Created in Italy

01 — Abet Laminati


Bra, Piemonte

Abet Laminati is a company located in Piedmont that was set up to produce chestnut-extracted tannin for the tanning industry. In the late1950s it converted to the production of laminates for architecture. Laminate at that time was a revolutionary material, with its coloured, ultra-resistant surfaces created by layering kraft paper and thermo-setting resins. A readiness to blaze trails, plus the far-sighted recognition of a mutual dependency between industry and the art world, prompted Abet to hire designers, artists and architects to find an identity for an untried “artificial” material that had previously imitated natural materials like marble and wood. Memorable are the company’s dealings with Gio Ponti, who defined laminate as an “outstanding material for architecture, the first not to be tied to nature but developed by man”; and later, with Ettore Sottsass, who made it a flag of 1980s anti-functionalist freedom. Abet established laminate worldwide as an expressive idiom, with a still unsurpassed catalogue of decorativesurfaces.

All images courtesy of Abet Laminati

Alessandro Mendini, one of the most sophisticated ‘ideologists’ of decoration, hailed the Abet Laminati collaboration with a large number of well and less well known creatives as “one of the biggest exercises in decorative experimentation of recent years”.

Abet Laminati. Decorative surfaces in laminate. Photo Max Rommel

Abet Laminati. Decorative surfaces in laminate. Photo Max Rommel