Cersaie 2004 was the trade show where wood-effect ceramic tiles truly came of age. While timber look-alikes were hardly new, a steady process of design evolution meant that by 2004 the quality of the grain and colour reproductions had reached an incredibly high level, with both parquet and plank effects delivered in startling detail for the first time.
By 2004, the sophistication of the next generation of porcelain tile production technology was just starting to impact on the floor tile sector. New large scale presses made it possible to combine several technologies, like penetrating salts, double pressing and multi-pipe body prep, in one unit. The results were through-bodied porcelain stone copies with a degree of authenticity and a lack of repetition previously only achievable using surface glazing technologies such as Systems’ Rotocolor silk screens.
For 2004’s aspiring tile manufacturers, the capital investment required was huge: more than Euro 10 million for the front end equipment alone. However, as the top Italian and Spanish manufacturers tried to maintain an edge over the growing competition from emerging producer nations like China, it was a case of invest or die.
For those brave enough to make this financial outlay, the results spoke for themselves: very high quality facsimilies with excellent technical performance. However, in 2004, original designs were thin on the ground as the major manufacturers all backed the same small field of horses: wood-effects, faux-concrete, white marbles, and neutral sandstones/limestones.
However, a few delivered something more enticing. One was Edilcuoghi who took the idea of using subtle combinations of texture, colour and transparency a step further with Moire.
This design played with the characteristic converging and diverging waves of lines created in the paper printing process when a previously printed image is re-scanned. The result was a tiled surface with a clear grain, that could either be laid in series to create a fluid linear look, or in opposition for a subtle chessboard effect.
Produced in 600 by 600mm, Moire came in six subtle two-tone colourways: grigio-perla, nero-notte, rosso-mattone, beige, almond and verde-petrolio. This was clearly an exciting design direction, and formed part of a particularly impressive display by Edilcuoghi at Bologna in 2004.
This item first appeared in Tile & Stone Journal, November 2004