Bitossi Artistic Industrial Museum

Tradition and cutting edge


Internationally known for its excellence and creative spirit, it’s the passion and skill of the hands of those who work the ceramics that is at the heart of Bitossi Ceramiche. Jane Pople takes a close look at the renowned brand.

Combining the traditional art of ceramic making with cutting edge style has been the aim of Italian brand Bitossi Ceramiche since the early 1900s. This prestigious brand’s long history is founded on a profound understanding of the material, and its natural propensity for experimentation. The brand’s roots stem from the productive ceramic tradition that existed in Montelupo Fiorentino from the 1500s. Tracing its beginning in ceramic production to as early as 1871, the Bitossi family business has centuries of expertise.

Guido Bitossi was heir to this long ceramic tradition and established the ‘Manifattura Maioliche Artistiche’ in 1921, a centre featuring typical local craft works. Thanks to the art direction of Aldo Londi, traditional production methods and procedures were renewed, and really this was the beginning of Bitossi Ceramiche as we now know it today.

Aldo’s meeting with the now iconic architect Ettore Sottass marked a significant turning point for the brand and this important encounter led to a close collaboration with Londi for many years. Together, this visionary duo created many successful designs and continued to expand their skills and creative genius. Bitossi Ceramiche is still in the original factory today, and it is still the go-to brand for leading designers fascinated by the historical value of the company, by craft production and the creation of unique collections.

Since 1871, the Bitossi family has collected over 7,000 historical works, documents and material related to artistic ceramic production. This vast archive is an attempt to preserve and valorise the historic memory that the family has been collecting over the years. The Archivio Industriale Bitossi (Bitossi Industrial Archive) spreads over seven rooms in the historic Colorificio building near to the factory. This collection also includes important ceramics and documents from other factories, in particular those from the Florentine ceramics area. In order to safeguard the heritage of this important area and its work in ceramics, the Vittoriano Bitossi Foundation became involved in 2010. One of the Foundation’s statutory purposes is precisely: “the preservation and valorisation of the history of artistic ceramics in the Florentine territory.”

The Foundation’s main sponsor is the Colorobbia Group and its chief purpose is the enhancement and dissemination of the ceramic culture, historical research and scientific research. It promotes cultural initiatives involving modern and contemporary art, also on the international scene. In addition, it performs supporting activities in the health sector in ceramics districts where the Group’s companies are located.

In 2003, the MAIB – Museo Artistico Industriale Bitossi (Bitossi Industrial Art Museum) – was opened to house this collection. Temporary exhibitions offer various insights into production periods and styles linked to the talent of Aldo Londi, the company's historical art director, and also into design. The museum and archive are run by the Foundation, a direct offshoot of the Bitossi family.

The Bitossi Artistic Industrial Museum opened in 2003, and is world renowned as an industrial museum that exhibits artistic ceramics productions of the twentieth century, and in particular, from the mid nineteen-fifties up until the present time. It currently covers two rooms in a historic 1929 building, which was the first site of the Bitossi factory.

The Museum organises temporary thematic exhibitions mainly on the huge historical production heritage with displays of the factory's production. It also houses exhibitions of architects and designers who have worked with the company.

The Foundation, the Museum and the overall winning identity of Bitossi Ceramiche is thanks to unprecedented entrepreneurial skills developed throughout the years and constant research for the utmost quality in each and every product.

One of the strongest examples of Italian excellence, Bitossi Ceramiche’s business approach of focusing on craftsmanship has brought it to the attention of many outstanding designers who expressed in the medium of ceramic a special creativity well suited to the material, resulting in a number of timeless icons. One of the most renowned ranges from Bitossi Ceramiche is Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu. These blue designs with ‘waived’ pattern continue to fascinate consumers across the world and there is a vast range of designs and sizes to choose from.

Another highlight from Bitossi Ceramiche’s contemporary offering is Karim Rashid’s range, Symbolik. Comprising numbered vases, totems and bowls, it has been inspired by the colourful Sottass totems and it introduces the language of signs, one of the main features of the Egyptian designer. Invest in authentic Italian craftsmanship and discover the world of Bitossi Ceramiche now available at Amara.

essence info
Bitossi Ceramiche is a new addition to the Amara brand portfolio.
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine