In the heart of Florence there is a central shopping center, which is known by many as I Gigli. Inside of the 134-store space is Ai Banchi Del Mercato Centrale, an area dedicated solely to high-quality foods from all areas of Italy, such as handmade pasta and cured meats.
With 17 craft shops spanning almost 28,000 square feet, the massive food court-like area was recently designed by Florence-based architecture studio, Q-BIC, using a range of ceramic tiles from Ceramica Senio’s Laccanti collection. q-bic principals, Luca and Marco Baldini, identified the ceramic tiles from this collection as the “common element to merge the different styles of the several individual crafts” featured within Ai Banchi Mercate del Centrale.
While a base of 4- x 8-inch subway tiles in “Bianco” were used to create a backdrop, more than one dozen additional colors were used throughout all of the different spaces, including “Menta Medio” (mint green), “Azzurro Scuro” (dark blue), “Caucciù Scuro” (dark rubber), “Oro Antico” (ancient gold), “Bordeaux” (burgundy/maroon), “Bleu Scuro” (dark blue), “Cenere Medio” (medium ash), “Salvia Scuro” (dark sage), “Lilla Medio” (medium lilac), “Nero,” (black), “Cenere Scuro” (dark ash), “Beige Scuro” (dark beige), “Verde Bosco” (green forest). Altogether, 14 colors were utilized.
“Each shop is characterized by a ‘tile bench’ in a different color, while white tiles are their common background,” the architects explained. “Combined special pieces are used for corners and edges of benches and columns, as well.”
The “special pieces” include 2- x 2- x 8-inch caps in all of the colors, and 2- x 2- x 2-inch “V-outs” (3-D cube tiles) in “Bleu Scuro,” “Salvia Scuro,” “Lilla Medio,” “Nero” and “Cenere Scuro” which were implemented in specific
areas.“In every ‘bottega del gusto’
[taste shop], the artisan tradition is exalted by the choice of materials,” the designers said.