In 2015, during Maria Sepulveda’s annual voyage to Milan Design Week, she stumbled upon a small, rustic garage that designers Cristiana Giopato and Christopher Coombes transformed into a makeshift gallery to showcase their then-emerging studio’s latest collection of lighting fixtures. She was immediately impressed by the duo’s exquisite workmanship and refined design approach, particularly the magical effect of their newly launched Bolle Collection, a series of spherical glass pendants outfitted with brass bulbs that cast their surroundings in a gentle glow. “Their designs are singularly unique in the universe of decorative lighting,” she remembers thinking at the time.
That’s high praise given how Sepulveda co-founded Suite NY, the beloved Manhattan furniture showroom known for bringing obscure hallmarks of European design to stateside attention. Six years after first meeting the duo in Milan, Sepulveda is helping debut what may very well be their most ambitious collection to date. The new series, called Moonstone, evokes organic geological sculptures marked by the rough-hewn terrain of lunar surfaces. Suite NY will become the first U.S. distributor of the collection, which is available in a variety of nine pendants and chandeliers.
Look closely, and you’ll notice that Moonstone bears a striking resemblance to lunar surfaces. “Far away, we were perceiving the unknown and exploring the unexpected,” says Giopato, who daydreamed of “collecting stones on the surface of the moon, across an infinite landscape of cosmic dust.” To achieve its dust-like effect, the duo embarked on a journey of material experimentation that saw them create an entirely new composite material. “With dust in mind, we started with the most refined material, Bone China,” she continues, recalling its great sculptural and tactile qualities. Feeling dissatisfied with its limits in shape, however, the duo scouted artisans from Venetian fiberglass workshops that were willing to work with different substrates.
Together, they created a new composite that mixes marble dust and fiberglass—a material not often used in design objects. “Glass fibers of each Moonstone are hand-laid over two open forms, which are then essentially sprayed over or embedded into a marble dust substrate,” says Coombes. “As with any composite material, this retains the material properties of both elements, so extremely light and strong as well as the wonderful sculptural and tactile sensations of natural stone.” When these opaque, faceted silhouettes pair with down-streaming illumination, they emit the ethereal glow of moonlight.
The end result resembles massive sculptural forms floating in the atmosphere—amulet-like space oddities that emit positive energy wherever they’re placed. For the duo, realizing Moonstone after three years of prototyping heralded a refreshing new era of creative freedom. “Our vision is to be independent from preconceptions,” says Giopato. “Our projects represent journeys that evoke supernatural daydreams, infinite glimpses of intimate emotions, and authentic connections to memories, moments, and experiences of our existence.” With an effortlessly organic look and feel, Moonstone is a stellar return to everything that captivated Sepulveda in Milan, but with years’ worth of expertise, empowerment, and exploration packed into it.