Marazzi, 85 years of Human Design
reading time: 7 minutes
Once upon a time there were two long rows of poplar trees on which, it is said, a new factory was built.
"A cardboard factory”’, they all called it, in the 1930s. And yet, using the best technologies then available, it produced roofing tiles, bricks, and the first hand-decorated tiles, created to artist Venerio Martini's original designs for Marazzi.
After the War came the first major expansion, the new kilns, new products designed by Gio Ponti and Alberto Rosselli, and the ambition of creating tiles of genuine beauty for the mass market, during the years of reconstruction and the economic boom.
And then the partnerships with the big names in haute couture, the revolutionary patent for the single-fired process, which changed ceramic tile production times and methods for ever and is still the world's most widely used manufacturing method, the investments abroad, the top photographers and the Il Crogiolo experimental laboratory, the first technical product, which brought ceramic tiles in squares and airports and onto the facades of buildings, and finally StepWise™, the latest patent, which renders anti-slip stonewares soft to the touch.
The advertising campaign for Marazzi's 85th birthday returns the focus to the world of the bathroom, historically the key place where ceramic tiles have always been used, in two different contexts, home and contract, both designed by Alessandro Pasinelli Studio with a mix of Marazzi collections representing the latest generation in ceramic products: small sizes that look handmade thanks to exclusive industrial technologies, slimline 3D wall coverings, and extra-large stoneware slabs that offer a sustainable version of natural surfaces, digitally reproduced.
“We concentrated on the design of open spaces, in continuous perceptive dialogue between the intimacy of living-spaces and the characteristics of the context," Alessandro Pasinelli explained. "The ideal spaces we designed are very fluid, welcoming and, above all, tactile, deeply interconnected to the landscape, in the case of both the Villa, where the bathroom is a private space overlooking the garden, and the Spa, with its pure, simple architecture, where the monolithic form in Verde Aver stoneware is a seamless continuation of the natural environment of the surrounding woodland."
In this intimate interior, the warmth of a Vero Rovere 22.5x180 cm wood floor combines with the beauty of a stone wall covering: Magnifica Limestone Taupe has a three-dimensional surface, with the Mikado bamboo-look ribbed structure. On the walls, the extra-glossy Crogiolo Lume brickwork tiles in the unusual 6x24 cm size with their dense glaze appear to be handmade. The washbasins are also made entirely from stoneware: the pedestal and bowl are in Grande Stone Look Granito Black and the counter in Grande Marble Look Calacatta Vena Vecchia.
The large alcove with glazed window contains the shower, also lined throughout in Crogiolo Lume, in the Musk variant. Its composition and faceted surface bring together a plethora of shades of green, which naturally reflect the woodland outside, in a direct, reciprocal dialogue.
The furnishings combine a modern, high-tech mood with vintage taste: the brass Darkly mirror, designed by Nick Ross for Menu, the Fantini Aboutwater collection shower tap unit, by Korean designer Paik Sun Kim, the Biba Aplique gem light fitting styled by Lorenza Bozzoli for Tato, and the Bertoia bench, created together with other furnishings items by the designer of the same name for Knoll in the Fifties.
Architectural design of great simplicity, styled around a monolithic form entirely clad with the new Grande Marble Look Verde Aver Lux marble-look porcelain stoneware slabs, in continuity with the natural woodland environment visible through the large windows. The charmingly "flawed" Lume Crogiolo tiles, which define the shower area with infinite variations of shade, are also in glossy green, making this an intimate zone and a comfortable space within a space.
The skilful blend of natural and artificial light, the water surfaces within the spa and the quiet surroundings in which this wellness centre is set are all fully reflected in the floor coverings in Grande_Stone Look_Pietra di Vals in the large 160x320 cm size and the deep, vibrant Mystone_Pietra di Vals_Mosaico Greige used in the 30x60 cm size as finishing for the walls.
In the Spa the figure of a young woman, seen from behind, reinforces the message of truly sustainable, holistic design.
This comfortable spa's indoor landscape is punctuated by a number of extraordinary pieces of furniture: the Circuit Wall light by New York firm Apparatus, famous for its ability to reinterpret classic articles in a modern language, appears with the side table from the Jardim collection, styled by Brazilian designer Jader Almeida for Sollos. Overlooking the outdoor pool, a set of the famous Lounge Chair 43, designed by Alvar Aalto in the Forties for his firm Artek, completes the image of this location of pure harmony with the elements and rhythms of nature.