The Ceramo is one of the most charismatic buildings in the city of Valencia. Its neo-Mudejar style with over 150 years of history is still a place of imagination. Just passing by its exotic doorway brings back the mystery of the secrets that that the ancient ceramic artisans kept inside. Although seemingly impossible, the ancient building transmits great energy which perhaps comes from the heat of its old kilns.
In its origins, (1859), the Ceramo was one of the most important ceramic factories of its era. Behind these walls, Josep Ros strived to recuperate one of the most difficult and secret techniques of ancient ceramics – a metallic reflection.
This technique, characterized by its gilded decoration and requiring three different types of firing, comes from the Muslim potters of what is now Iraq and reached its splendor in the times of Al-Andalus in the X century.
In the XX century, the metallic reflection technique had all but disappeared.
The story, or legend, is told that Ros found the formula of this glaze and the instructions for its firing, inside an old piece of furniture he had acquired for restoration. For a long time this had been a secret formula that the ancient Arab potters had handed down from father to son.
The Ceramo managed to retrieve and reappraise this technique. Meanwhile, Josep Ros investigated and collected new ceramic models and commissioned prestigious design artists for their production and revitalized ceramic forms and techniques in these lands, which already possessed an extensive history in the art of ceramics.
The pieces produced by this prestigious factory can be seen today decorating the city’s most eminent buildings. We can see decorations or glazed ceramic tiles in the Estacion de Norte, the main railway station, the Central market (Mercado Central), Colon Market (Mercado de Colon), the Town hall and many others. The glazed metallic-like pieces which came out of the factory are today valuable works of art to be found in some of the city’s museums and are sought after by collectors for their uniqueness and quality.
The factory’s peculiar construction makes it, from the outset, an emblematic and singular place. Its Moorish structure fitted in with the surroundings of numerous medieval and Muslim vestiges and, in some way, represents the activity carried on behind its walls.
City’s industrial past
Among many other things, the Ceramo also symbolizes the city’s industrial past and serves as a reminder of the times when ceramics was an important part of our economy, highlighting the superb quality and excellent design of the products manufactured here.
This place closed its doors many years ago, not only for the manufacture of ceramics but for any posterior use which it might have been put to. Today the Ceramo is in an appalling state. Private initiatives have made numerous attempts to recuperate the premises. Both nostalgic ceramic lovers and leading designers have, on numerous occasions, become interested in the deplorable state of this industrial, cultural and traditional heritage and have tried in vain to restore it.
Though now dismantled, the factory still retains the main building, the beautiful Neo Mudejar doorway, as well as the site where it stands, around which descend black clouds of property speculation. Fortunately, there are now moves to renovate the Ceramo.