Resurfacing ceramics, an exploration in technology: Studio Formafantasma X Cedit by Florim

Photo: Vanni Borghi

Venice – Let’s face it, mass automation and mechanical processes have been ruling the design and manufacturing world since the industrial revolution, at the expense of hand-craft. We’ve misplaced the character once seen in designs of years gone by. Steadily, we see designers combatting this by implementing a ‘rage against the machine’ technique, a full 180 degree turn, looking to artisanal methods of the past for their future mode of working. Handmade is making a comeback, but it’s up against the sheer speed, cost and efficacy of the machine-force.

Unless you utilize a combination of both, that is. Florim’s resurfaced label, Cedit, does: it’s re-characterising architectural ceramics by providing the ‘feel’ of handmade slabs, while maintaining the advantages of modern mechanization. Technology has allowed for larger slab sizes and technical precision in the laying of colour. In its heyday, circa 1940-1980, Cedit was known for encouraging artistic innovation and experimenting with new methods of surfacing in the ceramic industry. Often seen partnering up with great designers like Zanuso, Noorda and Ettore Sottsass.

Photo courtesy of Florim

Photo Vanni Borghi

Photo courtesy of Florim

Cedit continues on the same trajectory, encouraging an intense dialogue between craftsmanship and technology, evident in its recent ceramic slab collaboration with Studio Formafantasma, titled Cromatica. The collection explores the possibilities of re-introducing defects which were, once upon a time, a by-product of the handmade production process. Though unwanted, the inconsistencies presented by these methods ‘gave character to surfaces,’ say Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma. ‘[Cromatica] represents a reflection on colour, and above all a proposal on how to transfer the multiplicity of shades typical of a hand-crafted piece into a project produced on a large scale.’

Photo courtesy of Florim

Stool from the Craftica Collection by Formafantasma, image courtesy Gallery Libby Sellers

Photo courtesy of Florim

‘We used the colour palette created for Cedit by Ettore Sottsass in the eighties as the starting-point for the development of our design,’ Trimarchi and Farresin explain. This approach reinforces the designers’ mantra of looking back to look forward. A gradated scale of colour is visible in each of the large slabs. The result, though technically perfect, allows varied compositions of smaller tiles cut from the larger slabs, to serve as a method of injecting handmade characteristics into new interiors.

As part of the Venetian Festival DESIGN.VE, five ceramics collections designed exclusively for Cedit by Formafantasma, Giorgio Griffa, Franco Guerzoni, Zanellato/Bortotto and Zaven reinterpret the meaning of inhabiting a space in an innovative exhibition setting. Cedit presents Ambienti at Campo Santo Stefano, San Marco 2828/A, Venice, Until 8 July 2018.

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