Like a Fellini movie, the ceramics of this famed Italian company embody a creative spectrum that ranges from the playful and earthy to the high-minded and provocative. Based in Florence, Bitossi Ceramiche draws on craft traditions that date back to the 1500s. These find expression in the artisanal vases and animal figures by the firm’s longtime art director Aldo Londi, as well as the colorful, totemic vessels designed by the high priest of postmodernism, Ettore Sottsass.
The company was incorporated by Guido Bitossi in 1921, though the family began making art pottery in the mid-19th century. In the 1930s, Londi came aboard, bringing with him a mindset that respected time-honored craft, yet looked also to the future. On the one hand, Londi’s perspective fostered the making of Bitossi’s popular whimsical animal figures, hand-shaped and -carved and finished in a rich azure glaze known as “Rimini Blue.”
But with his other hand, Londi reached out to thoughtful, experimental designers such as Sottsass. Starting in the 1950s, some 20 years before he founded the Memphis postmodern design collective in Milan, Sottsass used the Bitossi kilns to create timeless works that manifest both primitive forms and modern geometries. In later decades, Bitossi would welcome new generations of designers, which have included such names as Ginevra Bocini and Karim Rashid. While always looking forward, Bitossi is firm in their belief that mastery of craft is the first step towards beautiful design. As you will see from the works offered on these pages, that is a winning philosophy.