East and West, a synthesis archieved through Italian taste.
With the “Tesori” collection, porcelain stoneware surfaces are at the service of design, allowing a semantic slip that leads to perceiving the ceramic covering as a material surface – even large dimensions – needed to support graphic and calligraphic styles, as well as significant "signic" visions. Through the patterns on the “Tesori” surfaces, Italian ceramics evoke an exotic and oriental image, suggesting the idea of an exploratory journey that takes on the form of a valuable and fascinating cultural exchange.
GABRIELE MASTRIGLI:”THE PRINCIPLE OF COVERINGS”
“It is the architect’s task to create a warm, livable space. Carpets are warm and livable. He decides for this reason to spread one carpet on the floor and to hang up four to form the four walls. But you cannot build a house out of carpets. Both the carpet and the floor and the tapestry on the wall required structural frame to hold them in the correct place. To invent this frame is the architect’s second task.” When Adolf Loos wrote his revolutionary essay on the “principle of cladding” in 1898, architecture was just entering the modern age. Building meant imagining structures capable of putting together different materials, but, Loos affirmed, it must also respect their individual characteristics. “Every material possesses a formal language which belongs to it alone and no material can take on the forms proper to another”, the Austrian master therefore maintained. And there is no doubt that the spirit of these words extended throughout most Twentieth Century architecture, regardless of its location or style. When we look at Matteo Nunziati’s designs for the CEDIT Tesori collection, we seem to be seeing geometrical purity and attention to detail at the service of a new “truth” of material. Because Matteo Nunziati views ceramics as a form of fabric.
The woven patterns he imagines for the various styles in his collection – from Arabian to damask to more geometrical motifs – constantly seek to provide the soft, iridescent look of time-worn linen. In them, ceramics are raised from the status of poor relation of marble to become a luxury wall covering in their own right: almost a wallpaper, suitable however for both floors and walls, and an absolutely versatile material. No longer only for beautifying bathrooms, they can create new moods in every room of the house (and elsewhere) starting from the living-room. Naturally, the revolution has been mainly technological. The large slabs produced by CEDIT are more than 3 metres tall, and since they eliminate the serial repetition typical of conventional tiles, they generate a new relationship between the surface and its decoration. However, Nunziati does not use this to create, artist-like, a more eye-catching decorative composition that emphasises the slab’s dimensions. Quite the opposite; the patterns he offers us attempt to break down what is left of the boundaries between substrates. In particular, the Arabian and damask styles, in the version with “timeworn” patterning, convey the idea of the ceramic slab as an abstract, almost non-existent material which melts into the decorative motif applied to it, in a kind of pure wall covering.
Through the patient selection of geometrical motifs and tests to verify their suitability for application to ceramic slabs, Nunziati aims to achieve a new material rather than a mere decoration, making this clear by also exploring its tactile dimension, with gouged and relief motifs. His “principle of coverings” therefore relates to ceramics’ essence rather than their image: highlighting the versatility which, as we all know, has made ceramics an absolute material, a kind of cement that incorporates structure and finish in a virtually infinite range of applications. This is clearly indicated by the reference to the mashrabiya, a term meaning place where people drink in Arabic, which in Arabian architecture originally referred to the kind of veranda where people used to meet and rest, and over time has come to mean the wooden gratings that screened these places from the sun. Inspired by his trips to the Middle East, for Nunziati the geometric patterns of the mashrabiya become both an outline of his method of work and the form of what in fact becomes the key element in a new idea of space: a real location conceived around a strong, livable surface in which physical substance and decoration overlap to the point where they merge.
It was in 2000 that Matteo Nunziati (Bologna, 1972), architect and designer, opened his own firm, specialising in interior architectural design, in Milan. He has taught at the Domus Academy and the Taipei Industrial Design Department since 2004. Globe-trotter and an eager researcher into trends and styles, between 2005 and 2006 he has specialised in the design of luxury hotels, wellness centres, spas and residential interiors in the United Arab Emirates and in particular in Dubai, allowing him to undertake projects in various parts of the world (Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Maldives and China). His projects, conceived to meet the highest aesthetic and technical quality standards, seek to achieve unique, luxury results in the form of living spaces with an intense dialogue between furniture, fittings and ornaments.