The company was founded in 1920, following the acquisition of the so-called “Fornacione” (that, according to certain documents, still stands at its original location of 1883). This family-run company is now in its fourth generation, headed by Alessio and Alberto Brioni, who are planning the future of cotto maintaining their strong link with the past.
Fornace Brioni was already a leader in the renovation of the old flooring and has, over the years, carried out constant research on the potential of this material that it produces in several versions, ranging from the uniform and variegated cotto to glazed versions, in red and pink, and even grey and black to meet more contemporary tastes. Due to this prospect of development, the Brioni brothers have hired architect Cristina Celestino to direct the design department of the brand since 2017.
The tradition of cotto dates back thousands of years, resulting from the subtle alchemy between water, earth, and fire. The Fornace Brioni in Gonzaga, a small town center steeped in history and Renaissance culture in the plain around Mantua, produces cotto exclusively by hand, according to a savoir-faire that has been handed down through the generations, using the finest clays from the slow sedimentation of the floodplain of the River Po.
With the “Gonzaga” collection, Cristina Celestino wanted to create a temporary short-circuit with timeless motifs, proposed for the first time in cotto. The motifs are based on designs typically found in fifteenth-century paintings and are proposed through typical patterns of perspective, patterns of light and shade, and draped effects.
The collection is dominated by grey and variegated cotto, which gives it a markedly Renaissance feeling, with its ideals of beauty and harmony. The distinctly classic elegance of the layouts is reminiscent of the old façades or floors in marble and wood of historic mansions and buildings, such as the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Sabbioneta or the Ducal Palace of Mantua. The decorative motif is described by the alternation of even cotto in shades of white, pink, and grey, and variegated cotto, arranged in numerous combinations. The wall coverings are also made up of the same colors, in three designs inspired by classic architectural elements, such as the moldings on pillars or stone wall coverings.