Today we are talking about a company that was founded way back in 1959. We will take a passage from a catalogue dating back to 1982: “Having started its activity in 1959 on a production area of just 4,500 sq.m., today Ceramica ASTRA can count on a global surface area close to 150,000 sq.m., 40,000 of which are fully covered.These figures are undoubtedly already sufficient to unequivocally indicate the structural weight of ASTRA’s presence on the market, but still insufficient to display its technological capacity. “This task is reserved for the presentation of a few images taken from this catalogue, of the operation of some of the work processes that will follow. Its plants:” A production plan that wants to achieve truly optimal end results must above all be able to operate rational and precise selection criteria in the use of plants and in the employment of workers. By completely automating the ceramic body preparation process, ASTRA Ceramics has succeeded in eliminating all forms of dispersive and tiring manual labour in this product processing phase, in order to be able to use it rationally where it is still absolutely essential. It has thus obtained the triple result of reducing production times, containing management costs within competitive market limits and considerably improving the working conditions of its employees.Faithful to its ambitious programme of continuous upward development that has characterised its constant commitment since the beginning of its activity, in 1975 Ceramica ASTRA inaugurated a second factory in Castel S. Elia. Elia of a second plant equipped with facilities that are undoubtedly among the most modern and functional existing in Italy today, with which it is able to plan its work distribution in a more rational manner than before and therefore to fully offer all the production guarantees that the progressive expansion of its sales organisation in Italy and abroad continuously requires. A conveyor chain that winds its way through more than 3.5 kilometres of work area, thousands of trolleys in continuous movement, programmed electronic equipment to regulate the motor phases of the trolleys, a single technician in charge of the equipment control panel: these are the essential data of a system that, better than any detailed technical description, can summarise the scope of the technological revolution initiated by ASTRA Ceramics in its new factory in accordance with a precise programmatic orientation of continuous dimensional development. ” and another important passage: “The essentiality of the design due to one of the most original personalities of our time in the field of plastic arts, the well-known sculptor Franco Valeri, is the most evident feature that Ceramica ASTRA, within a precise creative and production planning projected into the future, has so far achieved the result of the highest technical and stylistic content“.
But who was Franco Valeri!? We take our cue from an article on viterbopost.it: ‘The three-day event in Civita Castellana dedicated to the world of ceramics ended with a tribute to the recently deceased artist Franco Valeri. ”Buongiorno Ceramica”, this is the name of the event organised by the municipality, filled the town for five days with events, exhibitions, workshops, and guided tours of the factories, all to acquaint Civitans and tourists alike with the marvel that has made the fortune of the town at the foot of Monte Soratte. The grand finale of the event was the evening event ”1280° centigrade”. held in the show room of the Art Ceram factory in the heart of the town, dedicated to Prof. Valeri, who passed away last 12 May at the age of 83. He was a craftsman, sculptor, designer, lecturer in various schools, but above all a master of his art who scattered Civita Castellana with his works, from the war memorial near the Art Institute, to the monument to the Ceramist in Via Mazzini or the one in Via della Liberazione, up to the most recent panel displayed at the entrance to Via del Tiratore. Senator Stefano Collina, president of the Italian Association of Ceramic Cities, organiser of the Buongiorno Ceramica event, also wished to pay tribute to Franco Valeri in his letter addressed to the mayor on the occasion of the event.” Basically, one of the first Italian designers. Most of the successful ceramic series produced by ASTRA originated from his pencil. All the sanitaryware series and their WC covers.
83 series by Astra Ceramiche design F. Valeri
With this series, he anticipated by several years the style and shape (large dimensions) that other competing ceramic manufacturers would later come up with. In the post: ”BIG sanitaryware, large WCs and bidets modern lines and their covers (part 2)” we have seen for example the ONDA by Ceramica Hidra. It was a very large D-shape with a clean, essential line. Although it was very long, the toilet seat cover measured 48/49 cm with the hinges, to make it slender it was only 35 cm wide. The toilet seat covers for these Astra sanitary fittings in the official colours can be found in the store at the following link [ clik HERE ]
Gemma series by Astra Ceramiche
Another large sanitary fitting that is now out of production. Its toilet seat is much wider than the 83 series (it measures almost 37 cm) but is also almost 50 cm long. The particular design at the top of the toilet bowl made it very recognisable. It was produced in champagne, blue and pomegranate red in addition to white. All his toilet seats are available in the Sintesibagno store at the following link [ clik HERE ]
Pantheon and Versailles series by ASTRA Ceramiche
Here we are in the category of oddly shaped sanitary ware and ceramic body work. We have seen many sanitary ware that we can consider the competitors of these two Astra series in the post: “Oddly shaped toilet seats with unusual dimensions. You will see some beauties!”, where we saw: ROMANTICA by Catalano, TORENA and CONCHIGLIA by Pozzi Ginori and RIACE by Eos. All sanitary fixtures with unusual shapes and large dimensions. In this case we are talking about toilet seats that are a good 39.5 cm wide for PANTHEON and 38 cm for VERSAILLES. Even more surprising is the length of the toilet seat (52, 53, 54 cm with the hinges). Remaining on the formal level, the WCs had an imperial style typical of the atmosphere of ancient Rome and Versailles. The toilet seats for these sanitary ware can be found in the store at the following link [ clik HERE ]
Forma series by Astra Ceramiche
Looking at these sanitary ware from the 1980s, one is surprised by the modern lines that we thought were a much more recent and modern thing. The sanitary ware we saw in this post: ”Floor-standing sanitary ware caressed (flush with the wall). Wrap-around and mordant shapes. Top-mounted toilet seats are required.(expa)” are certainly inspired by this ASTRA series from many years earlier. If it were not for that ceramic parallelepiped that was used to rest the toilet against the wall, we could already be talking about a flush-to-wall WC! The dimensions of its toilet seat cover are really big, we are talking about a width of almost 40 cm and a length of 51/52 cm. You can find it in the store at the following link [ clik HERE ]
We have begun to see some of ASTRA’s ceramic production and their toilet seats. If you are still in doubt about which toilet seat cover to look for for your toilet in the bathroom, we suggest you send us an e-mail to email@example.com or a WhatsApp message to 3341288978 with two pictures of your sanitary fitting and a few measurements and we will be able to help you choose. Here is the video on how to go about finding a toilet seat cover: