A House in the ‘Albisola’ Style

Casa Mazzotti. Courtesy Ceramiche Mazzotti, Albissola Marina. Photo: Lele Buonerba.

Walking along the artists’ promenade in Albissola Marina, embellished with mosaics by Jorn, Capogrossi and Fontana, you can’t help but notice, looking towards Albisola Superiore, a building marked ‘Ceramiche Mazzotti’.

A striking mix of gently curved but strongly contrasting volumes and surfaces dotted with windows, cantilever roofs and balustrades in different shapes and sizes, in hues that make them one with the promenade.

‘I chose three hues: straw yellow (almost white) for the avant-corps of the shop, which stands out clearly from the residential part of the building, which is instead gray-blue, and then earth yellow for the exterior of the stairwell, which is fitted into the main body.’.” – Excerpt from a letter from N. Diulgheroff to Tullio Mazzotti, 26 July 1932

Casa Mazzotti. Courtesy Ceramiche Mazzotti, Albissola Marina.

Casa Mazzotti was designed in the early 1930s by the Bulgarian architect Nicolaj Diulgheroff, whose aim was to combine Tullio Mazzotti’s home, workshop and shop in a single building. The small building is one of its kind in European architecture, and indeed the last example of Futurist residential architecture that survives intact.

The project for this residence was – and remains – avant-garde in terms of both design and construction: a place for reconciling life and work, the natural and creative cycles. Diulgheroff’s design is steeped in the Futurist spirit and touches every aspect of the building: from the floor patterns to the display shelving in the shop, details that we can still appreciate today.

Tullio d’Albisola, born Tullio Mazzotti (1899-1971). Courtesy Ceramiche Mazzotti, Albissola Marina.

Tullio Mazzotti is better known by the pseudonym he adopted on Marinetti’s suggestion: Tullio d’Albisola, the name with which he signed the pottery, sculptures and poetry that made him a leading figure in the history of Italian art. The Ceramiche Mazzotti kiln, heart of this marriage between art and life, is a link between the second period of Futurism and the Spatialism, Art Informel and Nuclear Art practiced in the 1950s and 60s by Depero, Martini, Fontana and Manzoni.

Nearly 100 years after it was built, Casa Mazzotti is still used for all of the purposes it was designed to fulfill: it is the home of the Mazzotti family, a workshop, a shop and, now, also the Tullio d’Albisola archive.

Futurists at Ceramiche Mazzotti in Albissola Marina in the 1930s. From right in foreground Tullio d’Albisola, Fillia, Marinetti, Giuseppe (Bausin) Mazzotti, Farfa and, behind him, Torido Mazzotti and Angelo Platino. Courtesy Fabbrica Casa Museo G. Mazzotti 1903, Albissola Marina.

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