A love for slate - how it all began

July 30, 2018

Wales, Llanberis, Dinorwic quarry- the remains of old quarry workers houses

Our slate lamps and cubes are the products of a long love affair with good design and high-quality products. But how did it all begin?

The art futuro story began with a holiday to Wales in 2017, when we visited Llanberis, in Snowdonia, for a walking, kayaking and sailing holiday.

Wales, Llanberis, Dinorwic quarry - the remains of old quarry equipment, old rusty steel cableThis was our first time in Wales and we immediately fell in love with the place. The friendly people, beautiful surroundings and rich heritage in slate and textile manufacturing fascinated us. For example, in tapestry production, machines are still being used that go back 150 years and still produce beautiful fabric. We couldn’t help but admire the achievements of past generations.

During our stay, we visited the National Slate Museum at the former Dinorwic slate quarry. This is a fascinating place that shows how life used to be for quarry workers and their families. Sadly, the quarry completely closed in 1969.

Dinorwic quarry is huge: after Penrhyn quarry (also in Wales) it was the second largest quarry in the world. Trekking up the mountain of the old quarry only confirmed this - it took us about two hours just to get up to the middle section!

Walking through old housing estates, blast bunkers and other outbuildings was like time travelling back into the early part of the 20th century. The rusty remains of heavy machinery provide a vivid memory of the thousands of men and women that worked there in times past.

Wales, Llanberis, Dinorwic - the remains of old quarry equipment, broken off wood poleDuring our visit we spent time with a local guide, who told us about another closed slate quarry in the area. The slate of Dinorwic has a lovely dark grey colour with, at times, a purple tint, however in this other quarry, we found a slate in a lovely reddish colour.

We have always loved the look and feel of slate, it is such a beautiful material. But walking through a place like Dinorwic, with its rich history and generations of honed craftsmanship, a material like slate takes on a totally different meaning. This was the moment our interest in slate, and our curiosity to learn more about it, was sparked.

Our imaginations were running wild, and we had all sorts of ideas about what we would like to design and make with slate. The main ideas were around lamps. We wanted to show the beauty and structure of the material, ideally in a backlit setup. However, that was not possible with traditionally manufactured slate, it is simply too thick and would not allow any light through.

Eventually, we found a very specific translucent slate variant that would allow us to do exactly what we wanted, and the ideas and designs behind our slate lamps and slate cubes were born. 

#Wales #Llanberis #Llyn Padarn #Llyn Peris #nationalslatemuseum #dinorvic #makersmovement 


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