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The importance of ceramics at Expo 2015

The Italian ceramic tile industry will play a key role at Expo 2015, the universal exhibition that from May till October will put Italy at the centre of the world’s attention. This will be the first Expo in Italy since the end of WW2. There had been two expositions at the beginning of the century, in Milan and in Turin, while the 1942 Expo – which was supposed to take place in Rome EUR area – had been cancelled for war reasons. The Italian ceramic tile industry will be present both in Milan – where the Expo takes place – and at Ceramicland – in the heart of the Italian ceramic district in the Emilia-Romagna region.

Ceramics of Italy workshop will take place May 1st to May 10th, at the Triennale di Milano. The exhibition is organised by the Italian ceramic industry’s trade association Confindustria Ceramica in cooperation with Edi.Cer. SpA following a concept designed by BlumerandFriends, and curated by Aldo Colonetti. The concept behind this exhibition is to bring together ceramics and food in a space that is half kitchen and half workshop. It aims to illustrate in a visually striking and interactive way how ceramic products are linked to food and the places where food is prepared and consumed. Earth and firing are the common lines to this project: from the earth you get food, which you cook to eat; from the earth you get a mixture, which you cook to become ceramics.

The exhibition space will be turned into a workshop area: there will be several workshops open to children and teenagers led by industrial design students attending the University of San Marino. The artworks will be filmed and published on the internet via social networks.

Ceramicland on the other hand is an invitation for visitors at the Expo to come and meet the land of ceramics, the heart of ceramic tiles, where everything originated and continues to grow with great passion and work. Tourists will be carried through the genesis and the story of Italian ceramic tiles by visiting tile manufacturing plants and learning about technologies and innovations; by peeping into decoration laboratories and show rooms where tiles are displayed in beautiful design vignettes illustrating Italian life; and by visiting museums and ceramic monuments. Italian ceramics is a high quality manufacturing art the whole world is looking at with great interest, and is one of the local excellencies along with the Ferrari factory and its museums, historical palaces and mansions, local wine and food products and natural landscape.

“Feeding the planet, Energy for life” incarnates meaning at wider levels, as it has been the case with every Expo since the first one took place in London in 1851. Meanings are usually linked to the time and era they are made. Each Universal Exposition has hosted technological discoveries (such as Alexandre Bell’s public telephone, displayed at Philadelphia’s 1876 Exhibition), iconic architectural projects (the London Crystal Palace during the first Expo, a cast iron plate-glass building, or the Eiffel Tower in Paris) up to the concept of sustainable development – overarching theme for all the Expos of the New Millennium. Italian ceramics is able to find its own place also within these three areas, thanks to its innovative products, whose size and thickness vary; to its key role in global architecture; and to manufacturers’ great commitment in reducing environmental impact caused by production, use, disposal of the ceramic products.

April 2015

[ Editorial of Cer Magazine NEWS n. 4/2015, e-magazine of Ceramics of Italy ]

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