The Bitossi family was documented in the territory of Montelupo Fiorentino as far back as 1536. Over the centuries they have been kiln workers, sculptors, painters, but especially potters in this area with its ancient ceramic traditions, only a few kilometers away from the city of Florence, and in the twentieth century they introduced an extraordinary stylistic and formal renewal in their production.
Heir to a long dynasty and tradition, in 1921 Guido Bitossi founded the "Maioliche artistiche Guido Bitossi" factory, proposing a type of production still linked to the tradition and classical styles of the past, combined with research and a study on the ceramics products. Starting from the early fifties, the company’s evolution powerfully manifested itself in a modern vein under the artistic direction of Aldo Londi, a man with an innate creative and aesthetic sense, and a keen eye to the changes in the taste and the uniqueness of the Italian products. Londi entered Bitossi in 1946 and from that time on was the undisputed protagonist for more than fifty years, first as a painter, then as artistic director, and finally as tireless researcher of styles and examples to be emulated..
Over the years many designers have contributed to the productions of Manifattura Bitossi, interpreting tradition and giving life to new lines. First and foremost, Architect Ettore Sottsass, who began to frequent the Manifattura Bitossi in 1955 in order to experiment and create new ceramics. His collections opened up a new chapter in the history of Italian design. Bitossi Ceramiche, still today found on its historical premises of 1929, has been run for generations by the original family: from Vittoriano Bitossi to his daughter Cinzia, then his niece Ginevra Bocini, always representing the Italian “Made in Italy” excellence throughout the world. In 2014, the Manifattura was listed in the Register of "Historical Italian Companies" established by the Unioncamere Nazionale and the Chamber of Commerce.
DesignE. Sottsass. The Industrial designer in the ceramics sector. 1959.
Ceramics are never an end in themselves: they are where imagination and technical and expressive skills converge to contribute and form an environment, in order to create great architectures and great civilizations. But to achieve all this, artists and industrialists must patiently work together, "trying and trying again" to evolve, as has happened in a Tuscan company, the Manifattura Bitossi of Montelupo Fiorentino, "where ever so slowly", thanks "to the courage of the industrialist and the qualities of a very tranquil, yet very patient and courageous young man”, Aldo Londi, experiments were carried out "for setting up a simple new production", leaving behind the more traditional productions.
It is with this quote that we want to remember the deep bonds that Ettore Sottsass had with this company and with Aldo Londi. A great number of experiments and collections have been designed by the architect and created at Bitossi, together with his friends Aldo Londi, Ugo and the Aurelio master ceramists. The work relationship between Sottsass and Bitossi was ongoing from 1955 up until the very last exclusive creations that Bitossi Ceramiche still produces today.
Bitossi now invests primarily in research and design of designer ceramics while continuing to interpret the tradition by proposing Aldo Londi’s iconic subjects. It is no coincidence that many external collaborators, architects and designers are inspired by the techniques of the past that are documented in the Historical Archivies, in the incessant search for balance between know- how, innovation and research.
Over the last thirty years, many work relationships have grown up with artists like Antonella Cimatti, Arik Levy, Benjamin Hubert, Cedric Ragot, Dimorestudio, Elma Lisowski-Choung, Fabio Novembre, George Sowden, Gerard Taylor, Karim Rashid, Laura Bethan Wood, Luisa Bocchietto, Mario Ferrarini, Marco Zanini, Martine Bedine, Massimo Giacon, Matteo Thun, Max Lamb, Michele de Lucchi, Monica Föster, Nathalie du Pasquier, P. Palma & C. Vannicola, Piero Fornasetti, Remo Buti, and Ronon & Erwan Bouroullec.