The masters of marble grit tiles

Antonio Benedet (MIPA Srl)

The masters of marble grit tiles: Antonio Benedet (MIPA Srl)
Dialogue between past and future. The tradition renews itself without losing the ability to look beyond. We discuss this with Antonio Benedet, CEO of the company MIPA srl, from Modena, in Italy.

MIPA was founded in 1992 with the aim to recover the authentic techniques procedure of grit floors used in the late 1800s. Through an historical and stylistic research of the traditional working procedures, the company has developed and proposed a selection of the most distinctive European floors originate from the 1900s. This was made possible by combining excellent craftsmanship with industrial quality.

Each day expert hands, using copper ladles, work the liquid mix, then fill the bronze moulds that will reproduce the decorative tiles. The results, original unique pieces, retrieve forms, lines and colors of the most refined artistic production.

To obtain this result, MIPA activated the recovery of the original bronze cast moulds from the scattering of antique manufacturing sites that had been abandoned in all over the Italian peninsula. As such, the same original moulds that once upon a time were used to create those ancient decorative tiles. Also, MIPA has sought to understand, speaking to the elderly craftsmen, the secrets of the original mixtures.

Grit has made possible philological renovation and restoration of buildings both in an architectural and historical-cultural approach, such as the Ex Collegio S.Marco e Proprietà Comunali in Siena, the Istituto Beata Vergine Maria in Rome, the Convento Frati Cappuccini in San Giovanni Rotondo (FG), the Chiesa Giubilare in Guardia Piemontese (PZ), the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

Also, the company supports a strong commitment in technological-production innovation and development of contemporary aesthetic solutions that aim evolution in the branch. The challenges posed by the global market are carried out for research in design, through cooperation with the designer Laura Renna, with M+A+P DESIGNStudio (Stefano Maffei, Venancio Arquilla and Barbara Parini) and with STUDIOCHARLIE (Gabriele Rigamonti, Carla Scorda and Vittorio Turla).

The products are entirely made in Italy. Natural raw materials (such as marble powder and grains, white cement, natural oxides) and environmentally friendly processes originate a unique artisan product, but, at the same time, with high performance.

The innovative production techniques greatly reduce the hair porosity of the tile, decreasing the liquid absorption capacity. That makes possible the realization of grit tiles of 11 mm thickness, unthinkable until a few years ago.

The material research has generated collaborations with prestigious Italian companies such as Mapei and Italcementi, as well as with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. This has made possible to develop higher techniques characteristics compared to traditional production, with a weight reduced by half.

Therefore, with responsibility, the company has pursued a profound planning and manufacturing progress, which renewed the culture of this material. The concept of historical preservation, now are joined by new forms and lines, which reveal an extraordinary aesthetic potential and an unprecedented versatility. This is the true meaning of “Made in Italy”: the search for a genuine way of doing things linked to superb craftsmanship with which it comes designed and produced an item.

by Fabrizio Aimar