people in the industry but had to find out that our vision for Marble.Partners wouldn’t fit with their usual business strategies. In many fields we had to become the experts ourselves because we are so particular about what we want Marble.Partners to be. There was no recipe for it, we had to come up with one ourselves.

How do the different types of marble vary in the way you have to work with them?

Each marble has its own characteristics. Some are more crumbly while other seem almost buttery when you cut them. There are so many varieties, and all behave in different ways so we still get surprised whenever we get new off-cuts in.

 

What's the most interesting thing you've learnt about marble?

We always try to identify and learn about each marble we work with and some are really difficult to find information about. One of the most interesting things we learned is that stones can smell in different ways when you work with them.

What informs the different combinations that make up a piece?

Given the fact that we purchase batches of off-cuts and aren’t able to see what each palette consists of, its very much a new exciting chapter we start every time we produce a table. We focus on our own sense of colour and taste to some degree. Trying to keep a consistent system when choosing the colours – either shades of the table colour or a strict combination of certain colours. Some products are more subtle, some are more bonkers. Marble is such a rich material, you have to respect that it is enough in itself. We believe in keeping it as clean and pure as possible, not adding but allowing the material space to be seen.

What has been the biggest challenge with starting a new company? What advice would you give someone thinking of setting up their own business?

We started Marble.Partners as a side project and working on it evenings and weekends means that everything takes much longer than anticipated. Working towards the launch, we got a little impatient and thought that setting goals and deadlines would speed things up. We soon realised that it only led to us being stressed which took the joy out of things. We had to accept that building a business on the side takes time but that as long as we kept moving forward, it was good enough for us, even though progress was slow sometimes.

Where do you look for inspiration?

We find a lot of inspiration in our different backgrounds and references. And the way that we all filter London is different. We are all constantly researching. Klaus has probably the broadest knowledge of things and finds references in the most unexpected fields.

It’s actually almost impossible to sum up our inspiration in one sentence. We are all very visual and think very aesthetically. Inspiration comes from an exhibition at the Tate to walking in the park… speaking with a stranger in the queue in the off-licence to researching the colour red. We are all researchers and this keeps us inspired.

I would say this is one of the things we never question or lack. We inspire each other.

Who do you admire for their sense of aesthetic?

The Bauhaus movement is an inspiration we all three have in common. Not only for its aesthetics but also because of the passion behind it. We are also big Carlo Scarpa fans.

What’s your favourite design classic?

The Louisianna Museum’s architecture

Erno Goldfinger’s house on 2 Willow Road

Arne Jacobsen’s Vola taps (in brass)

Enzo Mari’s animal jigsaw puzzle

What would be a dream project for you?

To collaborate on a bigger project like building a school, hotel or community space. The thought of creating a space where we would consult on the emotional as well as the aesthetic would be a dream because we could bring all our different skills to the forefront.

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