Design meets art

Design Parade 2017: after the world of fashion and of design, Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti now encounters the world of art, for new inspirations and new horizons.

From 29th June to 2nd July, in Hyères, France, the 12th edition of Design Parade took place. Organised by Villa Noailles, one of the most important artistic centres of the region, Design Parade is again affirmed as a pioneering event for selecting promising young designers. Every year, ten candidates – students or recent
graduates from all over the world – are selected by a jury made up of key figures in the world of design and of art. There are many workshops, visibility and a scholarship to be won.
Their works are on display until 24th September in the charming setting of Villa Noailles, a magnificent example of modernist architecture that, since 1925, has been dominating from on high the bay of Hyères in the French Riviera.

Cerdisa, a brand of Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti with strong architectural orientation, has entered the 2017 edition with a special interpretation of the EC1 collection by emerging Swiss designer Adrien Rovero, who has already collaborated with prestigious art ateliers and fashion houses such as Hermès.
Rovero has added his artistic touch to the excellent material and technical performance of porcelain tiles, with special cuts and processes, and with a note of contrasting colour, to create customised panels, obtaining an intriguing contamination between industrial product and work of art.

You are first of all a designer. How would you describe yourself?

Yes indeed. I am fascinated by how things are made and what they express. When I visit an industry, for example, I see a huge playground where millions of possibilities are just waiting for innovation.
I take the example of the industry because, when I design, it is important for me to understand what is feasible or not. At the same time, I myself, what do I need? What would I like to have?
I am a dreamer that tries to make visions come true. With a holistic approach, I try to implement playfulness but without compromising function!
What is the meaning of “design meets art” for you? What is the goal of this kind of experimentation?

Design meets art is an old debate… people are trying to put what they see in boxes and these two worlds are two boxes… For me, experimentation means that we give priority to innovation and we try new techniques. That allows us to break through the existing situation.
At the same time, it explains that we are not trying to finalise a product at this point. We are trying new things. Product industrialisation is a second step. This is an exciting process for discovering new ways.

Which collaborations or influences in your life have been important for you and your professional path?

First of all, education. It gives me more confidence and helps me think in a coherent way. I have been lucky to work with many clients that trusted my design and they have made my path. I see work as a general energy that is hard to focus on one particular case. I simply always try to do my best.

Can you tell us something more about your participation in Design Parade (in general)?

Design Parade is a festival that shows contemporary work. It is structured around a young designer prize where 10 designers show their work.
Alongside, many exhibitions with more established designers create the festival. Somehow, it is the continuing history of Villa Noailles, built by Mallet Stevens for the art patrons Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles… in their time, they supported artists like Man Ray, Giacometti….
The festival has gained a reputation on the design scene since it began 12 years ago. For the first edition, I had the chance to win the jury prize, which keeps me in good contact with them.

At Design Parade 2017 you collaborated with Cerdisa. How did you meet? How was this experience?

We worked together in order to try new ideas with ceramic tiles. We wanted to work together and the idea was to start with an experimentation to see how we could work together and at the same time see if a radical output could win interest. It was very professional and amazing to see that there were very few limitations.

Can you describe the artistic concept developed with EC1?

With EC1, one of my favourite tile programmes, we try to hack the machine in order to create new visual effects… This story started with a drawing project I did last year with a CNC (computerised numerical control) machine. Normally these machines and their software execute the programme for which they have been made. I tried to use the same programme but generating patterns and visual effects instead of drilling the materials.
With EC1 we followed that principle. The water-jet machine, which is usually made to cut tiles, is used to engrave in order to have a specific pattern. I added also another level by filling the patterns with cement and designing them the same thickness. The result was a pattern that mixed with the grouts and allowed a specific design without understanding where the different parts are… that gave unlimited size solutions.