“We were absolute beginners in natural stone!” laughs graphic designer & illustrator Jorge Silva, who created a set of three pieces based on the visual culture of signage and pictograms. “I must admit it didn’t feel comfortable at first. Our medium is 2D and then we had to work in 3D for the first time. I was happy to meet the challenge of working with a material I was not familiar with though. Normally our work is more ephemeral - working in stone made me feel like an architect, creating for eternity.” But it was a process full of trial and error: Silva’s drawings done on a computer, in contrasting black and white, turned out to be rather grey in stone. “I had to get used to the result but in the end I was actually very happy with it. Or how a challenge can improve one’s work…”

Silva’s colleague Pedro Falcão, who made a 3D homage to the Russian avant-garde artist El Lisitski in marble, nods: “As a graphic designer you control most of the creative process. In this case we had to let that go. In this instance because we were working with a natural, living material, but also because we depended on other professionals: stoneworkers. We had total artistic freedom, but not everything we designed on computer proved to be possible exactly as we had envisaged it.” Close collaboration with the stone industry in Portugal was part of the job. All the designers involved visited a quarry in Vila Viçosa where the stone is collected, cut, ground and polished and at approximately 150 metres the deepest quarry in Portugal. “We learned that only 10% of what the stoneworkers extract is useful.” Each piece of Falcão’s homage weighs more than a ton, yet it's a fragile piece of work because none of the composites were glued – it all fits together like a puzzle.

Pedro Falcão, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
An interesting exercise for the two graphic designers, although Jorge Silva does not desire a repetition. Pedro Falcão, on the other hand, is now dreaming of monumental 3D projects for public spaces. “But perhaps in a slightly lighter material…”

Pedro Falcão, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Jorge Silva, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Jorge Silva, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Stefan Sagmeiste, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Pedro Falcão, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda
Pedro Falcão, Still Motion, Milan. © Joana Linda