Beyond the 3 x 6 White Tile

CeramicTech Italy Trip

This year I had the opportunity to travel abroad with Ceramic Technic. Many of their factories and showrooms are based out of the Bologna area of Italy. Our days were filled with showroom tours exposing us to the European favorite: ‘large format tile’ (because of its sleek and modern appearance) as well as the most beautiful hand-painted tile. Read more of this post

Patterns in Design from the Old Country

Recently my wife and I traveled to Italy in search of inspiration and a much needed vacation.  We meandered through the cities of Rome, up to Venice and down to Sorrento with quite a few stops in between.  Our strolls often had no particular goal, save enjoying the afternoon and of course a good meal when the mood struck. Somewhere along the way I was intrigued by the patterns I was noticing in the simple parts and pieces of the urban forms.  Looking back at our trip photos I noticed a collection of the patterns as they banded together to create the larger urban core.  Here are a few of my favorites that build in complexity and scale.

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The Hotel of the Future?

In our work, we often try to infuse our projects with the latest thinking in our industry. In the realm of hospitality, we have introduced regional character and elements of authenticity into every project we do. This idea that a hotel is a reflection of its place can be elusive – but what if the hotel IS the place? What if you can become part of the city – rather than just a visitor.

In Italy, this has happened. Hoteliers have created Albergo diffusos – diffused hotels – in small and midsized towns. The concept is that the rooms and public spaces are scattered throughout the village, yet all the amenities that you would expect from luxury accommodations are present.

Sextantio may be the ultimate expression of this idea. Nestled in an Italian Hilltop, this medieval town has reinvented itself as luxury lodging. The guest experience is absolutely unique, and the concept has caught on. Currently, there are at least 2 dozen Albergo Diffusos in Italy.

Beyond planning a great European vacation, how is this relevant? The concept does not need to be unique to Italy. Imagine an Albergo Diffuso in Brooklyn, or even Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine. Virtually any walkable district with dining and shopping nearby would be a candidate, and has the potential to create an unforgettable experience.