Best Hearth: Studio Luca Guadagnino experiments with colour for an ‘anti-good taste’ ceramic fireplace

Studio Luca Guadagnino’s ‘By the Fire’ ceramic fireplace in collaboration with Nymphenburg wins Best Hearth at the 2023 Wallpaper* Design Awards

Studio Luca Guadagnino Porcelain Fireplace with Nymphenburg
This rainbow-hued ceramic fireplace, which formed part of Studio Luca Guadagnino’s ‘By the Fire’ installation at Milan Design Week, can be made to order by Nymphenburg
(Image credit: Paola Dossi)

Studio Luca Guadagnino, led by the eponymous Italian film director (and former Wallpaper* Design Awards Judge), made its debut at Fuorisalone 2022 with an installation centred around the fireplace. Accanto al fuoco/By the fire featured two distinctive living room scenes inspired by the interiors of Carlo Scarpa, defined by two magnetic fireplace designs standing on opposite sides – one a stark object in ceppo di Grè Stone, the other a colourful interpretation of the design made of ceramic. Featuring a series of small columns on each side and a zig-zagged base, a smaller version of the ceramic fireplace was originally conceived for Guadagnino’s own home, and is characterised by a seemingly random arrangement of hand-painted hues ranging from pink to green and yellow. 

Studio Luca Guadagnino Porcelain Fireplace with Nymphenburg

(Image credit: Paola Dossi)

‘I liked the idea of going back to something traditional, but with a spin that made it relevant for the present,’ explains Guadagnino of the Milan installation. ‘The concept of a living room has changed in the same way life has changed: simplified, articulated into something more linear.’

For his painterly hearth, he chose ceramic for its pictorial opportunities. ‘I liked the idea of a palette of colours that was provocative, of colours not immediately connected with each other according to current taste,’ adds Guadagnino. ‘Something that was anti-good taste.’

Studio Luca Guadagnino Porcelain Fireplace with Nymphenburg

(Image credit: Paola Dossi)

To create his piece, he worked with long-term collaborator, Munich’s porcelain producer Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. ‘Nymphenburg’s work methodology and work ethic are moving, the way in which they use and respect the material, and respect the time it takes to make things,’ he explains. ‘The way in which work is articulated within the manufacture, with extraordinary craftsmen, painters, modellers, who all contribute to the creation of the artefacts, has always impressed us and convinced us that we are dealing not only with an excellence, but with something really unique.’

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.