Ceramic exuberance

With roots in Renaissance tile making, renowned ceramics manufacturer Bitossi established a new path in the 1950s under the creative direction of Aldo Londi, a craftsman who climbed the ranks to eventually breathe new life into its output by bringing in e

By Max Fraser

With roots in Renaissance tile making, renowned ceramics manufacturer Bitossi established a new path in the 1950s under the creative direction of Aldo Londi, a craftsman who climbed the ranks to eventually breathe new life into its output by bringing in external designe

rs. The results of these collaborations and Londi’s own designs are on show at the Vessel Gallery in west London. Many of Londi’s sketches have been rediscovered in a limited edition series, displayed on rough timber scaffold planks on simple industrial trestles. Bitossi’s expertise lies in the range of glazes and the technical mastery of its craftsmen, who intricately hand build each piece. Londi’s collections from the 1950s exploit these skills with the application of colour and texture, giving a rustic, homely and handmade appearance. This contrasts with the crisp and clean architectural lines of Ettore Sottsass, whom Londi discovered as a student, and fellow Memphis members, such as Marco Zanini and Nathalie du Pasquier, who collaborated in the 1980s. The difference in styles will, no doubt, steer viewers into two distinct camps – those preferring the more intricate craft aesthetic, versus those who like the sharper, more industrial Memphis look.Bellissimo Bitossi runs until 12 November at Vessel, 114 Kensington Park Road, London W11. Tel: 020 7727 8001

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