As a long-term champion of ceramic tiles, someone who is convinced that they are the world’s finest surface finish, with unsurpassed technical and aesthetic abilities, if I have had one criticism of ceramic tile manufacturers in the past it is this: they have been too passive.
Over the past 30 years ceramic tile design has been too reactive. It has responded to haute couture and high street fashion. It has assimilated cutting edge interior design and developed ranges to fit. It has responded to architectural trends with suitable commercial tile ranges. And, in particular, it has been obsessed on producing slavish and, it must be said increasingly accurate, reproductions of natural and man-made materials: marble, stone, wood, fabric, wallpaper, concrete and metal. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the commercial logic and I am frequently impressed by the tiles that result from this fantastic R&D effort. But I have always hoped to see the day when ceramic tiles truly had the self-confidence to set the design agenda. I longed for new tile designs that are real blank sheet inspirations that truly explore the outer limits of the potential of continuous pressing and digital decoration technology.
Maybe, just maybe, that day has finally dawned. At Salone del Mobile in Milan, designers really explored the design potential and architectural scope of ceramic tiles and XXL porcelain panels. At the recent Clerkenwell Design Week, ceramic tiles seemed to be setting the design agenda and were centre stage in terms of technical innovation, shape, 3D forms, colour, texture … and sheer excitement.
Which leads me on to Mutina Accents. This collection provides further evidence that ceramic tiles are now at the vanguard of design. With this concept, Mutina has fully implemented its creative and lifestyle ethos, presenting the interior architecture arena with a new design concept developed in collaboration with Danish designers OEO Studio. Here ceramic tiles provide the inspiration and launch pad for a much more ambitious and far reaching vision.
Mutina Accents introduces a universe of high-quality complementary products, designed by OEO Studio, that were created around, and enhance the spirit of, Mutina’s celebrated ceramic tiles. Contrasting materials, such as wood and metal, are here placed side-by-side the brand’s ceramic collections, offering exciting use of colour, and bold architectural elements and furniture that echo Mutina’s spirit.
The collaboration with OEO Studio reveals a mutual design philosophy; one that is fully expressed in a project that aims to redefine the approach to the world of interior design through a story that develops in 34 different settings, starting from surfaces.
With its constant dialogue between minimalism and vitality, revealed in the mixture of contrasts, textures and nuances, Mutina Accents offers an infinite number of possible combinations: a range of paints available in 20 colours with different finishes; eight versatile furnishing accessories (mirrors, cabinets, shelves, clothes hooks, and towel rails); plus a range of four architectural elements, including panelling, skirting boards and space-dividing elements.
Mutina Accents is thus introducing a new way of bold thinking, a universe of colours, textures and architectural elements in which the only limit is the individual’s own natural creativity.
Tile Addict has long been an admirer of Mutina. This project is just the latest piece of evidence that this is a company that celebrates following a bold new approach to ceramics … no longer conceived as a mere material for making tiles but as an interior design project. Mutina combines technology with hand-crafted details and experimentation that transcends the limits of the materials, with research innovation to ensure it regularly delivers market-leading product.
Mutina also works with top-drawer designers, such as Patricia Urquiola, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Rodolfo Dordoni, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Tokujin Yoshioka, Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges, Inga Sempe, and Konstantin Grcic, a line up that shares the same passion and ethos. Long may these creative juices flow!
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, June 2018.