Curling up next to your fireplace at night and gazing at a truly inspirational and grandiose mantel reminiscent of an historical Italian cathedral is a moment Tartaruga Design Inc. creates for each of its clients. Based in Toronto, Canada, Tartaruga Design Inc. was founded in 1994 by Italian-born Luca Savazzi, whose strong business sense is robustly rooted in the glorious façades found all througout his architecturally rich home nation.
Having moved to Canada as a young boy, Savazzi quickly discovered his commanding, innate talent and resilient passion for sculpting. With an educational background in mechanical engineering, which he notes, “truly helps to give me discipline—a trait that artists sometimes lack,” he also possesses more than 20 years of design and sculptural experience in bronze, stone, wood, and clay.
Tartaruga Design Inc. is renowned for its transcendent designs, immaculate construction, and superior supply of a unique and luxurious collection of hand-sculpted mantelpieces for homeowners and business professionals worldwide. The company’s inspirations for architectural detailing often stems from the sculptor’s biannual trips back to Europe where he studies the amazing art and architecture rarely seen elsewhere.
Tartaruga Design, which is located in an impressive 16,000-square-foot studio in Toronto, is where he and eight other employees labor meticulously over timeless mantels, kitchen hoods, and custom works. As the first North American mantelpiece company to offer both hand-carved and hand-cast Cortina Stone, Tartaruga is also the first company to bring European sculpting to North America, particularly in such a colossal degree. By employing strict techniques passed down by artisans over centuries and using nothing but the purest of materials, each piece is designed and sculpted in Tartaruga’s own studio creating the industry’s benchmark for value and excellence from conception to completion.
The stone used by Tartaruga Design is similar only to the 400-year-old materials seen throughout the ancient cathedrals spread across Europe. With a base of alabaster and limestone cement, all recipes are made in the studio and are all hand-pigmented to match quarried stones. In fact, Tartaruga’s materials are of such high quality that they regularly receive requests for shipments to Europe—an export virtually unseen by other North American sculpting companies, and a true acknowledgment of supreme quality and peerless workmanship.
Savazzi told Haute Living that the “initial concept of creating high-end mantelpieces came from the idea that fireplaces are like miniature building façades. They are truly architectural in terms of similarity to designing the exterior of an edifice.” With projects under its belt that span the Greystone Mansion Estate in Beverly Hills, celebrity homes, and even the largest private residence in Canada, Tartaruga Design is further expanding its business to integrate a new line of exteriors for residential structures.
Coming full-circle from the initial concept of fireplace mantels and “miniature façades”, Tartaruga is adding a large-scale product line to their repertoire with a true confidence that scale does not change quality. In order to adjust for this sizable change, however, Savazzi is professionally developing his own skills on new digital carving software in order to aid with scaling and uphold a technological edge. Pressure sensor tablets and advanced software add a whole new element to the industry and maintain Tartaruga’s place on the forefront of the architectural development.
Along with technological advancements in design and construction, Tartaruga is also noticing a fusion of different time periods when responding to customer requests. The Italian-born artist notes, “Interiors are getting more eclectic. There are new combinations between architectural styles where we see more contemporary pieces, such as simple mantels with classical carvings, in a more traditional space; and more classical pieces being displayed in more contemporary spaces.”
While Tartaruga manages to keep up with the changing trends and technological advancements, there is no question in anyone’s mind that the deep roots in Italian architecture and flawless execution of traditional techniques will remain focal points of Tartaruga Design’s works of art.
Tartaruga Design Inc.
43 Bertal Rd.
Toronto, Ontario M6M 4M7 Canada