Projects

The "Rotonda Italiana" coffee bar - Reggio Emilia

Art Deco and a focus on craftsmanship

The "Rotonda Italiana" coffee bar in Reggio Emilia takes you on a journey in time, thanks to vintage tiles that express Italian quality in all its facets
Author
Claudia Capperucci
Surfaces
CIR
Year of completion
2013

The art of painting ceramic tiles is an ancient one indeed. It was brought to Europe (Spain and Portugal in particular) by the Arabs in the 13th century, and was rapidly assimilated into the artisan culture of the local populations. Plaza de España in Seville, decorated with hundreds of coloured “azulejos”, pays unique tribute to the craftsmanship of this period. Painted tiles are also symbolic of the Liberty and Art Deco periods, though their decorations are far more restrained than those of the Mediaeval period. Innumerable palaces in Barcelona prove the point. These buildings, dotted around the historical centre, owe their beauty largely to their painted ceramics.
Today, vintage painted tiles are back in fashion for interior applications, and not only in bathrooms and kitchens, the rooms to which tiles have traditionally been confined. On the contrary, we now find tiles in unexpected uses in lounges and bedrooms too, both on the floor and on the walls. Many contract and public space designers give different areas radically original looks by using decorated ceramic and cement tiles. This is certainly the case at La Rotonda Italiana in Reggio Emilia: fine glazed porcelain tiles from the Via Emilia collection of Cir Manifatture Ceramiche line the floor and walls in various patterns and shades (the catalogue offers two finishes, eleven colours and three formats).
The coffee bar lies only a short distance from the Moncasale industrial area and the Reggio Emilia exhibition centre, in one of the suburbs of the town, and offers an informal, warm and welcoming atmosphere. In the (open) oven and food preparation area, Cir’s 20×20 cm coloured tiles impart a clear-cut, distinctive character to the walls. The same tiles re-appear on the floor of the consumption area.
Here, everything is totally Italian, and only fresh, genuine, top quality ingredients are used according to local customs that demand a traditional setting. The idea of craftsmanship is not just a slogan to attract customers, but a genuine way of life. It appears in the food and in every sip of coffee savoured at the simple, square tables, made of wood like the chairs around them.
The Canali décor is a clear reference to the past, with its characteristic tones of black, grey and Bordeaux and an almost stylised flower motif rendered more original by variations in shade on the ceramic surface. This is classic Art Deco: colours are decisive and strong, with decorative elements becoming more and more essential, geometric and schematic. Rhombuses, squares, trapeziums and circles repeat in ways that evoke other forms and figures.
The Via Emilia collection is ideal for adding a touch of class to restorations, but can just as well find applications in new-build projects.

Tiles
Cir Manifatture Ceramiche, Via Emilia
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
20x20 cm
Colours
Nero, Bianco, Bordeaux + Canali decor
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E ≤ 0,3% BIa GL
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): Classe 5
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
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