Grounded in Tradition – Italian Terracotta by Cotto Manetti
Since 1780, Cotto Manetti has been producing terracotta tiles to the exacting standards of the Impruneta tradition. For Artedomus, the application of Cotto Manetti terracotta in contemporary Australian architecture and design exemplifies the timeless and enduring qualities of this ancient natural material.
For centuries, Cotto Manetti terracotta tiles have been renowned for their unique durability and colouration. Extending from the deep burnt orange usually associated with terracotta into rarer dark tones and even black, Cotto Manetti terracotta is the densest in the world, which results in an exceptionally robust tile. These properties can be traced to the late Triassic period, some 200 million years ago, when the Apennine Mountains began to form beneath what is now the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Mediterranean. The combination of heat, pressure and the composition of the landmass generated a unique terracotta clay unlike any other on Earth.
It is not only in its geology that Cotto Manetti terracotta is indelibly linked to the Florentine region but also in the tradition of working with the material that was honed over centuries in the town of Impruneta. Found in many of Florence’s most famous architectural masterpieces, including Bruneschelli’s Dome, tiles produced in the Impruneta tradition have been prized as a construction material since the Renaissance.
Eight generations of the Cotto Manetti family have now been creating tiles in strict accordance with the Impruneta tradition, and while times and construction techniques have transformed since 1780, contemporary architects and designers have continued to respond to the intrinsic qualities of Cotto Manetti terracotta. The earthy materiality and unique colouration of the tiles provide a depth and authenticity, offering a genuine touchpoint that complements and contributes to contemporary architecture and design. And, as sustainability becomes an increasingly urgent concern, the extraordinary durability that has seen Cotto Manetti terracotta withstand centuries not only remains a relevant consideration for architects and designers but has taken on an added significance.
For hundreds of years, terracotta tiles have played an inimitable role in architecture and design. More than just offering a protective surface, terracotta adds texture, colour, and a robust, earthy beauty that few other materials can emulate. Cotto Manetti terracotta tiles combine these characteristics with a long tradition of expert craftsmanship, bringing these qualities of longevity and traditional expertise into the contemporary era. Steeped in history and imbued with the traditions of its place of origin, Artedomus’ Cotto Manetti terracotta collection represents an enduring and timeless natural material.
This article originally featured on The Local Project.