The Saudi Binladin Group, a construction company based in Saudi Arabia, was founded 83 years ago by Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, the father of Osama bin Laden. The net worth of the 100,000-employee business is estimated in the tens (maybe even hundreds) of billions of dollars, so the fact that they just bought half of the Marmi Carrara marble company for $60 million dollars really isn't a big deal. What's really a big deal is the importance of the company's marble quarries to art history.
According to The Art Newspaper, Marmi Carrara owns half of another company known as Società Apuane Marmo, which mines 400,000 tons of marble each year from the Carrara quarries. Mining of the quarries dates back to the Roman Age, and this is the first time in history that a non-Italian family has held power in the industry. Some of the world's most important sculptures and structures were made from Carrara marble, including Michelangelo's David, the Pantheon, buildings at the Harvard Medical School, the Oslo Opera House, and the Peace Monument in Washington, D.C..
We wonder what the art history books will say about the quarries and the connection to the Saudi Binladin Group 2,000 years from now. Actually we're pretty sure that it will be intentionally buried, unless the family finds some amazing use for the marble. Then again, architects and artists can always be remembered as "Anonymous."
Check out this cool video of The Fake Factory creating a 3D videomapping projection in one of the quarries to get a sense of what the site is like.