During my time as a tile journalist I have visited most of the world’s tile production hubs: Sassuluolo in Italy, Castellon in Spain, Salernes in France, Stoke-on-Trent, etc. So, when a holiday with family and friends took me to the Umbrian countryside near Todi, Italy, a trip to Deruta was hard to resist. Rather than ceramic tiles, Deruta is better known for decorated pots, glazed table tops and other glazed items, generally destined for Italian gardens and a life of baking sun and al fresco dining.
However, a few of the manufacturers based in this small medieval town, do produce tiles and other flat decorative items, which are ideal for use as stove screens or splashbacks.
Domiziani, like many manufacturers from Deruta, is renowned for its traditional production of ceramics. Here the secrets of the art of ‘majolica’ have been passed down through the centuries from one generation to the other, upholding the tradition of intense colours, exquisite design and high quality that are characteristic of this historic ceramic region.
The art of creating ‘majolica’ ceramic is not limited to pottery but has also been applied to tiles and tabletops. However, among the plethora of factory outlets selling colourful and highly decorated ceramic wares, Domiziani really stands out. Alongside traditional majolica designs Domiziani produces highly contemporary and boldly abstract pieces manufactured from glazed lava rock.
Indeed Roberto Domiziani, the founder of the company, is often credited with inventing the Italian Volcanic Stone Table, as it is known today. As one of the original artists and entrepreneurs in this sector, Roberto Domiziani has taken these products to a level of sophistication, elegance and quality that rivals the masterpieces of the Renaissance.
Domiziani utilises a meticulously-controlled manufacturing process to produce custom-made products for the hospitality and contract interiors industry. Orders are generally created, manufactured and delivered in as little as 30 days, depending on the size and quantity of the order; and the company has an extensive archive of completed commissions with which to tempt potential customers.
The products are based on a volcanic lava stone that is then glazed using a specialist form of majolica. The result is a perfect synergy between the aesthetic potentials of the ceramic glazes, and the considerable mechanical strength and physical beauty of basalt. The resulting glazed lava stone can be used to produce tables, kitchen worktops, splashbacks, bathroom vanity units, floor tiles, shower trays, shower surrounds, mirrors, stairs and even sinks. The products are also ideal as stand-alone feature panels, such as behind a hotel bar or as an exquisite one-off headboard.
The machining of the volcanic lava stone is carried out in a series of stages; all performed by hand within the Domiziani factory. They include cutting, glazing, hand decoration, vitrification and double firing at more than 1,000ºC. The kiln-fired ceramic finish on these stone tabletops is a non-porous gloss; and each piece is individually signed.
The result is a range of products and designs that are suitable for any interior and exterior application, since the finished product is frost- and salt-resistant and will not fade with exposure to UV light. Furthermore, the products have excellent impact resistance, low absorption, do not stain or warp in contact with sources of heat such as hot pans and offer a similar a degree of scratch resistance to marble.
One of the most appealing aspects of these glazed lava stone products is the natural of the surface which features as small spots or other surface irregularities that reflect the natural origin of the stone and the artisanal quality of each piece..
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, March 2017.