As the design cognoscenti migrates from Salone del Mobile in Milan to Cersaie, the name given to the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings (on show in Bologna, in Italy’s north), one particular display has repeatedly captured the eye of attendees. Recognisable for its impressive arrangement of spheres, cylinders, cones, cubes and prisms, the booth, titled Infinite Majesty, was designed by Valencia-based creative consultancy Masquespacio for Roca Tiles – a designer, producer and seller of ceramic tiles. “[It’s] a majestic and surrealistic space that oversteps perspectives and standards with chromatic and material combinations,” says the Masquespacio team, led by founders Christophe Penasse and Ana Milena Hernández Palacios.
Roca’s presence in this year’s edition of Cersaie invites visitors “to pause and ‘listen’ to the walls in the space, and get lost in the curves and lines of its perfect geometry,” the designers explain. They add that the guiding inspiration behind the booth is the porcelain material itself – “and the desire to capture the different hints it can offer” – as well as an evocative reading of the classic architectural order.
Roca Tiles installation at Cersaie in Italy by Masquespacio
“The space designed for Roca features a strategic distribution of the different elements that will shroud [visitors] in the room,” the designers explain. The spheres and cylinders, cones and cubes join together in polychromatic columns around the central space. Mirrors and curtains reinforce the ethereal atmosphere; a fantastical touch that the Masquespacio team insists makes anyone who enters the room “forget where they are” – even just for a moment.
Breaking the mould of what trade-show spaces might look like, the ambitious booth features a striking symphony of white, grey and green-coloured surfaces from Roca’s Arcobaleno, Topazio and Saint Tropez collections. Each porcelain product contains up to 50% pre-consumer recycled content and illustrates a sense of classic nobility, sophistication, balance and serenity.
For Masquespacio, the ceramic material also provided an opportunity to create decorative elements that stretch the limits of the product’s application. In the words of Ana, founder and creative director of the design studio, “we often forget that ceramic is so versatile that it can go beyond its traditional use in floors and walls,” she suggests. “The [same] material has been used to create small sculptural and furniture pieces that are integrated in the space.”
Far from the conventional functionality so-often sought in this type of exhibition or trade-only forum, the perspective of the Infinite Majesty project presented one main challenge – “to transform the booth into an artistic and aesthetic space,” Ana says, concluding that it was a task that both Masquespacio, as designers, and Roca Tiles, as a manufacturer, were willing to conquer.
We often forget that ceramic is so versatile that it can go beyond its traditional use in floors and walls.
Also in Italy, Masquespacio designed the Bun burger restaurant in Milan and in Turin. Near Florence, famed Italian ceramics-maker Bitossi has opened a museum displaying its 5000-piece catalogue. Catch up on more hospitality architecture and design and retail design, plus subscribe to receive the Daily Architecture News e-letter direct to your inbox.