As Aria has taken a great step forward with the recent announcement of an e-commerce platform, it is important to take a moment and remember where this great journey began. The origins of Aria are deep-seeded in an appreciation for art, design, and natural beauty through the Slow Art Movement.
It all began in 2012, when owner, Vinny Tavares, visited the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and came across the Slow Art Exhibit. In this exhibit, art was on display that took months and years to create, often from tedious and repetitive actions. The focus is on the art of creation and errs on the side of quality over quantity. Slow art is in opposition to the direct-to-consumerism approach that so many companies and artists align with as to increase profits and growth in the short-term. Cilla Robach further describes the movement, “the objects that are presented here as Slow Art were hand-crafted in slow, often intricate processes. The considerable time required to make these works has not always been a cause of frustration for artists or craftspersons. On the contrary, they have valued time and regarded slowness as a central element in their artistic process. Many practitioners have put special emphasis on shaping certain details, without having to fear the mental boredom or physical pain of repetition. Instead, the viewer suspects that they have found tranquility in the monotonous and slow work stages that were required to create a specific piece. Our need to slow down and create room for re-election was summed up by Honoré in an overall concept he called the Slow Movement. Perspectives that focus on doing things well instead of quickly, on valuing quality instead of quantity. On handling materials, i.e. our common natural resources, with care, and showing consideration for future generations. On seeing a value in slowness. On allowing time to be a significant factor in the artistic process.”
Beyond the Slow Art Movement, the concept is also found in several other contemporary categories, such as Slow Food (as opposed to Fast Food), Slow Travel, Slow Craft, Slow Design, Slow Fashion, Slow Media, Slow Consumption, Slow Education and Slow Parenting.
Vinny, a stone aficionado and industry expert, was intrigued by this concept and could instantly see the many parallels to the stone industry. Beautiful natural stone takes hundreds if not thousands of years to come to fruition through geologic formation. And the extraction process in quarries such as those in Carrara, Italy is an art form passed from generation to generation. But the journey does not end there. The next step of this long and thoughtful process is Vinny, personally hand-selecting each stone at the quarry based on rarity, beauty, and quality, much like an art appraiser inspecting a work of art at Sotheby’s.
As Vinny had long viewed stone as art, he realized that it should be treated and displayed as such. Therefore, the obvious next step was to celebrate stone by showcasing slabs in a gallery-like format, encouraging the viewers to dive in deeper into stone education, and most importantly, by creating an environment that allows the viewer to not feel rushed so they can develop an emotional connection, similar to the overwhelming feelings you experience when viewing art in a museum.
In 2013, the Aria Stone Gallery showroom in Dallas was born, and was quickly followed by a Houston showroom, as designers, architects, and homeowners alike, all appreciated Aria’s transparent and educational approach to showcasing stone as art. The experience of celebrating stone in a peaceful environment allows the viewer to appreciate and gaze upon the stone in awe, rather than grazing slab yards in hopes to find a buried treasure.
The goal of Aria’s e-commerce platform is to share this artistic approach and appreciation for stone as a natural work of art with more and more people, nationwide. And as Aria continuously evolves over the course of the next few years, at the core will remain art appreciation and stone education, #stoneisart.