Marazzi designs Milan showroom as cabinet of curiosity

Dezeen promotion: Italian ceramics manufacturer Marazzi has opened a new showroom in Milan, which architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel have made to resemble a collector's library.

The Marazzi showroom is situated at the heart of the city's Durini design district. It has been designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, who together run Milan-based architecture practice ACPV, to showcase the brand's range of extra-large stone slabs.

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

Rather than creating a traditional store layout, the pair instead took note from wunderkammers or, in English, cabinets of curiosity – a piece of furniture or room dedicated to displaying a notable collections of objects.

The cabinets of curiosity first appeared in homes of the wealthy during the 16th century and could include everything from archaeological relics to favoured works of art and antiquities.

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

"There's a kind of magic in Marazzi's product design and development – technology and creativity transform a generic and inert raw material into surfaces that evoke ancient workmanship," explained Viel.

"To evoke this alchemy, the showroom project becomes a collector's library, a wunderkammer of colours and materials, a rug souk and a maze of rooms that form a constant visual sequence, yet are each different and surprising."

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

Products have been displayed artefact-style throughout the 400 square-metre retail space. In one room, tall stone slabs have been suspended from tracks on the ceiling "like rich Persian carpets".

Arched doorways lead to the showroom's corridors, where smaller slabs of stone are dotted along rows of shelving. While some are illuminated by short lamps, akin to objects in a museum, others have been placed beside unusual objet d'art, adding to the wunderkammer aesthetic.

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

"This display approach is completely new and original for the ceramics world," added the company's CEO, Mauro Vandini.

"We believe it will offer a clearer understanding of the way our design and development work and ceramic materials are continually evolving."

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

At the time of its opening, the front of the showroom displayed a bedroom and bathroom set-up where walls, flooring and fixtures like sink basins were clad in white-flecked tiles by Marazzi.

Pieces used to dress the space include a diamond-patterned rattan rug, a curved orange armchair and a striking emerald-green bathtub.

Marazzi showroom in Milan, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

Marazzi was founded in 1935 in the Italian town of Sassuolo, but has since gone on to operate in over 140 countries.

The manufacturer has previously produced a range of stone flooring that can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces, which boasts ornate patterns inspired by traditional Indian henna tattoo designs.

To find out more about Marazzi, visit its website.