Vicenza, Italy

Carlo Dal Bianco

Rarely does a 1-inch-by-1-inch building product get to take center stage. But in Vicenza, a quiet city of gabled roofs and winding, narrow roads two hours east of the self-assured Italian design capital of Milan, the tile manufacturer Bisazza is determined to change that trend. This year, the 56-year-old organization will open the Bisazza Foundation for Design and Architecture as part of their headquarters there. The 64,580-square-foot space will house exhibitions by architects and artists such as Alessandro Mendini and Marcel Wanders and show Bisazza-produced tile used in a variety of whimsically out-of-scale ways. The inaugural exhibition, which opens on June 8, is a collection of works by minimalist British architect and designer John Pawson entitled “Plain Space,” which will showcase the appeal of the product’s simplicity, says CEO Piero Bisazza. The foundation will also host shows “not necessarily associated with mosaics,” Bisazza explains.
Vicenza-based architect Carlo Dal Bianco oversaw the 2001 transformation of the 1960s brick-and-reinforced-concrete factory that houses the headquarters, and also worked on the recent conversion of some of the building into the foundation’s new facility. After some technical hoop jumping, including creating a new entrance along an axis that stayed away from load-bearing walls, showcasing the product was icing on the cake, says Dal Bianco: “The beauty of Springrose, the mosaic at the main entrance, still moves me.”