Modern Italian tile company Ceramiche Ragno has just opened its new flagship in Milan featuring a stunning interior design scheme by Benedetta Tagliabue. By showcasing the brand’s striking ceramics in the flooring and wall features, the interior design pays homage to both the company’s history and to Italian craft and artistry. Tagliabue describes her approach to the 400-square-metre showroom in the Porta Nuova district as a “kaleidoscope of colours, textures and patterns.”
Beginning with the central idea of the spider — ragno is Italian for spider, after all — Tagliabue set out to create giant “webs” upon which to “trap” the modern Italian ceramics that the company is known for. Crafted from wood, these structures are reminiscent of the basketweave architecture that Tagliabue and her Barcelona firm, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, is known for, especially the Spanish pavilion it designed for Shanghai Expo 2010.
As a passerby, one first catches glimpses of these trellis-like forms through the showroom’s street-side windows, which also display weblike arrangements of ceramic tiles to entice visitors. While the complex geometry of the micro-architectures are the main attraction, the architect also introduced beautiful moments that celebrate the versatility of modern tile on various surfaces throughout the interior.
The floors feature quilt-like arrangements of circles and rectangles. These are inspired by the firm’s deep dive into ceramic tile’s uses and permutations throughout history. “We did research of Roman, Persian and Arabic historic mosaics that developed into a very sophisticated pavement for the showroom,” the firm explains in its press release.
The walls were also canvases for the creative interpretation of modern ceramics. In some areas, the firm applied a “barcode” pattern on the wall: vertical stripes of tile in varying thicknesses combine to create a marvellous motif.
The boldest application of Ragno’s ceramic offerings is found beyond an arched doorway inside a meeting room. It’s an ode to the Italian artist Giorgio Di Chirico, his brother Alberto Savinio, and a mid-century factory design for the Marazzi Group (Ragno’s parent company), sourced from a 1966 architectural drawing. The mosaic recalls Di Chirico’s surreal art, where vestiges of monumental architecture are suspended in dreamlike landscapes, especially the metaphysical paintings from the anthology Le piazza d’Italia.
The showroom is furnished with custom versions of pieces by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, including their Inestable, Dolmen and Tronco tables and the Studi table, which is adapted as a storage piece for archiving samples. The firm also designed chairs specifically for the interior; produced by the company Midj, they feature a loosely woven leather backrest that continues the spider theme.
Altogether, the interior is a striking stage for Ragno’s modern ceramics.
Designed by Benedetta Tagliabue, the flagship Milan location for Ceramiche Ragno features spider web display structures and an ode to Giorgio De Chirico.