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Cecilia Lundbäck & Veronica Skeppe

Multilayered Materialities

The project aims to investigate the use of marbling as technique for producing illusory and idealized materials in architecture. We are interested in the ambivalence in the reading of a material that arises in illusionistic or trompe l’oeil, where one material is used to imitate another.

Historically the technique has been used to produce the appearance of the exclusive polished marble using simpler and less expensive means. Another reason for the use of marbling is its unlimited aesthetic possibilities. With marbling the decorative qualities, complexity and colors could be imagined and idealized beyond the qualities of the authentic stone. Thus, the imitation of one material using another can be said to have produced a third material - one that shifts or oscillates between different materialities. The column made of wood or cheap stone that has been painted to appear as marble is simultaneously an image (a “fake”) and a proper architectural and structural element. This poses questions of the authenticity of materiality.

Through a series of case studies, we will look closer at different examples of marbling in Rome as well as at sites in Pompei and Florence. The case studies will include accurate documentation using techniques such as 3d scanning, photography and color registration. With the use of digital tools and techniques we will seek to observe, document and understand marbling and illusionistic painting in new ways. The case studies will be put together into a small archive of digital representations and documentations of examples of Italian marbling from different times in history.

The project will also result in a written article describing the project’s findings, reflections, historical research and developed questions while touching some technical, cultural/economical as well as spatial and aesthetic aspects of marbling. The case studies mentioned will also be used as raw material for our own attempts to produce material imitations, where we as designers attempt to apply and reinterpret some of the studied strategies of material imitation and translation. With this third part of the project we wish to pose questions around the production of new material techniques and expressions in the intersection between the material and the digital, the authentic and the illusionistic.

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