By Danilo Signorello

White, but not only white.

Matte or glossy. Light but solid. Ready for shaping, like wood, elegant like stone. Duralight by Teuco, the brand that over forty years ago revolutionized the world of the bath. It was back in 1972, when thanks to acrylic, an idea of the company’s founder Virgilio Guzzini, the company decided to make bathtubs in a new material, an innovative move in the bath sector. Since then the dialogue with advanced technologies and new materials, and design approached as a challenge of stylistic research have led to the patenting of Duralight, created to replicate the tactile quality and warmth of natural stone in a material with a new conception, composed of a mixture of natural minerals, very pure acrylic polymers and eco-compatible pigments. Durable, pleasing to the touch, non-toxic, hygienic, easy to maintain, repair and shape, Duralight makes it possible to create monolithic products in any form, size or thickness, for the bath, contract and nautical applications. The material places no constraints on design expression, assuming any form or model, light yet solid, permanent and endlessly pristine. Large thicknesses (up to 60 mm) make it possible to obtain pieces by direct shaping of the material, without the need to bond sheets together, eliminating ugly joints and permitting the creation of custom products, even in irregular sizes. Over the years the stylistic research of the company based in Montelupone has been incessant, rediscovering natural materials, classics rich in history like marble and onyx. These materials, crafted in the Italian tradition, add precious value, together with Duralight, to Autoritratti: the new complete bath collection designed by Carlo Colombo, including the Accademia and I Bordi lines, offering tubs, washstands, cabinets, shower platforms and faucets, joined for the first time by carpets, armchairs and hassocks, mirrors, appliques and chandeliers. A path that tells the story of a brand that over the years has become a reference point in the bath sector and that of hydromassage tubs, with over 60 international patents, including Hydroline, Hydrosilence and Hydrosonic, orienting the development and evolution of the bathroom, which from a room to keep closed and discreetly separated becomes an open zone, displayed as a distinctive feature of the home. Today internationally acclaimed architects and designers design tubs, washstands, fixtures and faucets, also extending their creativity to furnishings and complements, to achieve the total look that Teuco interprets in complete, versatile collections of great quality, entirely Italian, completely certified. The company has received many honors on an international level, including the Red Dot Award, Product Design, Best Of The Best in 2014 for the Accademia Pop Limited Edition tub designed by Carlo Colombo; the iF Design Award and the Interior Innovation Award for the Seaside T08 tub with Hydroline designed by Giovanna Talocci, and for the Milestone washstand in Duralight by Carlo Colombo. We asked Enrico Bracesco, CEO of Teuco, and Carlo Colombo, architect and designer, to tell us about the evolution of a brand and the genesis of an ambitious project like Autoritratti, which has a dual soul, classic and contemporary, luxurious but discreet, with products made with a set of very different materials. How did the Autoritratti collection begin? Enrico Bracesco Autoritratti is our first collection with a truly international spirit, based on the desire to intercept and interpret, in keeping with the identity of the Teuco trademark, the tastes of a global consumer – European, Asian or American – who is increasingly fascinated by the theme of decoration to add a precious touch even to the most minimal design. The idea is to create more theatrical settings, with romantic and neoclassical echoes, where taste is not determined by a single product, but by a total look, entirely Made in Italy, of the highest quality. Carlo Colombo The idea, developed together with Teuco, was to invent a versatile design with a dual spirit: bourgeois and classical, but also based on new design research. Every detail adds a touch of classical rigor to modern spaces, and a bit of balance to more classical spaces. Autoritratti is truly a complete proposal, a collection that implies a larger project connected to the world of the bath. For what clientele, for what markets, was this collection designed? E.B. Autoritratti is an extremely refined collection, created to satisfy the needs of multiple markets. Beyond Europe, which remains indispensable, Teuco is increasingly focused on the markets of South America, especially Brazil, where we recently opened the new subsidiary Teuco do Brasil in Sao Paulo. We are also focusing on Russia, the Middle East, the Far East and certain African states. Why the choice of such different styles and materials, like Duralight, marble and onyx? E.B. The variety of the materials lets us respond to a wide range of decor tastes. Duralight, by nature, lends itself to sober settings, with a metropolitan flavor. The marbles, Carrara and Stone Gray, and precious onyx enliven more ornate, decorated bath suites. They are different materials, but they share the fact that they transmit a sense of precious luxury to the touch, an ancestral, enveloping sensation. C.C. It was important to address an international audience in this project. Hence the choice of a more traditional style, more traditional forms, a new classicism that lets us approach the tastes of Americans, Russians, Arabs. The same goes for the materials, especially the onyx, which corresponds to Asian tastes, above all. The tub is the emblem that combines the two aspects of the collection: both classic and postmodern. What does this collection represent in the evolution of the company? E.B. Autoritratti is of great strategic value, because it indicates a long-term business horizon that projects Teuco more and more into the worldwide arena, driving our approach of internationalization. In design terms, what do such different materials have in common? What brings them together? C.C. They are very different materials, it is true. Personally I prefer natural materials like stone and wood: white Carrara marble, Stone Gray and onyx seem warmer, more alive. In any case, both the natural materials and the Duralight are extremely ‘soft,’ easy to shape and work. Both have made it possible to give form and substance to an image I wanted to convey. Design is made of details, and challenges: this project, which began two years ago, is a challenge we have met, in the harmonious fusion of the stylemes of the most classic luxury and those of the most refined design. What materials are in the running for future projects? E.B. We are working on further enrichment of the color range of Duralight, which is already large, to offer a chromatic scale that permits maximum customizing. At the same time, we are developing new materials, approached as new versions of Duralight itself. At the level of corporate strategy, what lies in the present and the near future of Teuco? E.B. Exports currently account for 50% of our total sales, and the goal is to take that figure to 75% by 2016, which is possible, given the export growth trend of 15% with which we closed out 2013. The strong commitment to consolidate and develop the brand on foreign markets is what drives the new corporate strategy. There are five macro-areas we directly approach in terms of sales: Europe; South America, where with the new Teuco do Brasil we import and directly sell products in the area; Asia Pacific, where the affiliate Teuco Water Experience has been active for several years in Shanghai; the Middle East and Africa, with a presence in Dubai; and, finally, there is the upcoming opening of an affiliate in Miami, for direct control in the North American market.