One of the principal new developments in Italian design in recent months is the attractive, refined Seventyonepercent project for the wellness & bathroom sector.
Launched by the Iris Ceramica Group, a world-leading maker of high-tech ceramic, the new brand presents its first, prestigious collection, designed by Paolo Castelli and including four lines: Globe, Inspiration, Suite and Thirties.
Seventyonepercent presents “a new vision of bathroom furnishings” bringing together values of great relevance today, such as awareness of the environment, the search for original interior design solutions, and carefully selected, powerful exclusive materials.
Seventyonepercent is named for the percentage of the earth’s surface covered by water: 71%. Water is the muse inspiring the project, symbol of life, wellness and sustainability: an issue of key importance at the present time and in the years to come.
The new brand’s first four product lines were presented recently in a fascinating location in the historic centre of the city of Milan containing the new flagship store of the Iris Ceramica Group, between the cathedral and Piazza Cordusio.
The inspiration and concepts underlying the new brand combine the Iris Ceramica Group’s vision of design with that of Paolo Castelli S.p.A.
With decades of know-how in top-quality porcelain coverings behind it, the Iris Ceramica Group has played a key role on the international design scene since 1961 through well-known brands such as Ariostea, FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti, Fiandre Architectural Surfaces, Iris Ceramica, Porcelaingres, Stonepeak and SapienStone.
Heir to the long tradition of craftsmanship of the city of Bologna, where the company was founded in 1887, Paolo Castelli S.p.A. is now a leader in the global contracting industry with additional locations in Milan, Carrara, Paris and London.
Its ability to anticipate the market and its flexible, dynamic vision allow Paolo Castelli S.p.A. to supply a vast range of products and services for interior design and the contract industry, ranging from quality hospitality to luxury retail facilities, top-end hotels and big ships.
To find out more about Seventyonepercent bathroom design, production processes and collections, we met with designer Paolo Castelli, who told us how the partnership between these two prominent Italian brands came about.
Seventyonepercent is clearly a true design brand with great appeal that expands the potential of the bathroom and wellness facilities. What were your starting points and goals when you first started working with the Iris Ceramica Group?
For my part, I definitely wanted to work with a sustainable product like ceramic, and to add a new dimension to a material normally used only as a surface covering.
And so “good” design became the factor facilitating translation of this potential into forms of use for the market, anticipating new stylistic codes.
I could see right from the start that it would be a fascinating challenge, and an opportunity to create an industry operating entirely in the region of Emilia, with the involvement of other local hubs of excellence and craftspeople, and this is what I think really makes the brand stand out.
The keys to the new brand’s philosophy are the concepts of integration, balance and harmony. How did you give these underlying concepts concrete form?
Integration, balance and harmony are key themes in my collections too, with the addition of two more “absolute” values: elegance and beauty. And so the bathroom, a space designed for taking care of yourself, immediately takes on a new identity, becoming an expression of an exclusive place of regeneration to “live” in a completely different way, in harmony with the rest of the home.
With your vast experience in various fields of design, can you share with us your thoughts on sustainability and materials such as high-tech ceramic, which is made with natural minerals using zero impact production lines like those of the Iris Ceramica Group?
My style office has been focusing on researching innovative, sustainable, green materials for many years now, and in fact at the beginning of 2020 I launched Greenkiss, the first 100% Italian-made environmentally responsible collection.
During my first visit to the Iris Ceramica Group’s production line, I had a question going through my head: “can ceramic, a product of natural origin which we Italians are masters at making, become even more environmentally sustainable?” I found the answer at Iris, and it was more than positive, thanks to products designed to be good for the planet (and us) without giving up design.
High-tech ceramic is a material combining strength, stability and beauty. What were your impressions working with such a versatile material?
I have always considered high-tech ceramic’s “modernity” as an aesthetic as well as a structural element, thanks to the way it can easily be combined with countless other materials such as wood, brass and metals of all kinds, or glass, which makes it a particularly versatile element in product design.
The four product lines are presented under a slogan evoking aspects such as lightness, the embrace, elegance, morning greetings... Can you tell us what the key distinctive features of the various collections are, and what adjectives you would use to describe them?
Globe: the warm embrace of a new day.
An object with a bold aesthetic impact, a light source illuminating spaces and adding a new dimension to the rooms where it inevitably takes on a leading role.
Suite: the elegance of sharing
Skilled design and craftsmanship encounter the solidity of materials in a collection embodying the essence of the bathroom.
Thirties: the elegance of lightness
Light design takes form through the warmth of wood and acquires strength thanks to porcelain with metallic inserts forming geometries that contrast with the curves of the structure.
Inspiration: the bathroom becomes living space
A collection of shared spaces and moments, osmosis and play. Beauty that goes beyond materials and prestigious finishes to become a new way of living in the bathroom.
In presenting Seventyonepercent, Iris Ceramica Group CEO Federica Minozzi spoke of the "balance between craftsmanship and technological innovation", essential aspects for both the Iris Ceramica Group and a company with a long tradition behind it such as Paolo Castelli S.p.A. Are these the key values for relaunching the “Made in Italy” mark in the near future?
We have “grown” thanks to the strength of our company’s relationship with Italian craftspeople and enterprises with an international vocation. Service, research, and a high level of quality are the principal qualities we demand of our partners. I’m convinced that if we talk, get to know each other, and continue to compare notes on the latest trends, in our search for contemporary themes linked with ongoing evolution of construction techniques, we can ensure that our energies and ideas evolve into new challenges and projects to our reciprocal satisfaction.
The production of Seventyonepercent is supported by artisanal technique, with 100% Emilian design and engineering.
The friendship and partnership between Paolo Castelli S.p.A. and the Iris Ceramica Group not only underlines their reciprocal technical and productive potential but reveals the importance of a key intangible element, design, an essential factor ensuring the competitiveness of our products, in relation to both the efficiency of the production process and the market’s response. “Good” design therefore becomes the factor facilitating the translation of this potential into forms of use to the market, anticipating new stylistic codes.
Industry in Emilia has a major component of design, but this has always been perceived as an almost exclusively aesthetic consideration, putting the finishing touches on the production cycle.
The Iris Ceramica Group and Paolo Castelli S.p.A. turn the equation upside-down, demonstrating that the production system is the key to making the most of this know-how.