The art and craft of marble since 1963
Decormarmi was founded in the early 1960s but its history began years earlier with the technical, artistic, and entrepreneurial education of its founder, Danilo Farinon. In the Chiampo Valley, part of the Berici Hills in the province of Vicenza where stoneworking is a tradition dating to the ancient Romans and continuing through the Renaissance to the present day, the young Danilo enrolled in the local arts and professional school founded in 1904. Along with marbleworking techniques, he studied art history, drawing, and sculpture, acquiring the cultural foundation that still inspires his own work and his company’s achievements.
Continuity and innovation from one generation to the next
Over time Danilo passed on his vision and expertise, and the stewardship of his company, to his children: Marco heads up production, Alessandra takes care of marketing, and Gabriella is the sales director. This generational turnover even extended to the children of some of Danilo’s earliest employees, a mark of continuity and common embrace of an ongoing project: to explore the infinite possibilities and meanings of marble and stone, combining the traditional with brand new techniques.
Artisanal values for the contemporary world
In the 1960s, Danilo Farinon literally built his workshop with his own hands. Italy’s “economic boom” was in full swing, and as the country modernized, expanded its horizons, and brought its style to the world, Danilo saw new opportunities. What he did not do was give in to the temptation of industrialized mass production. Instead, he stayed true to a concept of artistic creation and handiwork, including for major, large-scale projects like the Seat of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel, inspired by classical and Renaissance architecture and built with hands from the artisan community of the Chiampo Valley.
In harmony with architects and designers
From the outset, Decormarmi has also been known for working hand in hand with architecture and design studios. This strength is channelled into the innovative brand Kreoo, an extensive collection of household goods in which Decormarmi’s craftsmanship and technical excellence meet the design prowess of Enzo Berti, Marco Piva, Matteo Nunziati, and other internationally prestigious names, presented at the world’s largest design fairs such as the Salone del Mobile in Milan and ICFF in New York.
• What are your values and inspirations, as a businessman and as a person?
Decormarmi is a reflection of the love I have always felt for marble and sculpture. As a child, when I went to Mass, I would gaze at the statues and dream of becoming a sculptor myself. At the Chiampo Scuola di Arte e Mestieri I had the fortune to meet a true master, Mr. Fontana, who taught me to properly cultivate this passion. I learned to appreciate the essence of marble and other stone materials, studied drawing and modelling by hand, and grew to love art history. Most of all, I learned that beauty is the result of great dedication, work, and sacrifice. But in my view, work done lovingly is never a struggle.
• Tell us about starting your company and how it’s grown.
When I finished school, I asked one of my sisters for money to buy a train ticket to Vicenza, put on my finest trousers and went to see an artisan, who asked me to start working in his shop right away. I didn’t hesitate: I ruined my good blue pants, but I’d found my dream job. I woke up every morning at 4:30 and got home at 10 o’clock at night, but I was happy. Then I founded Decormarmi: I was 24 years old and had four machines. My first important job was a marble portal in Ventimiglia; then jobs started coming in from abroad, like the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, a building bigger than the Parthenon. There have been many, many long-lasting partnerships with architecture firms and clients, relationships of great human as well as professional value. Sure, I’ve gone through difficult times as well, like in the early 1970s when I decided to leave the company I had created with my siblings and go off on my own. But I have never felt lonely: my wife has always supported me, and three of my four children have joined Decormarmi to continue my life’s work.
• What do you see in Decormarmi’s future?
The world we live in is completely different from when I started working, but Decormarmi has three things on its side: experience, the ability to deal with change, and the “made in Italy” mindset that combines creativity, quality, and innovation. These are values that Decormarmi transmits for example with Kreoo, a contemporary design brand geared in part to the contract market, but they are a constant in all our creations. With these values at heart, I think we’ll always be able to shape our future in new and exciting ways, day after day.