Matteo Brioni amps up his latest line of all-natural interior finishes with the TerraFrame collection, a surfacing created with dual-toned and -textured materials.
You could call Matteo Brioni’s latest flooring surface half-baked and he likely wouldn’t mind a bit. Through the Lombardy studio he founded eight years ago, Brioni has been offering architects and designers an alternative to conventional tiling with his custom “raw earth” surfaces. His latest collection, TerraFrame, augments his usual soil bases with baked decorative elements to create a uniquely dual-toned and -textured material.
The theme is “dichotomy,” says Brioni, whose inspiration was opus signinum flooring, made in ancient Rome by mixing small tile fragments with mortar. Born into a family that has owned a brick maker’s furnace in Gonzaga, about 140 kilometres southeast of Milan, for four generations, he came by his influences naturally.
Marialaura Rossiello Irvine of Studio Irvine, a design firm in Milan, is Brioni’s art director. Together, they select clays and natural aggregates from various regions, then blend them to achieve the chromatic and functional specifications best suited to each project. When the desired form and colour are achieved, the raw earth blend is air-dried, not fired. The resulting material emits no toxic fumes, absorbs sound and helps to regulate room temperatures.
Since 2010, the studio’s surfaces have appeared in a wide range of projects, including retail stores in Rome and Amsterdam, a restaurant in Venice and the Dada showroom in Milan. In 2014, Brioni’s take on an adobe brick wall, developed for Kéré Architecture, was featured at the Venice Biennale.
For the TerraFrame line, distinguished by its contrasting elements, Brioni has chosen to go more graphic than rough-hewn. In this case, the terracotta is glued to the clay and air-dried; the entire surface is then sanded and treated with linseed oil and natural wax. The dichotomous result blends the traditional with the modern, the raw with the cooked. It’s a unique line from a studio already known for its uniqueness.