MARMOR HOTAVLJE: KINGS OF STONE AGE
09 August 2021
It may be a slight exaggeration to describe Stone as the building block of the universe, as the founding substance of our planet and beyond, since the beginning of time: but it is certainly far more than a mere construction material since the Stone Age – most of the greatest monuments built by man are composed from it. Whether cool or warm, raw or varnished, whatever colour (and however much coloured), it is always incomparable and utterly special. Dealing with a substance of such magical properties cannot be learnt overnight – it takes generations of expert stonemasons slowly developing their hugely specialised skillset. This tradition began as early as 1721 (as inscribed into one of its oldest stone portals) in the Slovenian village of Hotavlje, when thrilled locals first unveiled the mineral wealth beneath their mountains, and embarked on a journey of rich tradition. By 1948, the Selak family headed the world-leading stone-cutting company created by a successful unification of all the local quarries, naturally named Marmor Hotavlje.
The knowledge, skills and genuine love for stone cutting and shaping have been passed down through generations of local stonemasons. The marble of Hotavlje, Hotaveljčan, characterized by its unique colour variation, is the traditional home source and flagship product of the company, although their diverse projects now demand that they purchase a wide variety of stone worldwide.
The company deploys stone to outfit and ornament luxury villas, palaces, super yachts, hotels, as well as other structures – not only residential but also commercial/industrial – in the form of furniture, and other objets d’art. It is their boast that when a luxury vessel is built in its own continent of Europe (and even beyond), Marmor Hotavlje will always enjoy the opportunity to bid for the project. Since the millennium, they have been a part of the development of 100+ megayachts including the Alfa Nero yacht, the Bravo Eugenia yacht and the Azzam yacht, the world’s biggest and most illustrious private mega yacht (180m). They switched to the yacht equipment industry, moving adroitly from the building sector to engineering. Tomaž Selak – “We are a company with a high added value, working mostly on unique and demanding products”.
At Thomas Mercer, we love broadening our horizons beyond our signature marine chronometers, via collaborations with leading craftsmen as they are part of our identity. After having partnered with masters in the field of hand made cabinet, leather and crystal making we knew we had to embrace stonemasonry. The essence of stone is that it conveys not only history and also permanence – in English, phrases like “Rock of Ages” and “Rock of Gibraltar” “set in stone” are metaphors for both – there are of course, parallels in other languages and cultures. Stone is in fact a perfect material from which to carve the body of a chronometer.
To illustrate the success – not only of the partnership between Marmor Hotavlje and Thomas Mercer, but also of Marmor Hotavlje’s stone skills’ extending beyond their signature stone of marble – look no further than the ground-breaking horological sculpture, the Chelys: from the Ancient Greek χέλυς, its immaculate body of rare and precious ivory onyx is convex like a tortoise-shaped lyre (Chelys). Weighing 25kg, its imposing solidity is counterbalanced by a plethora of subtle touches of aesthetic detail and horological precision.
Another example of this successful partnership – this time by joining forces with Marmor Hotavlje and also tried and trusted partners Winch Design, with their focus on the exclusive designs of the interior of mega yachts, the hand behind Dilbar yacht and Dubai yacht and the interiors of Here Comes The Sun Yacht – yet another ground-breaking piece, the Nautilus time keeper. If further proof were ever needed of Thomas Mercer’s insistence on our exclusive designs achieving perfect synergy with only the most incomparable and meticulous collaborators, this is it. The streamlined yet physically imposing marble sculpture is found in sodalite, golden onyx and azul cielo marble. This art piece measures 95x69x21 cm and is crafted through a meticulous process, achievable only by the hands of impeccably skilled master stonemasons.
Synonymous with the characteristics of the ocean, this sinuous and sophisticated stone sculpture meticulously replicates the chambers characteristic of fossil shells. Epitomizing Winch Design’s ethos of beauty, uniqueness and perfect proportion, Nautilus is the ultimate statement piece for a super yacht, to be showcased and admired. At the International Yachts and Aviation Awards 2020, despite some very strong opposition, the sheer quality of the Nautilus prevailed, and Thomas Mercer again made the happy walk to the podium to receive the Bespoke Furniture award.