When we approached the project, three aspects of the product immediately struck us: the shape, the surface’s treatment and the colour. These characteristics allowed us to play and to create a good number of combinations, potentially infinite.
The dimensions and propostions are similar to those of the classic “cotto” brick, a material that characterises, for example, Bologna’s city centre, the city where we live and work. By looking around us, we find it everywhere: in the columns and the arches of the famous “portici” (colonnades), in the palaces’ façades, in the vaults of doors and windows, in the decoration of the churches and in thewall surface of the towers that, up until today, tower above the city’s rooftops.
Like the typical brick, Chick Brick also presents an irregular surface treatment, always upredictable. This makes it non-unvarying both from a chromatic point of view, allowing for a variety of interesting shades, as well as from a morphological point of with, creating vibrant and ively/energetic surfaces. To all this we add a wide range of 20 colours: from the tones of white, grey and beige, to endless shades of blue, green and light-blue, passing through warm shades of red, pink and purple. At first glance, these 20 bricks remind us of a newly bought box of coloured crayons, in which the chromatic order still hasn’t been mixed up by the creative impulse.
Mixing up the order – by playing with exposures and colours – is what we also did. We started off with a specific research on the treatment of various surfaces, from building ones in general, to stone claddings, through wallpaper or ceramic cladding. We then tried to update and to reinterpret this research thanks to the possibility of creating “ceramic tapestries”, and we approached a wall as if it was a white canvas, pretending to upholster, with Chick Brick, not just those surfaces that are typically treated with ceramic cladding.
The first step has been to think about which suggestion we wanted to instill each time, and from there we started off, at times, by choosing colours first and then the laying, sometimes by doing the contrary. The results have been most varied: from motifs that took inspiration from the industrial tradition, to a revisiting of geometies and patterns that are among the classics in the history of design. We were sometimes driven to irreverent colour combinations, taking inspiration from street style or from the Eighties’ Pop culture; some other times we concentrated on revisitations of more classical styles – both in terms of laying and colour – that would refer to the style of modern design.
We sometimes took inspiration from surfaces of two-coloured marble, which characterized the projects of the Glasgow School from the beginning of the XXth century, or to colours and geometries that immediately refer to Turkish baths and the hammams of nothern Africa and the Middle East. Some other times still, by chosing colours first, and then the laying, we tried to bring back the same wall surfaces with polychrome marbles of sacred and noble architecture of the 17th and the 18th centuries in Europe, or the weaves and the warm colours, such as sand and earth, of handmade fabrics of faraway traditions.
One thing is for sure: the game of creating possible atmospheres with Chick Brick is very engaging. It has certainly been that way for us; we could have gone on endlessly with colour combinations and laying geometries. At a certain point, with a bit of regret, we had to make a selection and discard a few options to be able to reach the results in this catalogue.
Ing. Nicola Barzanti
Arch. Maria Elena Morganti