Tiles are generally an overlooked feature in the design world, the last to get attention by the world’s top architects and industrial designers. An exception to this rule is the Italian ceramic tiles by Mutina who in the span of just ten years has attracted a clan of designers into its roster, including Patricia Urquiola, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
‘We started with Patricia in 2008,’ says Mutina CEO Massimo Orsini. ‘It took forever to even get an appointment with her, but then she got it immediately. Now she and the other designers realise that we do things differently; we bring design to ceramics.’
To celebrate the longevity and success Mutina celebrated their 10th anniversary in Fiorano, Italy with an exhibit in their Angelo Mangiarotti-designed industrial headquarters. On exhibition were tile designs by Grcic who cut squared tiles of 30x30cm and 60x60cm that each feature a different, partially glazed geometric form on the surface that creates a half raw, half finely glossed effect. The tiles come in six different earthy tones.
Another tile feature, Entitled ‘Rombini’, by the Bouroullec brothers required two years of research and are composed of three models: tiles, mosaics and relief elements that can all be used together to create unusual surfaces.
‘The [Bouroullec’s designs] are very particular, but they follow their wonderful poetry, while Grcic’s are very rigorous and geometric,’ Orsini remarks of the new collections. ‘All of our work involves techniques that are never used anymore. The degree of difficulty is very high,but that’s also what makes us unique.’