"Bridging the gap: talking about ceramics"


Architects and ceramic producers exchanged views at a thought-provoking event organised by Esmalglass-Itaca in Sassuolo on 14 June.

Creativity, artifice, surfaces, challenges, tradition, decoration, ecology, materials, identity

These were just a few of the keywords that kicked off the talk entitled “Bridging the gap: talking about ceramics”, organised by Esmalglass-Itaca at its facility in Sassuolo on 14 June. The aim of the event was to promote a dialogue between the worlds of ceramic production and architecture, to explore different viewpoints and to attempt to answer a number of important questions. Do ceramic products have a soul, their own dignity? What role do architects play in increasing perceived value and in communicating ceramics to end users? What efforts must manufacturers make to understand the needs of architects? What is the future of ceramics?

The renowned Spanish ceramic glaze and colour producer invited a number of guests to take part in the discussions: on the one hand various professionals from the Italian ceramic industry, including heads of sales, marketing and new product R&D; on the other a select group of leading architects operating in the Tuscany, Marche, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy regions who have very different experiences and areas of specialisation (urban spaces, residential and commercial).

The discussion explored a number of topical issues, including the contrasting trends of imitating natural materials and returning to the value of decoration; very large sizes cut into custom sizes compared to the modularity and flexibility of smaller sizes; whether to continue to operate in traditional markets or to enter new segments where the technical and aesthetic value of innovative ceramic products can open up new frontiers for application in architecture.

In almost all cases a range of opinions emerged, even amongst the same categories of professionals, challenging the usual generalisations and stereotypes. But one thing that everyone agreed on is that collaboration between manufacturers and the professionals who are in contact with end users is becoming increasingly essential.

Many of the architects who took part believe that ceramics offer the perfect technical and aesthetic solution to everything that cannot be found in nature. But rather than considering them as the sole design element of a project, they see them as a kind of bridge with the necessary technical qualities and aesthetic versatility to unify and harmonise the various materials used in a project.

The aim of “Bridging the gap” was to open up a direct line of communication between professionals who in their various fields can each contribute to the development of the future of ceramics. The success of this first meeting has given Esmalglass-Itaca plenty of encouragement to continue!