Design Standout: New Azulej Tile Collection by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina

Cersaie 2012

At the recent Cersaie tile show in Bologna, I saw beautiful tiles all day long. High quality, thoughtful design, being shown in booths designed to highlight best features, described by knowledgeable representatives. But, no matter how fantastic the overall show, personal favorites are bound to emerge. For me, at Cersaie, Mutina's new collections, Azulej (shown here) and Tex (post to follow), were two of the standouts.

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Our group (a fantastic crew of design writers, architects and interior designers from the US and Canada) had the privlege and pleasure of having the collection presented to us by the designer herself. As the Creative Director for Mutina, Patricia Urquiola is responsible for the look and feel for the entire brand, and her new collection, Azulej, fits perfectly into the evolving (more pattern, more color!), yet ever-strengthening (it all works together), Mutina "look".

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Reminiscent and respectful of classic cement tile design but with a distinct modern update achieved through the use of digital printing on porcelain stoneware. Azulej takes patterns that at first glance feel familiar, and gives them a smart refresh. Thanks to modern technology, the process used in creating them makes them very strong and impervious to staining and damage, as well as more affordable. The finish is exactly as Urquiola wanted them to be - slightly textural, pleasing to the eye and touch. The colors are restrained, with a palette that makes it less intimidating to imagine adding powerful pattern to a room in your home - the colors are subtle, beautiful and very livable. Finally, they work beautifully in many combinations - solo, using just one pattern, in pairs, with one pattern edging or mirroring the other, or in a joyful, bring-it-on mix of three, four, five or more, working together, creating a design that is at once visually interesting and diverse, yet cohesive.

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I went to Cersaie not knowing what I would find. I didn't expect that it would be a wishlist of projects to do at my own home, and yes, adding Azulej somewhere, somehow, is at the top of it.

MORE INFO: Azulej by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina

(Images: Janel Laban)