HomeDesign NewsPulkra: the brutal beauty of concrete

Pulkra: the brutal beauty of concrete

Pulkra is a new brand that expresses itself through the brutal beauty of concrete: a game in constant search of a balance between shapes and the severity of the material. It was born under the creative direction of Stormo Studio, which designs the brand around an essential principle: total respect for the material. The lines are essential and decisive, glossy and opulent finishes are preferred to natural colours from lime white to anthracite black.

Pulkra, in its first official appearance, presents ‘Unlikely Impossible’, in the double negative in the title there is precisely the invitation to open the door to possibility. The Brutalist-inspired workshop shows the research path necessary to create something unexpected, produced with unique production processes and an unprecedented material: a mixture of the lightest and strongest possible CFRC cement, called ACRON®, pigmented using fine marble sand. The exhibition is structured according to three moments analogous to the empirical scientific process: collection, research and result. These three phases can be experienced in a linear sequence, or more freely. In the Collection phase, the intention is to illustrate Pulkra’s design language and its novel ACRON® material. In the Research phase, the protagonist is the tool of the mould, engineered with unique processes of the highest quality. In the last phase, the Result, it is the projects of Stormo, Finemateria, Martinelli Venezia and Pio&Tito Toso that explore the properties and challenge the limits expected of a material like cement. The possibilities are endless, all that remains is to investigate further. To create the brutalist atmosphere of the laboratory, Stormo Studio relied on Studio Iknoki for the visual identity and Wade Black & Francesco Presotto for the soundscape. The duo created ‘Concrete Harvest’, in which synthesisers and traditional wind instruments are joined by mallets, concrete cylinders, tortured contact microphones, lead pipes and various metal instruments.

Poster design by stormo studio

Stormo Studio’s design research is constantly accompanied by their shared background in architecture. Elena Calabrò and Michael Carion investigate the intrinsic relationship between space and material and search for physicality in emotions, allowing the resulting form to be naturally evocative and meaningful. Stimulated by the potential of cement as a design material and seeking to challenge the material to its limits, they designed Manifesto. The collection is inspired by the architectural theories of Metabolism, then referring to recurring themes in the studio’s design practice such as the aesthetics of emptiness and Eastern philosophy. Manifesto consists of tables in different sizes and configurations, characterised by supports that appear massive, but are actually based on a delicate balance. A technical challenge that well represents Pulkra’s research. Italian design studio, proposes meaningful concepts, focusing on the relationship between design and people. Each project is approached with genuine curiosity towards processes and materials. The studio works on projects of various scales, from product design to art direction, including interiors, exhibitions and installations, through constant, experimental and curious research. Since 2017 Stormo has been directed by Elena Calabrò, who oversees all its operations, and Michael Carion, who carries out the creative direction. In 2019 Stormo won the Wallpaper* Design Award for the Alchemy collection. It collaborates with De Castelli, Ibebi, inMateria, Nativus, Pulkra, Lanificio Leo.

Visual identity by studio iknoki

Rooted in the past but based on contemporary visual culture. Studio Inoki has been involved in graphic and typographic design for over ten years and operates in various fields of communication design. They design books and magazines, custom and retail typefaces, visual identity systems and digital tools for cultural institutions, agencies and brands. Combining a strategic approach with creative experience, their method is based on continuous research into visual communication and its relationship to the complex contemporary scenario. From the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea, passing through the urban fabric of north-eastern Italy, the studio is based between Treviso and Trieste and is currently led by Christian Jugovac and Francesco Greguol.

Compage design by martinelli Venezia

Compage is a modular system of small concrete table accessories, designed by Martinelli Venezia for Pulkra, conceived to be used in different environments. With its use of cement as an expressive material, it evokes the aesthetics of Brutalist architecture: rational and essential, yet without renouncing its own expressive plasticity, which gives the object a certain formal vigour. The term Compage has Latin roots and means ‘structure, union’ and was chosen because the elements that make up the collection can be assembled and composed in multiple ways to create a unique and personalised structure. Two storage trays, a candlestick and an incense holder, which, thanks to Pulkra’s accurate working techniques, are characterised by very thin thicknesses, restoring visual and constructive lightness to the project. Martinelli Venezia is a design studio based in Milan and Palermo, born in 2015 from the collaboration between the two architects Carolina Martinelli and Vittorio Venezia. The studio deals with product design, exhibition design, architecture and interiors, investigating issues such as the relationship between tradition and local knowledge, the properties of materials and the technical possibilities of manufacturing. Their projects have been exhibited in galleries and museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the MAXXI in Rome and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. They collaborate with many Italian and international companies such as Abet Laminati, Alcantara, Colé Italian Design Label, De Castelli, Falper, InternoItaliano, Jannelli & Volpi, Lithea, Luce5, Martinelli Luce, Meritalia, Mingardo, Moleskine, Premax, Slide.

