Founded by Giocondo Vrech in Italy, Marmi Vrech has successfully operated as a family business for nearly 60 years. In 2010, Marmi Vrech saw an important generational change, as the family business was transferred to Giocondo’s sons, Alessandro and Riccardo. Known for their ability to create chic, timeless stonework and interiors for major cruise operators, the team at Marmi Vrech encompass highly skilled designers, stonemasons, and craftspeople.
Ahead of the brand’s exhibit at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, we spoke with managing director, Alessandro Vrech.
Hi Alessandro, thanks for speaking with us today. Tell us a bit about Marmi Vrech’s origins and your role within the company?
Marmi Vrech is a family company based near Venice, Italy with vast experience working in the cruise ship industry. I am the CEO and manage Marmi Vrech together with my brother Riccardo, who is COO of the company.
Founded in 1961, Marmi Vrech continues to work with dedication, skill, and experience to this day, providing beautiful interiors to luxury cruise lines. How do you go about ensuring quality across the board as your team continues to grow?
Every single project is followed by a project manager who has full responsibility in providing the best quality and respecting deadlines, (something which is a must in our industry). A single point of direction means we achieve the best communication with our client and therefore the best quality is delivered. On top of that, one year ago, we started a challenging project in the form of a continuous training program called Marmi Vrech Academy. Every two or three months we bring in a specialist to teach a class on a sensitive subject like mineralogy or the best techniques to fix and install stones or different sealants and adhesives to be used. We’ll even look into regulations and what they mean or what it means from a legal point of view to sign an NDA for a company.
“No certainty” is our daily mantra for a business which is changing fast and needs fast thinking and fast action.
Marmi Vrech was founded as a family business by your father, Giocondo Vrech. Was the transition from father to sons an intuitive one?
It was a pretty unusual transition. My brother and I were not supposed to work in the family company. I joined Marmi Vrech in 2008, (one of the worst periods ever in the cruise shipping business), after a solid experience working as a sales director for the plastic industry. At that time I was looking after the Asia Pacific market and based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My brother Riccardo is a philosopher with a Ph.D. as an anthropologist. Before 2008 he used to work as a university researcher. The fact that both of us were out of the stone industry and out of the cruise ship business, and therefore thinking outside the box, was, in my opinion, one of the success keys for Marmi Vrech. “No certainty” is our daily mantra for a business which is changing fast and needs fast thinking and fast action.
From when you first decide to take a project on, to the day it’s finalized and completed, take us through the steps of working on a cruise line project?
We start our job assisting interior designers, providing not just samples but trying to act as consultants for natural stone. We don’t deal only with natural stone, but also with quartz stone, mosaics and porcelain tiles. After that, we receive drawings from our client to make a quote. If we bid successfully, we cut the stone to size and install it. Between the samples and final installation, there are several services we provide to our clients, including shop drawings and special anti-stain & anti-slip treatments. We then propose alternatives if the stone specified is not correct for the scope of use or must be changed to adhere to the budget. We have a team ready to take measurements onboard and at the end of the project, we provide an extensive maintenance plan to protect the stone delivered.
Let me just tell you that we work at two different levels, with owners and contractors for refit projects and with shipyards and contractors for newbuild projects.
What inspired Marmi Vrech to venture into the cruise industry to begin with?
Well, in the late 80s our father started providing the stonework for Fincantieri. We were in a very favourable position basically, being in the middle of Marghera and Monfalcone – the two main Fincantieri shipyards.
Using just three words, how would you describe the state of the cruise interiors industry today?
Growing, fast, and challenging.
Finally, what are you looking forward to achieving at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo?
To meet current clients and connect with new ones. In addition, I’m looking forward to our live product demo, where a sculptor will showcase Marmi Vrech’s love of uniting technology and manual craftsmanship. Don’t miss it!