The first Italian Ceramic Culture Centre is opened | by Maria Teresa Rubbiani

The first platform for promoting knowledge of the Italian ceramic sector at a national level was recently unveiled. For two years the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza MIC (for the cultural section consisting of art and museums), Italian Ceramic City Association AiCC (for artisanship), the CCB Centro Ceramico Bologna (for technical and scientific research) and Confindustria Ceramica (for the industrial sector) will work together with the aim of raising awareness of the quality of Italian ceramics and improving the sector’s competitiveness at an international level in all its constituent segments: industrial, artisanal and artistic.

The first stage of the project will focus on research. This will involve mapping Italian ceramic production and creating a database, a kind of search engine for Italian ceramics available for use by companies and which may be useful for the purposes of competition (go‐to‐market strategies) in order to understand the risks and opportunities of the current market. The database will cover the following categories: industry (number of companies, geolocation, size, production archives); ceramic cities with complete information on the 37 cities with an ancient ceramic tradition recognised by the Ministry of Economic Development MISE; ceramic museums and libraries, research and innovation institutes and educational institutes; artisans and artists.

The second phase will focus on innovation. In particular, it will promote and support scientific and technological studies focusing on the performance characteristics of ceramic materials, including through personnel training. The aim will be to improve the quality and sustainability of industrial ceramic products (tile, sanitaryware and tableware sectors) and thereby improve their competitiveness in the international marketplace.

The third phase will be entirely devoted to promotion. This will include creating the ceramic portal aimed at making all data collected during the research stage available and accessible to everyone; publication of a historical and geographical atlas of Italian ceramics containing historical and geographical maps of the areas of production, as well as a critical study of industrial ceramic production in the context of the history of Italian design; a tourist guide in Italian and English to the cities of ceramic production; and a glossary of the terms used in the ceramic sector.

The initiatives will be disseminated through the national media and promoted at some of the most important Italian events devoted to artistic, artisanal and industrial ceramics: Argillà Italia 2018, Buongiorno Ceramica 2018 and Cersaie 2018.

“Our efforts in terms of networking and communication have led to funding being granted by the Ministry of Economic Development MISE for this project, which for the first time brings together the interests of industrial and artistic ceramics as part of a vision that is both cultural and scientific,” said senator Stefano Collina, Chairman of AiCC. “The efforts on the part of the Italian Association of Ceramic Cities to promote engagement have resulted in collaboration between very different sectors. In the future we hope to be able to extend these partnerships to all artisanal associations.”

“This is the first time in Italy and probably also in Europe that an entire sector has collaborated on a shared project involving all its constituent segments: industry, artisanship and art,” said Vittorio Borelli, Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica. “Ceramics continue to be produced in Italy in all three of these ways. While art and artisanship have ancient and highly prestigious roots in Italy, industry has been developed from this age-old ceramic expertise and knowledge. Moreover, the Italian ceramic industry – especially that of tiles – now has a history of its own dating back more than a century and a decades-long tradition of international prestige as a peak of excellence of Italian industry.”

“The entire project is intended to highlight the value of ceramic materials in their various industrial, artisanal and artistic applications,” said Eugenio Emiliani, chairman of the MIC Foundation. “The creation of a freely accessible website for all players large and small may contribute to the dissemination of commercial and technological knowledge, which is essential for the development of a sector in which Italy is the world’s top exporter of high-quality products. For the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza it is a great honour to have been involved in this project.”

“We are very pleased to be taking part in this ambitious project, in which we are responsible for innovation and research,” said Maria Chiara Bignozzi, Director of Centro Ceramico Bologna. “By providing technical and scientific support, including participation in national and international standards committees, we will continue our efforts to raise awareness of the quality of Italian ceramic products with a view to gaining recognition as a global excellence in terms of performance and design.”

The project was funded by the Ministry of Economic Development in accordance with Italian Law no. 188 of 9 July 1990.