Mario Trimarchi Built a Copper Motorcycle Designed to Oxidize

Mario Trimarchi, an Italian designer and architect, built a motorcycle from copper that was designed to oxidize, for a project named “Samotracia.” Trimarchi was approached by furniture manufacturer De Castelli with the project. De Castelli was looking for something new and innovative to show during the Milan Design Week—and Trimarchi definitely delivered. Albino Celato, CEO of De Castelli, explained that metalworking has been a core part of his family’s business for generations. The motorcycle provided the opportunity to demonstrate that capacity of De Castelli in fields outside of furniture making.

mario trimarchi body copper motorcycle

Rather than the curves and moulded surfaces of traditional motorcycles, Trimarchi opted instead for a faceted approach, making the bike look more like a piece of jewellery than a road-going vehicle. Copper was chosen specifically because of its oxidative properties. As the bike ages over the years, it will take on the greenish hue made famous by the Statue of Liberty—a process that will take the better part of a century to complete.

The design is an exploration of time and speed. “For some time now I’ve been committed to understanding how speed is illustrated,” Trimarchi said. “I have integrated this obsession with the obsession of time that passes, which for me, takes part in the themes of our relationship with objects. A motorcycle was born, seemingly driving itself independently as though on burst mode.”

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