Ceramics of Italy announced its participation in and sponsorship of the National Building Museum’s upcoming exhibition Making Room: Housing for a Changing America. Opening in Washington, D.C., the ten-month exhibit aims to highlight innovative housing solutions in a one-of-a-kind, evolving installation. Organized by the museum and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council and presented in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei, Making Room focuses on residential interior design, which is envisioned to meet the growing needs of America’s diverse households. Dovetailing with this mission, Ceramics of Italy is a proud sponsor along with in-kind support from Italian tile producers.
“We are honored to support the National Building Museum, which is the only cultural institution in the U.S. dedicated to the built environment,” said Vittorio Borelli, president of Confindustria Ceramica. “Making Room is a unique opportunity for Ceramics of Italy to demonstrate the impressive versatility and unmatched quality of Italian ceramic tiles. The future of residential design is rapidly changing and [Ceramics of Italy] understands the necessity to create products for flexible and multi-functional spaces.”
With unprecedented shifts in demographics and lifestyles over the past few decades, American households have undergone a transformation. More adults than ever are living alone, multigenerational households are on the rise, and affordable housing is in crisis. Technology, the desire for creative use of space and environmental sustainability, as well as demands for healthy living all require 21st century solutions, while traditional residential housing design have not kept pace.
Making Room examines the groundswell of developers, architects, interior designers, allied with housing advocates, policy makers, and activists who are proposing exciting, flexible answers for these evolving needs. Replete with surprising architectural and design improvements, the exhibition illuminates cutting-edge approaches such as micro apartments in New York City, shared housing experiments in the D.C. area, backyard accessory cottages in Seattle, tiny houses that are helping the formerly homeless in Austin, and the boom in cohousing communities nationwide, among other advances. Models, plans, and images showcase some of these alternative options and their effects on the housing market in those communities.
The exhibition’s centerpiece, The Open House, is a 1,000-square-foot, full-scale, flexible dwelling, which further illustrates how a small space can be adapted to meet many needs. Designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo, the home comprises two distinct living spaces that could be used independently or combined to form a larger residence. On its own, the smallest space could be configured as a micro apartment. To highlight how the same space can accommodate three entirely different living arrangements -- roommates, an extended family, and a retired couple with a live-in aid -- the interior furnishings will be swapped out twice during the exhibition’s seven-month run.
Mirroring the modern yet tactile design Colombo has envisioned for the space, while demonstrating the latest designs and technical advancements, several collections have been chosen to showcase the variety and versatility of Italian tile products. The refined and minimalistic Graph tiles from Ceramica Vogue will be used in one of the bathrooms, while Gruppo Romani’s Cir MAT concrete-look collection will adorn the walls of the second bath interior. The floor tiles will be set on a raised system by Newfloor with: Tr3nd by Ergon, a brand of Emilgroup; Tagina’s Apogeo collection; and One by Ceramiche Caesar, displaying tiles that demonstrate the impressive detail that experimental, modern technology can achieve on porcelain stoneware. Tiles that mimic natural materials such as wood, anthracite and terracotta-cement designs will be used with a range of detail and sizes. Bringing it all together, MAPEI will contribute mortars, grouts and sealants, as well as a surface preparation product to provide a complete solution for the installers of the exhibition. The tiles will be set with Ultraflex 3, a premium thin-set mortar with a high content of a unique dry polymer, which will act as a superior adhesion between the substrate and tile. MAPEI’s Keracolor U unsanded grout in Warm Gray and in Brick Red was chosen to complement the tiles.
Ceramics of Italy is looking forward to sharing the unparalleled quality and timeless sophistication of Italian tile with architects, designers, builders and other members of the public through this exhibition, which will run from Nov. 18, 2017 to Sept. 16, 2018.