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stoneandtile248

modern designs

Back to the Future….


The dawn of Mid Century Modern is back again.. Hip to be square?



The hair trend of Italy in the late sixties and early seventies was the pixie cut…I also sported this hair trend at the tender age of 5! We didn't have words like nifty or swanky or groovy… America had Twiggy and Italy had Rita Pavone an actress and a singer who at the young age of 17 performed a clever song that everyone in my age and older sang called "la Pappa col Pomodoro" . She even sang it on the Ed sullivan show in 1970. . The song was about the tomato soap. It was a typical northern recipe from Siena, a poor dish of the peasants. The word Pappa means baby food.. The song was relevant to the times and social nuances happening in that period. The lyrics spoke about rebellion and bringing food to the masses, which went hand in hand with the Pop Art styles of the times. Today in my home.. my daughter sings it and knows it word for word.. at the tender age of 3. We like to follow tradition in my home!


As you probably know I grew up in Italy. Both my parents where artists in their own right..My mom was a very popular fashionista of her time.. she was a well known

seamstress in her town, which was Reggio Calabria. My father was a self proclaimed Artist/ Engineer.. he never made it past the

third grade though. Nevertheless he was a genius when it came to modern design. It was the sixties and Italy was dominated by the young and the modern. Colors where bright red, very much like Rita Pavone's tomato song.

Bright yellows and greens and large floral patterns can be found in our drapes and in mom's fabrics as she put together a dress pattern.

It always bewilders me that every time I am back in Italy.. if I am walking in my Mom's home town.. it never fails that someone sees me walking by.. opens their door and insists I come in for a coffee and to see their wedding album that shows the amazing dress designs that my mom made for her and her bridal party.. I am amazed at that every time.. Even in Dad's home town which is much larger.. but never the less there is someone who wants to show me a sculpture dad made of their dog, or the beautiful outdoor wall made of glass mosaics on the exterior of their beach house.. I am so fortunate to have such creative genes in me!


My first bathroom when I was a young girl was an elongated subway tile in an avocado green. Dad tiled the floors,

all the walls and then tiled the ceiling of the bath too! Our foyer was black and white with red accents.

Colors where everywhere.. our furniture in our home resembled styles of Gio Ponti and Paolo Buffa. Coffee tables where simple and covered in tile mosaic patterns. Our basement was covered in small penny rounds..and so where the round support columns in our basement.


The style was modern.. as Cara Greenburg coined the phrase in her book "Midcentury Modern". The style is from the 50's and 60's. It is an expression of what took place in society a the time. There was a lot happening many changes taking place in the world . There was over consumption everywhere, on Tv, advertising slogans became very colorful in bright colors.. bringing Pop Art into surface. for example, Campbells Soup cans where designed by Andy Warhol in bright red color.. Comic strips where all the rage, and fashion was bold and new. This style was not for the wealthy, it was for the population.. which is where POP came from. This movement was the most profound movement in the modern era. It all started by a young rebellious group that disliked the old world paintings which they considered to be old fashioned and pretentious.


In the late 60's famous Italian architects Gio Ponti also called the “Father of Modern Italian Design” and Alberto Rosselli designed a Moorish shape modern tile in ceramic for a Modena based tile manufacturer… which was to be made in bright colors.. of all different shads

However because of production difficulties it was never manufactured. Five decades later, with the help modern technology and water-jet cutting we are seeing a lot of these designs in tile and stone today. The moorish shapes and hexagons where designs made famous by these architects. The large format tiles, with the many bright shades of colors where all part of their designs.


In the early to mid-eighties, the 60's styles where resurrected again but only for a short while. In 2015 Now once again, it has become much more popular then it ever was before. The look is everywhere.. we see it in so many varied mosaic styles from geometric mosaics to circles, ovals, they are made of stone, glass and porcelains. The color pallets seen today are certainly not colors we have seen in a very long time.. Orange, green,s yellows, and bright reds and yes even the peptobismal pink is back again! There are tile styles that start at the post modern times of the 20's and range into the 60's pop era… with new very modern designs made with water jet. These designs resemble the large floral paintings of the modern era.. they show the moorish shapes in large and small.. as well as the hexagons, spiral patterns, dog bones, and of course the

basket weaves.. Most patterns of this era where color blocking.. which is popular in fashion also.. these two or three toned patterns are

popular and fun. The mixing of colors can also be seen in subway tiles. Mixing more than one shade together give you a new modern twist

to the backplash or a bathroom. The old shapes designed by Ponti are all very present in our designs today.. almost every tile manufacturer has something in their line that links the style back to their famous designs.


Every furniture catalog you pick up today is reminiscent of the futuristic past.. from wall paper to furniture to drapes and even the DVRs in a lot of our homes are set to record another episode of Mad Men on AMC. There is so much of this look has influenced our times today.. and Pop art as well as mid century modern is and always will be part of our design culture. Go out and take a look at some outstanding tile designs out there in both ceramic, and porcelain. In addition notice the specialty stone designs factory made with water jet today. There are so many designs available today. If you don't like what you see and you want to create your own, it can be customized for you.. a mosaic in your bathroom to match your bedding.. was never seen before.. but I have done it.. and its a lot of fun to do! All you have to do is ask.. Thanks to modern technology everything is possible.. what is old is new again.. and just like the old days.. we are headed back to the future!


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