Camiran Rasool | Creating The Impossible With Marble

Marble is noble, natural and not man made – each and every one of us would like to have a piece of nature in our home

Since the time of ancient Greece, marble has been a premier medium for artistic expression and design. Throughout history, the industry has seen a transformation of technique, but no one has disrupted the traditional world of marble more than Citco. By using a process unlike any other brand, Citco is a design firm creating the impossible with marble, because, as the Founder & CEO Camiran says, the possible is already being done.

Citco seeks to disrupt the world of marble

Camiran Rasool is the CEO and founder of Citco – he was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1965 and left Iraq for London in 1981 at the age of 16 to continue his studies, before moving to Italy in 1988.

What inspired you to found Citco and where did the name come from?
I had the ambition of having my own business and was willing to risk all of my small savings as a young man of only 25 to be my own boss and have my own business. The name was suggested by a friend over dinner (Camiran International Trading Company).

What are the values Citco stands for as a brand?
Firstly, we are happy when we see a smile and satisfaction on our clients faces. Secondly, if you look at the time when you are in the Citco family, you are probably in the wrong place, because when you are in love with your job, you forget your watch at home. Finally, we strive to be able to reach perfection and precision, just like watch manufacturers.

What do you believe is the essence of the design process when it comes to stonework?
The stonework cannot exist without the design process.

Intricate stonework

What’s your favorite marble? How would you describe the possibilities, properties and application of this material?
I cannot choose, that is like saying which one of your children you love more. I love all stones and try to achieve the best possible result when working with each of them.

What’s the difference between the process of creating a big architectural piece and a smaller piece in marble?
There is absolutely no difference between creating a big architectural piece and a smaller piece in marble, both need the same care and attention.

You have established strong relationships with design pioneers such as Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Arik Levy just to mention a few. How do you face creative challenges collaborating with so many diverse architects and designers?
This is the best part of my job. Just as you mentioned, they are pioneers, and thank goodness they exist. The first challenge is to reach out to them and convince them that we are the right people to collaborate with, that doesn’t come easily. I then need to convince them that we can do what everyone else thinks impossible. We convince them to dream with us to create an object that no one has thought possible in marble. That’s when all the fun starts. We break the boundaries, create the impossible and leave the possible for everyone else.

What is innovation for you and how is this applied at Citco?
Innovation is to be able to do what was once thought impossible in marble. We have pushed all our machineries beyond the limits, to the point that machine manufacturers couldn’t believe it was their machines that produced the final master piece. This has created a very close collaboration with all the machine manufactures to build even more complexed machines according to our needs. Our facilities have become a place where manufacturers bring their clients to show them how far can these machines be pushed.

Do you consider marble craftsmanship an artistic discipline or science or both?
It is absolutely both an artistic discipline and a science. Science and programing are used with our machinery, but the final finishing touches are always made manually by the craftsmen.

When a piece of marble is created, what do you feel while you witness the final result?
It’s like the birth of a new child. Every single step is thrilling and exciting, I need a hundred pages to describe all my feelings on the creation of a new marble piece.

How does the latest technology combine with the more traditional methods of marble craftsmanship?
Technology has made our life easier and made it possible to achieve the final result faster, but technology will never be able to replace the final touches a craftsman adds to a design.

What is beauty for you when it is applied to marble?
Each natural stone is beautiful in its own right starting with the bulk marble block, its structure and natural veins. Once it is transformed by an architect’s design, each one of us will see and discover what someone else hasn’t. Many times, people bring to my attention details that I hadn’t noticed, even though I had looked at the same piece a hundred times. It’s a reminder that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

How do you envision the future of your industry in relationship with design?
All we need to do is to look at how mankind was crafting stone thousands of years before it became a simple industrial product. That is where we are all going, back to the past.

Is marble a luxurious material? Why?
Marble is a luxurious material – it has always been and always will be. Marble is noble, natural and not
man made. Each one of us would like to have a piece of nature in our home; it’s similar to the difference
between having a beautiful natural plant or flower and having a plastic one.

Do you consider yourself a successful person?
Yes, I do and I’m very proud of it. I measure my success by the fact that I started alone and today’s Citco family is over 30 members and growing. The atmosphere and relationship between Citco’s family members, in addition to our relationship with other collaborators and competitors, is an indicator of success.

Our motto is “You can be, do and have anything you want”. What do you think about such a statement?
Work hard for it and it will happen. Never allow anyone to make you think otherwise. If you believe in it, you can achieve it.