‘It is a bit like an alphabet with which you can write different stories,’ says Milan-based Nathalie Du Pasquier, describing her new collection of ceramic tiles for Italian brand Mutina. The artist and a founding member of the Memphis Group has created 41 designs, from striking hand-drawn graphics to plain colours, that can be mixed and matched to create a dazzling variety of combinations.
More than mere surface decoration, the ‘Mattonelle Margherita’ range feels active and energetic, helping to not only shape a room but also imbue it with life. ‘I think a lot about space in relation to my work and tiles transform a space. They create an environment,’ explains Du Pasquier.
The modular and versatile nature of the collection allows you to be as innovative and exuberant, or restrained and minimalist, as you like. ‘Think of a house covered in tiles throughout, on the floors and walls – it would be wonderful,’ she enthuses. ‘At the same time, you can create a really simple floor.’
To demonstrate the possibilities, Du Pasquier has produced a range of interior settings (a selection pictured) in which the graphic tiles – featuring geometrical flowers, rhombuses, stars and stripes – and their plain counterparts are shown alongside a complementary range of paints.
In the images, the tiles create a visual contrast between floors and walls and provide a striking background for furniture. The artist also plays the terracotta, blue, green, black and white notes of the ceramics surfaces against the more pastel hues of the walls.
While Du Pasquier’s range, launched to mark the Italian brand’s 15th anniversary, is characteristically contemporary, the hand-designed motifs, rich colours and tactile surfaces lend the tiles a more traditional sensibility. Research went into finding the most reactive glazes and brightest pigments to create a vibrant finish, and also into achieving a surface texture that was appealing to the touch.
‘We wanted the warm feeling of ceramic, which is so different from the cold effect achieved with digital printing,’ the artist says, adding: ‘I love decorating, I love ceramics, and I’m a huge fan of tiles.’ mutina.it
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration January 2021
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