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Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

What to Pair with all those
Belgian-Inspired Vanities

Or, Giovanni Barbieri + New Ravenna

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.

Giovanni Barbiari Lucido Versailles in Calacatta with Lucido finish (New Ravenna Mosaics)

Mini-Versailles pattern (Calacatta stone tiles) in Antico Lucido finish

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.

Giovanni Barbieri

Giovanni Barbieri

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.

Solid Limestone Tiles with hand-cut edge, partially bush hammered surface and consumed natural undulated, time worn finish. Available in a very homogeneous Grey and a highly variegated Beige. (New Ravenna Mosaics)

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.

Giovanni Barbieri Timeworn Bianco Antico (New Ravenna Mosaics)

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:

Giovanni Barbieri Timeworn Travertino Pagilierno tiles (New Ravenna Mosaics)

“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.”

Giovanni Barbieri 2" x 4" Time Worn bricks in Bianco Antico (New Ravenna Mosaics)

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.

Giovanni Barbieri's 2"x 4" Timeworn Bricks in Bianco Antico (New Ravenna Mosaics)

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…

Giovanni Barbieri Timeworn 2" x 4" bricks in Bianco Antico with Paperwhite Pencil Moldings, and 15 cm x 30 cm bricks Bianco Carrara with Timeworn finish (New Ravenna Mosaics 2011)

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.)

Giovanni Barbieri's 2" x 2" Time Worn Calacatta (New Ravenna Mosaics)

2" x 2" Calacatta in the Timeworn Finish

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.”

Giovanni Barbieri's 2" x 2" Time Worn Bianco Carrara (New Ravenna Mosaics)

2" x 2" Carrara in the Timeworn Finish

Giovanni Barbieri's 2" x 2" Time Worn Travertine Noce (New Ravenna Mosaics)

2" x 2" Travertine Noce in the Timeworn Finish

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!

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3 Responses to “What to Pair with all those
Belgian-Inspired Vanities”

  1. Christine says:

    Love this stone! Amazing texture.

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi Sara!

    Great new post at your new blog home!

  3. Sara, You never cease to amaze me with your writing skill and whit. “Illegal bones…” LOL!

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