Two great Italian companies join forces to produce a new collection of ceramic surfaces offering plenty of tactile sensations and suggestions: Earth is an original line of porcelain materials designed by Pininfarina and developed by Casalgrande Padana. An original project, a texture recalling the automotive world, generating a multisensorial effect; tactile three-dimensionality is obtained thanks to the conceptual merger of three very different materials: glass, leather and fabric. The result is a warm, hospitable tile with a simple yet elegant design. Also available in Bios Antibacterial Hydrotect and Bios Self-Cleaning versions, the Earth collection may be antibacterial and self-cleaning, and is always environmentally friendly and applicable in creative ways to create spaces which are elegant and sober or lively and dynamic thanks to its great dimensional versatility. The first tile collection by Pininfarina combines the elegance of hand crafting with the technological innovation of industry. A word from its two creators, Paolo Pininfarina, President of Pininfarina, and Mauro Manfredini, Sales Manager at Casalgrande Padana.
area: How did you end up working with Casalgrande Padana? Is this the first time you have designed and developed a ceramics collection?
Paolo Pininfarina: The partnership set out to combine two areas of Italian excellence: Casalgrande Padana's solid know-how in the field of advanced ceramic materials and Pininfarina's expertise in industrial design and interior design. The two companies share important values: striving for quality and excellence, innovation in lines and materials, respect for the environment. The first line of tiles we developed, Earth by Pininfarina, is a unique collection with a distinctive character of its own.
area: What are the starting points for the Earth project? What are the first ideas and references to other materials you developed?
Mauro Manfredini: The meeting with Pininfarina was particularly stimulating from the creative point of view. We worked together intensely, focusing on innovation in both technological and formal terms. The result is a line of new design, far removed from the many imitations of natural materials existing on the market.
P.P.: What is unique about this project is the system's great versatility, which allows us to produce a tile conveying a sense of luxury and charm with the refinement and simplicity of its design featuring decorative motifs recalling the automotive world. The inspiration for the decorations comes from Pininfarina's long automotive tradition: characterised by extremely clean, elegant lines, they are made unique by use of special finishes and materials - auto body paint, precious woods, natural leather treated to permit use as a covering material.
area: How did you choose the colours of the collection, and above all the materials to be used for the inserts made to match the ceramics?
M.M.: Pininfarina's in-depth research into the colour palette was very important, along with the availability of tiles in various different sizes, leaving plenty of room for creative use in very different spaces. Our inspiration for the decorations came from Pininfarina's glorious automotive tradition and use of special finishes and materials. The system also permits addition of Pininfarina’s signature logo, either to the tile or to the decoration, according to the specific requirements of the project or the client's tastes.
area: How did your infinite know-how in the automotive world help you in this project?
P.P.: On today's market, saturated with ceramic imitations of other natural materials, we wanted to design a collection that would stand out for its excellence and versatility. Our almost obsessive approach to the study of the grain and finish of a great variety of synthetic and natural materials every day guided us in our work on the Earth project. We approached calibration of the surface texture of Earth ceramics in the same way as we would approach the study and production of a seat for a supersonic jet, or a luxury supercar. The system of decorations, an additional element that distinguishes the Earth collection and makes it stand out on the international market, is a clear reference to the automotive world and to the associations the name Pininfarina brings to mind.
area: Is the theme of texture definitely one of the most important trends in contemporary interiors? How do you expect to see it evolve in the future?
P.P.: Digital technology now offers us an infinite series of tools with which to design and create two and three-dimensional decorations, and the majority of companies are updating and evolving in this direction. In all our projects we address the theme of "surfaces" from different points of view. We like to tell our story and represent our vision of design both through soft, sensual new geometries and through use of very light three-dimensional decorations to be applied to surfaces, without over-designing, but adding to the sense of elegance and exclusiveness of a timeless interior. We often tend to add "materialism" to the elements that appear in our interior projects. We like textured surfaces to respond to natural or artificial light in different ways and call up a series of different perceptions in relation to the distance and angle from which the material is seen and touched.
M.M.: The theme of texture definitely has an important future in the world of interior design, thanks to continually evolving digital technology. We will be concentrating on intense research and experimentation, coordinated by our research centre along with prominent design studios, to continue improving our product's appearance and performance.