One of the finest visionaries in the surfaces world is Giovanni Barbieri. I met Giovanni at the Verona Fair (the Italian trade show for all things stone related) years ago and was seduced by his Lucido line. Through the use of a proprietary, carefully guarded secret machine, his studio applies a subtle surface undulation to Carrara, Bianco Antico and other types of stone tiles, transforming them into exquisite surfaces that you immediately want to stroke.
At the time, our business model did not include distribution of imported products, but, I am happy to announce, times have changed. New Ravenna is now the exclusive Giovanni Barbieri representative to kitchen, bath and tile showrooms across the USA.
Born into a family that have been stone artisans for generations, Giovanni was helping out in the family business as soon as he could walk.
Later, after design school, he was able to combine artistic training with his stone business heritage, and voila, he is now a globally respected expert in hard surface textures, carving, and innovation. Also, he is really nice.
One of his specialties is creating a surface that appears to be worn by many feet for hundreds of years. In his charming Italian accent, he explained his R and D approach to me:
“I would take my tile outside, to the streets in Vicenza, put it down, and compare it to the real sidewalks. After a while I was able to duplicate the surface texture exactly, by removing the softer areas of the stone. These are the areas that wear away naturally over time.”
His newest texture is called, aptly enough, Timeworn. Here are 2″ x 4″ Bianco Antico tiles in the Timeworn finish. They come with a mesh backing for easy installation. Apparently when I took these images, I was channeling Morandi, the Italian artist who painted–beautifully–various vessels over and over again.
However, my boyfriend Dave jokes that the below photo is called “Still-life with Illegal Vertebra” because in Virginia it is illegal to own bones that have washed up on the beach. I borrowed this one…
New Ravenna will carry both the original Antico Lucido finish, which is polished and refined, and the Timeworn Finish–a honed (more matte) surface with slight height differences from tile to tile and from side to side. (We can also order you anything you like from his line–these particular products are the tip of the iceberg.)
However, even with the cobblestone-like texture, it is still appropriate for floors. My accountant looked at photos and said “That tile just makes me want to take off my shoes and walk on it.”
New Ravenna is now sending sample displays to showrooms near you, so you too can get up close and personal with some of Giovanni’s creations, or if you prefer, you can visit him at the Cersaie show on September 21-24, 2011. Enjoy!
Exmore, Virginia, United States
New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.