Multiplo design by finemateria

The Multiplo collection investigates the use of cement, proposing outdoor furniture solutions that enhance Pulkra’s production technique while maintaining simplicity and modularity to create a manageable, convenient and effective system. All products are united by the repetition of certain components and the presence of unique elements that well represent the plasticity of cement. The shapes are designed to integrate and change with nature, cement like natural materials is porous, it absorbs and releases, it allows itself to be modified over time. The Multiplo collection is very versatile, suitable for both contract and private market needs, capable of furnishing an outdoor space in a total manner but also of accessorising or completing an interior. Finemateria is a design studio whose practice relies on research and material experimentation to catalyse reactions, and thus memories. Gianluca Sigismondi and Stefano Bassan founded the studio in 2020 and for the past year have been spending their days working and creating in the Corvetto district of Milan, where their new studio is located inside DOPO?, a cultural space. The duo’s design process is based on industrial, artisanal and humanistic research from which they transform the stimuli they express into shapes and materials. The research phase is a time of discovery, travel, photographs and knowledge that represent the joy of being designers without limits and staticity. Finemateria perceives form as the materialisation of the idea, be it a product, research, exhibition or space. The aim of the studio is to visualise processes, cultures and materials to tell a story that leaves a message. In the Finemateria process, design includes the communication of it, the pleasure of dialoguing with the power of other creative disciplines to convey the message in its entirety.

Dome design by pio/tito toso

Dome is a collection designed to express the beauty and unique appeal of concrete with the utmost immediacy. The language of Dome is very simple and clean, a language that we could define as architectural, defined by pure volumes that enhance the beauty of the material. Dome originates from the history and culture of cement, an ancient history intimately linked to the origins of architecture, to the fascinating timeless structures of vaults and domes. This cultural and artistic connection is the basis of Dome and becomes its value. The collection consists of a series of extremely fascinating bathroom-related furnishing elements, capable of characterising and elevating the perception of the space in which they are placed Fratelli, born in Venice in 1973 and 1971. They graduated in architecture in Venice in 1998. In 1996 they opened the design studio PIO&TITOTOSO design. They work in the field of architecture, realising numerous projects nationally and internationally, and participate in various competitions. They also collaborate in the field of furniture and design, working with the most qualified companies, including: Artemide, iGuzzini, Foscarini, Leucos, Luceplan, Venini, Vistosi for lighting and Alessi, Pedrali, Colombo design, Guzzini, Metalco, Lapalma, Segis for furniture. They design stands, exhibitions, shops, offices and warehouses for various companies, taking care of their image and graphics. Among the awards: Archiproducts Design Award 2020, Red Dot Design Award 2017, Index Compasso d’Oro 2016, Design Plus 2016, Selection for the International Compasso d’Oro 2015, Red Dot Design Award 2015, Red Dot Design Award 2012, Good Design Award 2009, I.Dot selection 2006-2007, Young & design 2005. They have participated in exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Some of their projects have been selected by MoMa New York.

eX. Hale (francesco presotto) kollaps (Wade black)


Ex.Hale is the project of Italian multidisciplinary artist Francesco Presotto. The music of Ex. Hale is characterised by dark and atmospheric textures driven by a modern vision of club music. The project focuses on the deconstruction of common compositional standards with the addition of crushing rhythmic structures that establish the unusual framework of Ex.Hale’s subversive approach. With releases on Sonic Groove, Rudiment and Voidance, as well as a growing number of performances in clubs, museums and festivals across Europe, Ex.Hale has become a formidable force in electronic and experimental music.

KOLLAPS (Wade Black)

Legendary industrial band from St. Kilda, Australia, now based in the Italian province of Lombardy. The band has been releasing exclusively through the UK’s historic Cold Spring Records label since 2019 and has performed at numerous internationally renowned festivals and toured extensively in Oceania, the UK and Europe, performing alongside prolific artists such as Pharmakon, Brighter Death Now, Puce Mary, Trepaneringsritualen, Youth Code and Lingua Ignota. In 2018, Kollaps released two tracks from their debut album ‘Sibling Lovers’ in the Hollywood film ‘Upgrade’ directed by Leigh Whannel (Saw, Insidious). pulkra.co.uk