Day one at Cersaie and I was immediately confronted by the question: What is a tile? Stepping on to the impressive Grespania stand, one was faced by presentations of ceramics and porcelain floor and wall tiles, alongside one-piece kitchen worktops formed from ceramics slabs, achingly stylish Danish tables with Laminam table tops, and giant Laminam slabs that stretch the definition of tiles to 1,200 by 3,600mm … some stretch and quite beyond belief if I cast my mind back to my first Cersaie 25 years ago.
In some ways, of course, the definition does not matter. Progressive manufacturers like Grespania still offer and ever-growing, increasingly sophisticated portfolio of standard ceramic and porcelain tiles for traditional tile retailers and distributors, as well as advanced porcelain ranges suitable for the project needs of architects and interior designers.
It is down to the company how they exploit the obvious commercial potential of products like 20mm external porcelain tiles (landscape architects, garden centres, local authority maintenance departments, etc); or ultra thin Laminam panels (furniture manufacturers, shoplifters, signage manufacturers, refurbishments contractors, etc).
What is clear, however, is that recent advances in production technology are opening up strange new horizons for “tile” manufacturers; and that sales and marketing strategies need to be adapted accordingly.
Returning to Grespania, the real point of differentiation on the stand at Cersaie – one that would have been lost on most casual observers – was that this was the first time Tile Addict has seen the same design delivered in both through-bodied porcelain tiles and ultra thin, uber large, Laminam panels. There is, of course, a good reason for this. Few tile brands in the world are far-sighted and brave enough to have invested in both technologies. Grespania, with its first Laminam line already capable of producing gauged porcelain panels up to 10mm thick, soon to be joined by a second line that will extend the range to 12mm or, possibly, beyond, has a clear competitive advantage.
This was best demonstrated by Nexo; which was elegantly displayed as ultra-thin (5.6mm and 3.5mm) porcelain panels: 1,000 by 1,000, 600 by 1,200, 1,200 by 1,200, 1,000 by 3,000 mm, 1,200 by 2,600 and 1,200 by 3,600mm.
Nexo places texture and versatility to take centre stage. Thanks to its many formats and richness of its surfaces, Nexo ensures aesthetic continuity between floor and wall tiling, as well as between interior and exterior spaces, making it an excellent solution for adapting any environment to architectural project requirements.
Nexo is available in three finishes: Polished, for indoor areas in public buildings and private homes; Natural, for indoor and outdoor areas, in high-traffic public buildings and in private homes; and Relief, for indoor and outdoor areas in high-traffic public buildings and in private homes, as well as for use in indoor wet areas.
Grespania also embraces the 20mm exterior tiling trend. Cottos, earthenware tiles, cement and moulded pieces come together to create Grespania’s Gea range, an adaptable collection that combines nature and modernity, architecture and the avant-garde, to create cosmopolitan urban environments as well as rustic, natural spaces. Grespania offers to formats: 600 by 600mm and the less common 750 by 750mm.
Grespania also suggested that the 2016 trend towards darker, more dramatic, stone-effect tiles will continue to be one of the underlying themes at Cersaie 2017. Grespania’s Lavica really captures the dramatic, masculine, appeal of basalt, with its near black tones of grey, hard-edged textures and subtly variegated surface.
All the elements of the Lávica series are a testament to the overwhelming force of nature that forged the volcanic stone that inspired the range.
This technical through-body porcelain range comes in three different finishes: natural, polished and relief. This, combined with the choice of 600 by 1,200, 800 by 800, 600 by 600 and 300 by 600mm formats, makes Lavica a truly versatile range.
It is completed with four decorative pieces: The 600 by 600mm Vulcanic that combines a natural finish with a relief; the 300 by 30mcm mesh-mounted Manto that features a 3D effect; the 300 by 300mm mesh-mounted Caldera comprising small pieces in the style of a Roman mosaic; and the classic mesh-mounted Magma.
Its understated modern design, soft, natural finishes and elegant decors makes Lávica suitable for any space – public or private – aiming to create a serene, modern style while ebenfitting from the performance of technical through-body porcelain.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, September 2017.