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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

This course is aimed at transferring to the students attending the second year of the graduation course in Industrial Design a critical awareness for what regards the contemporary use of stone and wood in product design, interior design and urban furnishings.
The specific areas of interest in this course are: the identification and comprehension of contemporary expressive codes in stone design applied to architecture, product design and interior design; the knowledge of physical and market-sector characteristics of both materials, of bonding techniques between the two and of what should be considered an appropriate use in design, in relation to these parameters; the exploitation of new digitalized design techniques and the relative formal and functional potentialities; the acquisition of specific knowledge regarding the production process, through day trips to manufacturing companies, quarries and laboratories; the project of a final exhibition of the student works as an integrated part of the process that leads from project to prototype and presentation/communication, as it normally occurs in the professional life of a designer.


Besides the passing of all preparatory exams, it is required that the students have already developed the ability to express their ideas visually through hand drawing and computer graphics. Skills in 2D and 3D design and basic rendering skills must have been previously acquired. It is necessary to have the ability to collect ideas and arrange them in a thinking scheme in order to translate notions into a logical analytical design process.

It is required that students attending this course are fluent in Italian language.

Course programme

The course is dedicated the study and the technical-formal project of design elements in which stone will be collaborating with other materials, such as wood, metal, glass, resins. The possibility of developing hybrid projects, in which materials that are different by physical, mechanical and aesthetic qualities, will be encouraged.

Aim of this course is in fact to verify the possibility of effectively bringing these kind of projects to the market, determining how companies with specialization on different materials can work together and profitably manufacture and distribute such projects on an wide scale.

The project brief given to the students will be wide enough to comprehend very different product typologies, ranging from architectural elements, such as walls and columns, to fixed furnishings and mobile furniture for domestic use. The goal is to interpret the specific potential linked to each material and develop along a rational guideline an innovative product or set of products that respond to formal, spatial and aesthetic criteria together with feasibility and marketability.

Didactic methods

Teachings are developed along the following schedule, made of separate but interlinked phases.

1. Analysis of proprieties of materials
A series of lessons and relative exercises regarding material. Lessons will regard:
A. Geology. Moving from the role of materials in architecture and in contemporary design, it will be possible to understand how geological, chemical and commercial characteristics of different stones have determined different applications. Italian stones and Italian stone design through the centuries will be the main focus.

B. Other Materials. Monographic lessons will be dedicated to some of the main materials that can be utilized together with stone, such as wood, glass, metals and polymers. Each one will be presented from both a chemical and mechanical point of view.

2. Research
The application of stone (also in combination with other materials) in contemporary architecture and design will be thoroughly studied conducting individual and group exercises. The assignments will be presented in the form of a booklet containing a critical examination of one famous architecture or product.

3. The project

Based on the lithotypes and on the other assigned materials, each group, after having studied physical-mechanical characteristics and expressive potential, will identify the best product typologies to investigate based on the given materials and combining possibilities. At this point the designing process begins.

4. Design lab

The central and widest portion of the course will be dedicated to designing and will be carried out partly in class, with weekly revisions of the projects, and partly in the prototype lab where scaled physical models will be developed. The process will also involve lectures by visiting teachers and interventions by technicians and company owners who operate in the various product/material sectors.

5. 3D design course

Along with the other activities of the course, a series of lessons will be dedicated to the learning of the Evolve software by Altair, which is indicated in stone design for its precision in designing solids and surfaces that can be immediately saved as .stl files and transferred to CNC machinery.

6. Prototyping

The final phases will regard the production of physical models, using the tools of the prototype lab, and when possible, also the technologies of sponsoring companies. The final outputs of the course (drawings, renderings, models and eventually other communicational material such as videos) will be showcased at the end of the semester in a public exhibition inside the spaces of Palazzo Tassoni.

Learning assessment procedures

The final evaluation of the profit each student will have obtained from this course, is based on the proficiency in each of the phases above. The final discussion of the project requires each student to present: the booklet developed during the research phase, the project as a set of tables (two vertical posters in 70X100 cm format mounted on polyplat ) and a physical model. Frequency and advancements in the use of the Evolve software will also concur in determining the final grade.

Reference texts

Francesco Rodolico, Le pietre delle città d'Italia, Firenze, Le Monnier, 1952, pp. 501;
Raniero Gnoli, Marmora romana, Roma, Edizioni Dell'Elefante, 1971, pp. 289;
Giorgio Blanco, Dizionario dell'architettura di pietra, vol. 1, Roma, Carocci, 1999, pp. 300;
David Dernie, New stone architecture, Londra, Laurence King, 2003, pp. 240;
Alfonso Acocella, L'architettura di pietra. Antichi e nuovi magisteri costruttivi, Lucca-Firenze, Lucense-Alinea, 2004, pp. 623;
Piero Primavori, Il Primavori. Lessico del settore lapideo, Verona, Zusi, 2004, pp. 415;
Alfonso Acocella, Stone architecture. Ancient and modern construction skills, Milano, Skira, 2006, pp. 623;
Francesco Girasante, Domenico Potenza (a cura di), Dalla pietra all'architettura, Foggia, Claudio Granzi, 2006, pp. 119;
Giuseppe Fallacara, Verso una progettazione stereotomica. Towards a stereotomic design, Roma, Aracne, 2007, pp. 187;
Giorgio Blanco, Manuale di progettazione. Marmi e pietre, Roma, Mancosu, 2008, pp. 1140;
Vincenzo Pavan (a cura di), Litico, etico, estetico, Milano, Motta, 2009, pp. 157;
Christian R. Pongratz, Maria Rita Perbellini, Cyber stone. Innovazioni digitali sulla pietra,Roma, Edilstampa, 2009, pp. 94;
Alfonso Acocella, Davide Turrini (a cura di), Travertino di Siena. Sienese travertine, Firenze, Alinea, 2010, pp. 303;
Carlo A. Garzonio, Franco Montanari, Maria C. Torricelli, Pietra Serena. Qualità del prodotto e sostenibilità ambientale, Melfi, Librìa, 2010, pp. 93;
Christina Conti, Progettare con le pietre arenarie. Materiali, tecniche, architettura, Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna, Maggioli, 2011, pp. 164;
Vincenzo Pavan (a cura di), Glocal stone, San Giovanni Lupatoto, Arsenale, 2011, pp. 159.