Haute RE Magazine

Time travel with artist and designer Roberto Sironi


o you have a beloved object at home? Likely, it has an intriguing story giving it meaning. We rely on furnishings, collectibles, and keepsakes to remind us of our personal histories — the continuity of our lives. Roberto Sironi’s latest RUINS series embodies world history, capturing ancient archaeology and classical architecture in domestic objects.

Artist Roberto Sironi spent four years studying and researching significant sites around the Mediterranean for his ‘Encoded Symbols’ project. Inspired by nine ancient fragments, his collection transcends time. We met Sironi to learn more about his design process and inspiration.

The Turin Table
One can only imagine the amount of time it took to create the natural patina on the Turin Table

What drew you to architectural fragments from the Mediterranean?

Archaeology has always interested me. I am fascinated by the ruins created in different eras by painters, illustrators and explorers. On the other hand, I am interested in studying different architectural models that have characterized the history of humanity.

I am Italian so the Mediterranean is my roots and my culture, and the aesthetic principles and canons that I have brought back to RUINS are those that surround me every day as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.


Can you tell us about the materials you choose?

I mainly used lost-wax cast bronze* and Marmo di Rima. These materials do not correspond to the original architecture but rather become functional to the post-archaeological message conveyed by the series.

The industrial archaeology is transposed into bronze, while those referencing classical archaeology are made of Marmo di Rima, a craft technique created in Italy in the mid-nineteenth century to imitate natural marble. I also used industrial glass sheets in some pieces to reference cast-iron architecture. The glass I used results from my study of out-of-production colours, dating back to the second half of the 1900s.

A glimpse of the process of Roberto Sironi creating the materials used in the RUINS series
The Hubert Mirror is the result of Roberto Sironi’s study of eighteenth-century romantic paintings
The Delphi Chair was inspired by the circular plan of the Temple of Athena

Benches, chairs, tables, and mirrors; what was your process to decide form and function?

The design choices are the result of research and process and my intuition of the moment. 

For example, when I visited the classical Greek site of Delphi, I was struck by the circular plan of the Temple of Athena and by the remains of the fluted columns found in the archaeological site. At that moment, I felt the urgency to transpose that discovery into volume and matter, and I designed the Delphi Chair, which is the superposition of two fragments of a circular section column. The same thing happened with the Hubert Mirror, where my analysis of romantic paintings from the eighteenth century inspired the idea to develop a piece of wall artwork that expressed the sense of ruins. Each of the nine pieces of the collection has its own history made up of research and insights.


What emotions and connections are you hoping to evoke? 

My work always aims to create a narrative through matter, which is therefore always materia informante (informative matter). I aim to create projects and objects with precise characteristics that continuously feed users’ thoughts and emotions. 

I think RUINS can transport the end-user into a dream dimension through domestic micro-architectures where historico-temporal boundaries are blurred. The extinct decorative techniques of the Marmo di Rima meet contemporary bronze sculptures to create new post-archaeological ruins.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Photo Credit: Carwan Gallery

A detail of the Hubert Mirror showing the intricacy of the cast bronze and Marmo di Rima


Roberto Sironi is a research designer who lives and works in Milan. He investigates the ecological and cultural impact of materials, and he investigates them through an anthropological approach to history, geography and archaeology. 

Sironi is both artist and craftsman, aiming to create concepts and artifacts that reveal the complexities and values of matter, interpreted as a narrative. He works with renowned institutions and galleries in solo and group exhibitions, and he has been published globally and received numerous international awards. 

Since 2014, he has combined his practise with teaching and research at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, where his studies focus on the relationship between design and new technologies.