Inspiration beyond the surface

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From home furnishing to architecture, large sizes free the creativity of designers and encourage them to envisage new uses. Three applications face to face: the tables of Enzo Bauso, the decors of Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel and the facades of Asti Architetti.

Using large slabs of porcelain stoneware only for wall or floor tiles could be restrictive. Their possible uses range from ventilated walls to the most versatile and creative home furnishing applications. Thanks to sophisticated printing technologies surfaces become blank canvases on which to create original shadows and patterns that enliven the constructed space. Three comments by designers on three innovative interpretations of large sizes, from small to large scales, from art to interior design and architecture.

Enzo Bauso is an artist from Syracuse. His materials of choice are metals which, in his words, he “seeks to fuse with other materials, giving them new impetus”. As such, Bauso expresses himself through the contrast of materials and textures. For Accursio, the well-known Michelin-starred chef based in Modica (Ragusa), he designed and hand-produced the outdoor tables of the Osteria Radici. “With just one condition”, explains the artist, “that they were light and visually striking. I therefore thought that a vertical wall tile could change the concept. I love the Saint Laurent Marble Look of the Grande collection so I decided to transfer it to the tabletops, adding the brass and giving the design a retro feel. I liked the thought of going beyond the idea of mass-produced interior design and creating objects that were unique pieces”.

The Grand Carpet special collection, which highlights the decorative potential of large sizes, derives from a site-specific interior design project – “Augmented Surface” – carried out by the studio of Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel for the FuoriSalone of Interni at the University of Milan (2017). Persian rug patterns combined with tribal macro designs create shadow effects that enliven the surfaces. “The project”, comment the architects, “uses large-size slabs to play around with the relationship between surfaces and decorations. The cut of the large size in a covering project therefore becomes an opportunity to redesign the material. We think it would be interesting to see Grand Carpet installed whole, in a large size combined with a fragmented installation, re-cut like an archaeological reuse of the material, on the wall”. An original approach to surfaces, suitable for both the residential and contract areas.

In the new building in via Ceresio in Milan, Asti Architetti used large-size slabs to solve a complicated worksite issue: the facade was adjacent to an active plant belonging to Unareti, the Milan electricity operator. Access to the worksite was therefore limited and turnaround times had to be quite rapid. “Using large size slabs on the blind wall to the south”, explains Paolo Asti, founder of Asti Architetti, “enabled us to complete the facade as quickly as possible. The construction system, a hybrid between a mechanical and an adhesive system, has notable advantages because a sealant is used on the aluminium structure to secure the slab to the structure. In addition, the bar system prevents the slab from warping, maintaining its rigidity and form. From an aesthetic point of view, the almost complete absence of joints and the various textures make it possible to work creatively on the building’s appearance”.