Design competition award "I LOVE XXL" by Quartarella and Ornamenta (from the left: R. Quartarella, D. Tonelli for Ornamenta, Arch. A. Zanzarella, C. Quartarella and Arch. E. Calabrese)
his year, Oplus, nuove forme di positivismo (lit. Oplus, new forms of positivism) won design competition I LOVE XXL – Come ornamentare le grandi superfici (lit.I LOVE XXL – how to decorate large surfaces). I LOVE XXL was set up by interior design store Centro Edile Quartarella, a shop that since 1949 has been dealing in flooring, tiling and bathroom fixtures and fittings, working in partnership with Ornamenta, namely the ceramics division of brand Gamma Due.
I LOVE XXL was open to students, designers and architects who were born or reside in either Puglia or Basilicata, South Italy, and who trained at local architecture and design schools or academies of fine arts. The requirement was to design a new large-scale tile series and first prize was awarded to architect Alessio Zanarella for his unique geometric mosaic Oplus+. According to the judges: “The + sign is the ideal pattern for contemporary living; this pushes the boundaries of ceramic design”. In fact, Oplus+ is a sort of chainmail and in all effects, it represents a new breed of mosaic.
Oplus+ was inspired by conventional bathroom grouting, which architect Alessio Zanarella was smart enough to turn into a unique and current decorative pattern. So, the + sign becomes the focal point of an extraordinary line of ceramic tiles, and there’s also a direct link to be drawn with positivism. What’s more, even if the base grid is regular, each pattern is off-kilter, as if it were the result of a “flicker” and some are even picked-out in a contrasting colour.
Result: a modular geometric pattern which can be freely assembled and customized to a great extent; this focuses on the repetition of an apparently simple symbol, without becoming trivial. At the moment, Oplus+ is just a prototype, but it’ll be up to the Ornamenta team to judge how and when to bring it out on the market, using it as the starting point of a new collection.