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A@W Newsletter

The appeal of Italian craftsmanship for the UK market

30 September 2021

Design Driven Ltd is a specialist in marble, natural stone and mosaic, with a mission to export Italian craftsmanship to the UK, something embodied by the two innovative brands it partners with: Grassi Pietre and Friul Mosaic.



Vicenza stone from Grassi Pietre in the new flagship store of high-end Italian furniture manufacturer Rimadesio.
© Courtesy of Rimadesio 



Design Driven Ltd, which supplies materials for the design and building industry, was set up in 2006 by Michele Leone with a vision to bring Italian craftsmanship in marble, natural stone and mosaic to the UK. The company partners with two companies, Grassi Pietre and Friul Mosaic, both with different products, backgrounds and approaches but who share a passion for innovation and tradition.


Vicenza stone, which Grassi Pietre extracts and processes from its own quarries in the Berici Hills near Venice is mentioned in The Four Books of Architects by celebrated Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The tomes, which date back to the 1500s, are widely regarded as the cornerstone of architectural education. Today, this fourth generation family firm combines craftsmanship and technological innovations such as the patenting of Pietranova, an agglomerate of Vicenza Stone and white Portland cement, and Alpi 4.0, which is produced with Grigio Alpi and Grigio Argento stone.



Rimadesio’s store in the heart of London’s West End features Grigio Argento Vicenza stone, chosen for its ability to beautifully tonally complement other materials such as wood and bronze.
© Courtesy of Rimadesio 



The company’s Vicenza stone was recently chosen for the UK flagship store of leading Italian furniture brand Rimadesio. Located on London’s Wigmore Street, large scale elements of Grigio Argento Vicenza stone adorn the floors and perimeter walls of the 300 sq.m space designed by architect Giuseppe Bavuso. The stone was also selected for a stunning cantilevered staircase.


Friul Mosaic, meanwhile, started 40 years ago but continues the longstanding Italian tradition of mosaic making and craftsmanship. Each project starts with a brief from the customer, to which Friul Mosaic’s design team responds. They will research the combination of materials required and create drawings to ensure the initial ideas can be successfully realised to become the finished product. 



Friul Mosaic was started forty years ago with each commission tailor made using the team’s mosaic technique and craftsmanship.
© Courtesy of Friul Mosaic



There are examples of Friul Mosaic’s work in hotels, private homes and luxury brands’ spaces. A recent project is Dolce & Gabbana’s boutique in Paris, a masterpiece in marble tesserae and Venetian enamel, gold and silver which is a mosaic representation of the coronation of the Emperor Napoleon and his wife Josephine from a painting by Francois Gerard.



The Dolce & Gabbana store designed by architect Eric Carlson of  design studio Carbondale features Friul Mosaic work, inspired by a painting of the coronation of Emperor Napoleon.
© Alessandra Chemollo



In partnering with Grassi Pietre and Friul Mosaic, Design Driven Ltd combines the finest Italian craftsmanship in Natural Stone and Mosaic, with London-based project management and installation, to offer a tailor made service for its clients. 

The appeal of Italian craftsmanship for the UK market
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