Posted on 8/8/2014 7:45 AM by Stamhost

There is just something about ceramics. Something intimate, something infinitely familiar. The story has it that Prometheus fashioned man out of clay and he loved his creations so much that he gave them the gift of fire. Man fires earth just as we toast bread and it becomes something magically delicious, we fire earth and it transforms into a miracle.


While walking the Coverings trade show in April I read this manifesto written by Maiarelli Studio for Ceramics of Italy and was so moved I thought I would share it here:


"We Care: A Declaration of Purpose:


We begin with what we stand on: clay and sand. We form it into slabs and fire it at volcanic temperatures. Our tile can be humble. It can be majestic. It can be shaped in an infinite number of ways. A single tile can be as large as a table, as thin as wire. It can withstand fire. It can withstand extreme conditions. It breathes with its environment. It lasts for decades. It is not merely decoration. It is not simply a tool. It is a covering with an organic strength, a natural beauty, an inherent durability. In Italy it is our legacy and our future. We are engineers and designers, laborers and artists. We practice this ancient craft using the most innovative technology. We use sustainable practices that set the standard for our field. We care for what matters. The human community. The natural world. When you think of tile, when you think of design, when you think of what will last, this is where you begin. This is where we stand."


To help illustrate this manifesto, here are some selections from this year's Coverings.

"A single tile can be as large as a table, as thin as wire" like Lea's Slimtech series of ultra-thin (3-5mm) large format (1mx3m) laminated stoneware.


"It can be shaped in an infinite number of ways" like this interesting four-time curved brick shape that's part of the Triennale Project by Marazzi (originally designed by Gio Ponti and Alberto Rosselli in the 1960s but only now in production because of technological advancements).


"Our tile can be humble" - like this terra cotta-inspired porcelain tile, Concept by Novabell.


"It can be majestic" like this beautiful mosaic tile collection, Structura by Sicis that has a three-dimensional waterfall effect.


"It can withstand extreme conditions." Porcelain tile is waterproof and frost-proof, which is why it can be used in harsh outdoor environments. Example: Warm Stones by Tagina.