One of Brazil’s foremost tile manufacturers, Ceramica Portinari has a long record of innovation and commercial success. This proud record was continued at Bologna this year, not at Cersaie itself but in a solo exhibition at a hotel nearby. Here intrepid seekers of tile innovation, like Tile Addict, did not leave empty handed … far from it.
So, what to choose? Well, it has to be Backstage. This range, which comes in three colours – white, taupe and tartan – and two formats 600 by 1,200mm and 800 by 800mm, brings to mind the subtle surface sculpting and deliberate imperfections of Mutina’s ground-breaking Déchirer range. And, as all fellow Tile Addicts will know, Déchirer is one of my favourite tile ranges of all time; so this is a good thing.
With Backstage, the design conceit is to get across in tile the concept of being behind the scenes in a theatre, where the spectacle is prepared and the magic really happens. Here the cast and crew get ready, leaving no detail unchecked in order to present a perfect show. This collection is designed to play a similar role as the backdrop for spectacular spaces. It is an unglazed porcelain range with a lapato finish and offers surprising effects when lit.
However, Backstage can also be the star itself. It is also available in a wonderful fully-translucent option. As you may expect, this tile is eye-wateringly expensive, but it also works. I cannot recall seeing another normally proportioned tile, with a seemingly normal tile body, that actually transmits light like this. The secret is a very exclusive body preparation. And, it remains a secret. Tile Addict may have witnessed the LED lit examples in the Bologna hotel display, but the Portinari team were keeping tight-lipped about the technical specification. And I don’t blame them. This is a great product and I can see designers going wild for it as a bar front, retail display, hotel reception area, nightclub attraction, etc. It would also suit more contemplative spaces: entrance halls, panels, worktops and furniture applications, such as coffee tables.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, December 2017.