If you’re anything like us when you come across such a revolutionary product, like M|R Walls, you really want to get a glimpse into the mind behind it and the things that inspire them. Our curiosity got the better of us and Mario kindly obliged. Compiled from an exclusive interview, join us in getting to know Mario Romano and the inspiration behind the innovative M|R Walls.
When Mario was a child, he had an intense vision of his future: He was a painter with long grey hair, ten dogs and ten children. Cut to today and Mario carves images into stone canvases, he has some grey hair, two cats and three kids. As Mario so aptly describes, “the writing was always on the wall. To know me now is to understand then.”
“I always wanted to both design and make, the two inseparable from one another.”
Growing up in a culinary household, Mario’s father was a chef from Italy who opened restaurants when nobody had heard of ravioli or lasagne. “These were foods from a foreign land then, now the flavours of Italian cuisine have reached the whole world. I see myself as similar in that way, bringing a new design language, an architectural aesthetic, from a foreign land – the land of nature. Nature is both the designer and the maker, like a chef, and like my vision of architectural surfaces, I always wanted to both design and make, the two inseparable from one another.”
“The most beautiful spaces we’ve experienced are natural ones.”
Inspired by the grandiose lines of nature, Mario saw the straight lines of modernism as symbolizing the domination over nature. However, with the advent of computer processing we now “see” that nature has a logic of its own and Mario saw this as a revolt against Modernism, which viewed nature as chaotic. Yet nature's lines curve, squiggle, twist, pull, attract, expand, swarm and interweave into an organisation all of their own which is more captivating, intriguing, curious and awe-inspiring and “the most beautiful spaces we’ve experienced are natural ones”.
Driven by his love of natural expressions, Mario wanted lines to continue and express over as large of an area as possible, expanding, compressing, curving or swooping, even gravitating and felt confined by the restrictions of tile which were dictating the line work. Turning limitation into innovation, Mario set out to create tools that unlocked a more expressive building language that expanded outside of the limitation of tile. The culmination of his exploration combined his design aesthetics with technology and material to achieve a revolution in design technology that brings his Gaudi-esque vision into the modern era and into the modern home. “Our whole business is built around bringing a high-end design option to everyone, both in terms of cost and implementation.”
Fitting together seamlessly like a puzzle, is one of M|R Walls secret ingredients. This unique feature moves design away from the rectangular hard lines that everyone uses and enables you to create a completely customisable, non-repetitive surface, that is unlimited in scale. Combining this with the advantages of Corian solid surface, expands its use even further. Indestructible, waterproof and easy to install and clean, Corian will stand the test of time, weather and rigorous use, whilst still retaining its beauty. This makes it ideal for almost any space from bathrooms, kitchens, interiors and exteriors even the poolside! “It's really a super material that's been around for decades, and we are now taking it to the next level to give homeowners, architects, designers, anyone, a brand new design aesthetic for their projects
“Most beauty is ephemeral, but the beauty we are creating is architectural, it doesn’t fade or age with time, it endures, protects and functions over decades. Tattoos, cars, clothing, flowers, all these fade, but not our walls. It’s beauty is different because it's permanent and this is something people know on an instinctive level, it's literally carved in stone”.
As any inventor and designer knows the exploration and innovation never ceases and Mario has been more recently working on a lot more projects that combine backlighting solutions with their M|R Wall. This adds an additional effect on top of the carving “and this extra 'paint brush' feels like we are painting with the light itself, which I love,” said Mario. “The added interplay of the light behind the material – and different coloured material too – is a new dimension all over again.” He has even had a couple of projects involving curving the material with thermoforming, which demonstrates the versatility of both M|R Walls and the designer.
When asked about his favourite project so far, Mario expressed that they are all like his children and is unable to choose a favourite, a sentiment that highlights the passion Mario puts into his creations and a uniqueness that is shared with every project.