Spelling tiles: exploring Mutina’s Alphabet of ceramics
Mutina are constantly transforming the notion of tiles and ceramics. Elevating them from functional finishings to artworks, design objects and architectural components, Mutina’s vision has now entered a new language, a concept the Italian company has coined ‘Alphabet’.
Coinciding with Cersaie fair in Bologna, the design brand—that has worked with the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in the past—launched two dynamic new collections by two Milan-based creative powerhouses, Laboratorio Avallone and Nathalie du Pasquier under the Alphabet philosophy, further anchoring Mutina’s artful eye and curatorial edge.
Natural chemistry Pompeian paintings, Indian ink and the black of incandescent molten lava were on the organic moodboard for Laboratorio Avallone’s glazed porcelain tile range, Chymia. Led by Gennaro Avallone, the collection is the result of ongoing research: the checkerboard palette sees graphic details eloquently contrast with artistic etchings in a raw and intricate finish.
Avallone and Mutina’s fruitful relationship has lasted two decades, and it stems from a passion for ceramics. ‘Materials for me are a means to an end and have come to represent that alchemical transformation when the skills of designing and creating fuse in all their complexity,’ says Avallone. Chymia has a unique place in the Mutina catalogue – ‘It is classic and very different to the rest of Mutina's collections with designers,’ says the company.
Tiles were not the only brainchild of this collaboration. The artist-designer has also created a range of limited edition glass vases, a first for Mutina. Titled The Cylinder Glass, the sculptural collection has been realised in the similar cloudy monochrome palette. The brand knew where to turn to for a helping hand in glass making: master glassmaker in Murano, Fabiano Amadi. Under the expert eye of Avallone, the craftsman bought to life the subtly totemic and contemporary forms.
New frontiers For Nathalie du Pasquier, the code to the ‘Alphabet’ takes a more architectural turn. Titled BRAC, the collection is a product of the BRIC project—an installation at the MUT-Mutina space in Fiorano that has been curated by Sarah Cosulich. Here, Du Pasquier investigates and dissects the role of a brick as a structural component, re-inventing the piece through visual play of the architectural structures. Available in five colourways, including sage, brown and clay, BRAC is a ceramic brick can be embedded in multiple environments.
Wired with innovation and experimentation, the Alphabet concept, and these two diverse ranges, continues to drive Mutina’s contemporary philosophy to the universe of design, contemporary art and more. In 2006, Mutina rewrote its 30-year history and broke with traditional methods of ceramic production, as it states, ‘Mutina begun with an interruption,’ and powerfully continues to do so.