14 October 2010

Broken tile on purpose

Massimiliano Adami is a highly regarded Italian designer who's been working with Ceramiche Refin, a tile manufacturer located outside of Modena. His latest project is called Terraviva and it involves purposely cracking large-format floor tile and then setting it.

The idea being that it's imperfections that make life interesting, so why not set a few right into the floor?

This is not a graphic that's been printed onto this tile, the tile's actually broken and the cracks are grouted in.

You can see it a little more clearly in this close-up.

It's an interesting idea, and I like the idea of embracing imperfections. However, The idea of setting out with a goal of making imperfections kind of bothers me. I could get used to it with a little effort though.

What do you guys think? Embrace imperfections as they crop up or set out with the goal of making imperfections? Would you ever install something like this in your home? Are Ceramiche Refin and Massimiliano Adami onto something?


  1. While its appropriate to embrace imperfections that fit in context (such as cracks and other imperfections in concrete floors in an adaptive reuse project), having a "manufactured" imperfection really seems disingenuous, especially with the finely perfected smoothed out cracks... Reminds me of the "trucker hats" that they sell that are already worn in, with a fake tire mark and a machine made rip in the same place on every unit.

  2. Thanks Tyler. I like the idea of flaws when they come about on their own, I believe the word for that is character. That kind of character speaks of spaces that are as well-used as they are well-loved. Doing it on purpose seems a bit forced, sort of like trying to find a shortcut to character.

  3. My take on it is less that it's "manufactured imperfection" and more of an artistic statement. What do you think? Tile floor as "the state of current society"?

  4. It does come down to intention and much to Signor Adami's credit, the motive here is really hard to discern. Part of it seems like a statement but it could easily cross the line into affectation. I'm still of two minds.

  5. Don't break my tile, bro!

    I'm trying to like this, but it reminds me of those upside-down Ripley's museums.

  6. I'm another that doesn't like "made" imperfections; I don't like the practice of artificially distressing furniture either.
    Now if he'd painted the cracks deep red he could sell to the Goth market...

  7. Wabi sabi, baby!


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