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Pinto, Italian Ceramics by the Sea

Follow us on a journey to the picturesque Amalfi coast and discover a centuries long tradition of ceramic arts

Text by Acelya Yonac

Artemest takes you on a journey to the picturesque Amalfi coast, in the province of Salerno, as we discover more than a century long tradition of handcrafted floor tiles and ceramic arts started by Vincenzo Pinto, the founder of Ceramica Pinto. Today the company is run by grandchildren Rosaura and Carlo Pinto and managed by the CEO Alessandro Giovanni. We talked to Alessandro about the company’s rich heritage, the upcoming projects and what it means to make ceramic art today in Vietri sul Mare.

Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert
Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert
Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert

ARTEMEST: Today you’re in charge of a company known for its long and rich tradition. How do you manage to maintain the tradition and at the same time be innovative and adapt to today’s market?

ALESSANDRO GIOVANNI: Despite all the current economic obstacles, managing a company that boasts such a long history is not that difficult in the end. Our tradition and know-how are so consolidated that in order create new products, all we need to do is go back to the archive and re-elaborate our signature designs in a contemporary way. And our customers want precisely this – recognizable Pinto design updated for the current times and taste of the market. 

The artisan at work - Credits Gil Gilbert
Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: As we’re on the subject of innovation, Ceramica Pinto has always pushed the boundaries when it comes to the design of ceramic tiles. Can you talk to us about the creative process?

AG: The synergy between all the phases of production is of the essence. Before introducing a new pattern, we take into consideration the needs and the requirements of the artisanal manufacturing that is the core of our business.

Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert
Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: The ‘20s and ‘30s have been particularly important for the ceramics industry in Vietri sul Mare and in particular the so-called “German period” when Italian artisans united their forces with their German colleagues to elaborate new ways of decorating ceramics. Can you tell us more about this particular part of history?

AG: Yes, the German artists introduced new folklore motifs like the now famous donkey, the fisherman and the peasant girl, all of which were not previously used in the decoration of the ceramic in Vietri. 

Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: The history of Ceramica Pinto is often associated with the art world seen the collaborations with important artists like Amerigo Tot, Giovanni Carrano and Gio Ponti. What is your current relationship with the contemporary art?

AG: Our last major collaboration was with the now late artist Antonio Franchini. Nowadays, we are working with local talents who are given a lot of creative freedom in the current experimental phase before we can proceed with the manufacturing.

Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert
Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: Living and working in a location like Vietri sul Mare which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, must be a special experience in itself. Could you share with us what this beautiful location means for your personally and professionally?

AG: It’s true, the atmosphere of Vietri sul Mare never ceases to amaze you, regardless of how used to the location you are. We could say that one downside of working in Vietri is that its beauty can at times be distracting. But we enjoy it fully and its charm compensates for the lack of infrastructure and logistics that for example are present in other, more industrial ceramics centers in Italy. But at the same time, being surrounded by the mountains and the see, sets us a part, both geographically and in terms of production as we choose to focus solely on the traditional craftsmanship. 

Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: If you had to choose one Ceramica Pinto piece that best represents the creativity and artistic heritage of the company, which one would it be?

AG: I am particularly fond of the tiles we developed in collaboration with the painter Giuseppe Capogrossi in the ‘50s. In my opinion, Capogrossi understand perfectly the dynamic between the creative mind and the artisan who makes the finished product. His designs for Ceramica Pinto were at the same time innovative and respectful to our tradition. 

Pinto Workshop - Credits Gil Gilbert
Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert

A: And lastly, can you share with us plans for upcoming projects?

AG: We are always eager to welcome new artists and ideas into our work but in the meantime, we are constantly exploring our rich archive and currently we are reinterpreting some of our classic designs to emphasize their pure and original form. 

Vietri sul Mare - Credits Gil Gilbert
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The Collection

Ceramica Pinto
Set of 3 Delft Plates for Six
$690
Ceramica Pinto
Set of 3 Circle Plates for Six
$690
Ceramica Pinto
4 Fantasia Tiles
$180

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