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Textures, Colours, Shapes and Dimensions - Bartok Art Tile Murals Made in Italy, Designed in Japan

Updated on December 3, 2009

Hard, Yet Feels Soft

Hard, yet feels soft. I didn't understand what that meant the first time I heard it. After all, tiles are hard, cold, and belong on a bathroom floor. Or so I thought. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that tiles tend to get thrown into the category of two dimensional art. We are quick to assume that oil on canvas can be three dimensional more often than tiles, silky smooth, cold tiles.

The first time I looked at terracotta tiles with colourful enameled glass, I still didn't get it. Because, objectively speaking, they still looked two dimensional. The magic begins, with the touch. And then I understood.

When it comes to art, I have always been more of the paint and pastels type. I dabbled with the paintbrush in my school days and actually created some work that I was really proud of, but the problem was, there was nothing special about it, anyone else could have done the same thing. No one would look at my work and say…wow! It was always, “that’s nice,” or “you draw really well,” but never…wow! That was the difference when I fully experienced these terracotta tiles, I said wow!

Enoteca - Wine Cellar

Notice the contrast between the waves and perfectly straight lines
Notice the contrast between the waves and perfectly straight lines

Bartok Tiles

When I used to think of hand painted tiles, I thought of tacky sunflowers painted onto bathroom wall tiles. I was thus, pleasantly surprised when I learned of Bartok tiles because they showed me how beautiful and engaging tile art can be. These tiles fascinate me because they are born of a blend of cultures; a child of globalization that truly embodies the notion of modern art. They are designed by a Japanese designer, Junko Torrini, and then handmade in Italy. The ancient laggioni technique of the Mediterranean is used to create designs imagined in Japan. The technique requires each colour to be separated by lines that are approximately two millimeters wide, and the cracks expose the deep brownish-orange colour of the terracotta tile below.

The lines of the designs are fluid, yet since each colour is confined into its own space there is something geometric about the mural at first glace. And when contrasting straight hard lines are placed next to swooping waves, your eyes have to dance around to soak in the complete effect.

Within the confines of this art form, Junko manages to create depth, detail, and each piece tells its own story. She captures the intangible essence of each of her subjects and channels that into flowing lines and vivid colour. And, the simplicity of her abstract pieces accentuate the beauty this art form.

I haven't forgotten the most important part: touch. It was a culmination of my descriptions above and the texture of the tiles that give them the third dimension. Pink, after firing feels like coral; green feels like ripples of water in a pond; these select few textured colours when placed next to smooth colours complete the description of hard, yet feel soft.

Link to the Bartok Art webage by using the code below!

<a href=""><img src=""></a><br> Ceramic tile murals with colorful glass enamel, designed by Junko Torrini, a Japanese artists with a background in calligraphy, and handmade in Tuscany, Italy. 
Ponte e Mare - Bridge and Sea
Ponte e Mare - Bridge and Sea
Uccelli e Nuvole (Birds and Clouds)
Uccelli e Nuvole (Birds and Clouds)
Osampo - Taking a Stroll
Osampo - Taking a Stroll
A Mercato Delle Erbe - Flower Market
A Mercato Delle Erbe - Flower Market


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      5 years ago

      When i employed to get at the top of life yet as of late We have piled up any opposition.


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