The evolution of ceramic in design culture over the course of a decade | by Alessandra Coppa

‘Cer • Interviste’ book presentation

Twenty-five Italian and international architects, who know and use Italian ceramic tiles, discuss their perception of the product and its evolution. Spanning ten years, from around 2005 to the present day, this new book published by Maggioli Editore as part of its Politecnica series, and scheduled for release at Cersaie 2015, takes the form of a series of interviews conducted by Alessandra Coppa and first published in Cer Magazine Italia and International. The book presentation will be held on Tuesday 29 September at 4.00 pm in the Exhibition Area of Hall 30, and will be attended by the author and the architects Andrea Maffei and Andreas Kipar.

Over the decades, Italian ceramic has displayed an outstanding aptitude for self-renewal. Through ongoing evolution, the product and its architectural applications have continually kept pace with the creative requirements of Italian and international designers. This book highlights how the work of the best-known contemporary architects bears witness to the increasing use and rising status of ceramic in construction.

The profoundly expressive nature of ceramic, both as a building component and as a surface covering, gives rise to innovation as well as continuity between time-honoured craftsmanship, technological experimentation and interdisciplinary know-how. Ceramic, after all, is an ancient material born of the soil. Strong, long-lasting and eco-sustainable, it has shown itself over the years to be infinitely variable in terms of colour, decoration, replication of natural effects and adaptability to different geometric formats. Ceramic coverings offer a high degree of thermal insulation, so they play a vital role in the curtain wall systems that form part of the high-tech envelopes of modern buildings and generate substantial energy savings. Because ceramic tile is extremely durable, it does not require frequent renovation and therefore saves energy along the production and installation chain too. It also offers outstanding levels of hygiene and easy maintenance, without the use of chemicals or pollutants.

Over the years, contemporary architects have come to see ceramic as more than just an envelope or floor covering, and now think of it as a “skin” that offers both technical performance and expressive potential. This work also serves as a textbook for students at the Polytechnic of Milan.