Artichokes, Chilli Peppers and Pomegrenates (CEP001)

About the Website

When we started work on a complete redesign of the old Rampini Ceramics website I expected the usual challenges - creatively using the full potential of a website while being realistic in expectations, finding and organizing all the necessary information, developing a fitting information architecture, designing a pleasant and visually interesting - but not obtrusive - layout, creating standards compliant, easily maintainable and user friendly web pages with a secure and efficient database interface, and remembering to present content in a way so that it may be indexed easily by search engines. In other words, the challenge was to create a web presence capable of showing material as easily and usefully as possible, to those people who are interested in it.

The base line was a bit daunting, to be sure - we wanted to present the ceramics produced by Rampini as fully as possible. That means more than 100 different shapes or 'bisques' (as I learnt), ranging from egg cups and espresso sets to huge wall plates, all kinds of tableware, kitchenware, decorative objects, all of which (or most, anyway) can be decorated with one of more than 80 different designs. Just thinking of the images to be shown, that comes to about 8,000 photos.

Then of course, we hoped to give a sense of how intricate the process of creating beautiful hand made pottery is - shaping and firing the bisques, glazing, hand painting, the second firing, quality control, packing ... We also wanted to describe some of the history of ceramics in Italy, which is a significant part of Tuscany's contribution to European political, artistic and cultural development, as well as the fierce pride in artisan tradition and quality. All this is in turn closely connected to the beauty of the Chianti region, to its natural riches and its long history of wine and olive oil making, to its strong sense of pleasure in excellent, simple food and good company.

But it got more complex.

First of all the painters and designers are artists - when they look at a plate and a design they will start experimenting, try to find new and different ways to bring a design to life in the available space, come up with new variations, new colours, completely new designs. Which is all in the spirit of creative work at its best, but somehow we also had to agree on just what we would be able to show on the web pages, often leaving out tempting variations on designs, new, but not quite finished developments, different 'takes' on traditional patterns. We just could not present all of them.

Then there is no stock or magazine, apart from a comparatively small stock in the shop in Florence and the studio and shop in the Chianti. Whatever images we wanted to take for the website either had to be taken from that stock or from pieces specially made for this purpose.

Rampini Ceramics do not produce ceramics like a factory would, filling up an ever identical magazine: they work on specific orders for a customer who wants certain pieces with a certain design. Many orders are taken while talking directly with a person in the shop in Florence or in Radda in Chianti. Often orders arrive via phone or fax from somebody who wants to extend an existing Rampini set, or has seen some Rampini pottery at a friend's house. Always there are choices to be made - which of many possible shapes to choose, how to combine them, which design, how to lay out the design on the pieces, colour adjustments, should monocolour pieces be included in a set ... We intended to find a way to enter into this dialogue also through the web pages.

We may not have an image of every single possible piece, but we have tried to show just how many combinations are possible and we invite anybody interested to explore the vast choice Rampini offers. Unusually, we have decided not to have a shopping cart - we feel this rather mechanical approach does not reflect the kind of exchange Rampini Ceramics normally have with their customers.

The website in its present form is very much work in progress. More images of pieces in different decors are going to be added and we will include further shapes and decors. We will have a changing area in which we present newly developed designs and we will keep offering new staff recommendations and gift suggestions.

I would very much appreciate feedback about this site.

Sieglinde Schreiner-Linford

Animali (ANM) For further information and to order
Due to the characteristics of monitors the colours in images may vary from the original ceramics pieces.
Copyright © 2009 Rampini Ceramics (all text and images).