From large sizes to decorative details | by Riccardo Bianchi

At Cersaie 2018, the AD Café hosted a fascinating conversation entitled “From large sizes to decorative details: how ceramic is changing interior design”. Featuring Ettore Mocchetti, architect, interior designer and editor of AD, Roberto Palomba and Massimo Iosa Ghini, internationally-acclaimed architects, designers and interior designers, and Alessandro Ubertazzi, likewise an architect and professor of design and the history of materials, the meeting brought up a number of interesting points. It was noted for example that the use of large and very thin panels creates the perception of a continuous surface in a way that until recently was only possible with resins.

Another observation was the fact that ceramic slabs and tiles with unusual shapes and hyper-realistic material effects and textures inspired by marble, wood, metal and stone (including, as Mocchetti pointed out, materials that are now very rare in nature, such as certain types of breccia) have brought significant environmental benefits, reducing the need to “quarry natural stone” (Palomba) or cut down trees. Moreover, thanks to advances in technology a given surface area can now be covered using just half the quantity of material that would have been required 10 years ago (Iosa Ghini).

Another topic of conversation, introduced by Ubertazzi and discussed with great insight and historical references to figures such as Barragán and Sottsass, was the return of colour following 25 years of minimalism. Intense, bright and even aggressively flamboyant in tones ranging from yellows to reds, colour is being used today as a creative and highly distinctive element of interior and exterior design. In this respect, today’s techniques fulfil the needs of designers, leaving them plenty of scope for creativity in collaboration with their clients.

To conclude, the speakers agreed that the choice of ceramic products must be based not only on aesthetic and visual criteria but also on an in-depth knowledge of materials and their potential, taking account of the solutions available on the market and of potential future trends. And as in the past, reason and imagination must come together to develop new interpretative models capable of helping the most receptive companies adapt to future swings in taste.

Watch the video of the conference held at Cersaie 2018.

February 2019