Imola - ITALY, 1874

The Società Cooperativa Ceramica di Imola started up in 1874 when Giuseppe Bucci sold his own 18th-century Manufactory of tableware and maiolica to his workers. The Cooperativa di Imola then became the oldest production and working cooperative in Italy. In 1884 the Cooperativa was singled out at the Turin Expo, for the quality of the products, the decorations and the colours employed. The tile production becomes the main activity at the beginning of the 20th century, while the Artistic Dept. continued to realize pieces either of historical re-production, or eclectic, or even stylistic pastiches. Thanks to the presence of Umberto Marfisi, with an eye on the Faentine production performed by Francesco Nonni in Déco style, and by Walter Martelli, creator of little 20th-century figurines, the Artistic Dept. finally went through a modernization process. During the post-war period, Marfisi was assisted in the Artistic Dept. by Sante Ghinassi (even if only for a short time), Domenico Minganti (active in the Cooperativa from 1946 to 1947) and Arrigo Visani (from 1946 to 1951). Domenico Minganti, being a modelling artist, was the favoured interlocutor of architect Gio Ponti, for the realization of various series of poetic domestic objects, including the very famous Bottles. The happy cooperation between the Cooperativa and Gio Ponti bears witness to the ambition then for modernization in the department, in order to keep pace with other productions of the same period. In 1951- 52, the Cooperativa realized some ceramic works and sculptures for the interior furnishings of the Andrea Doria transatlantic liner, whose decorator was Gio Ponti, together with Nino Zoncada. Another implementation by Gio Ponti: the modification of a traditional 18th-century decoration, such as the “red carnation”, into the “Blue Carnation”.
The spirit of collaboration and research of the Cooperativa unfolded new opportunities from the beginning of the 1980s, for the realization of the works of several renowned contemporary artists, such as Enrico Baj, Joe Tilson, Igor Mitoraj, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Bertozzi and Casoni.