Concrete-effect tiles, for both walls and floors, have been a mainstay of international ceramic tile exhibitions for some years now. The look has evolved with spatulated surfaces, semi-polished finishes, subtle tonal variations and material cross overs, such as the shuttered concrete look with visible wood grain.
But at Coverings, Lea Ceramiche presented what has to be the most effective, carefully-considered and fully realised concrete portfolio to date. Concreto, designed by Fabio Novembre, is a varied and original reinterpretation of this iconic construction material. In this achingly beautiful collection, the organic structure of cement is combined with the advanced technology of laminated porcelain stoneware to create original, surprising and appealing surfaces. This is an innovative and refined collection that can be adapted to any architectural and design context, and is capable of delivering unique spaces with a strong narrative value.
“We started working together with Lea Ceramiche many years ago and this has brought about a relationship of mutual respect and esteem. It was inevitable that it would have led to something more … Concreto,” explains Novembre. “We created a broad collection that plays effectively with the shiny and matt contrast, in which the tone-on-tone decorations are never too loud. The inspiration for this collection is water which is an essential component of what we call cement. The way water naturally and organically reacts with cement turned into the decorative pattern that I proposed to Lea Ceramiche, and it turned out to be the perfect combination.”
Concreto comes in five colour shades: Extra Light, Light, Medium, Dark, and Rust. The core options for this Slimtech range is 6mm laminated porcelain stoneware in 600 by 1,200mm, 1,200 by 1,200mm and 1,200 by 2,600mm formats.
Adding incredible personality, depth and refinements are four water-inspired decors: Foam, Tide, Dry and, Reef. These riff on the ways that a cement-based mixture – with its solidified flows, porosity and unevenness – will vary depending on the specific action of water, air and gravity. The fifth decorative option – Drops – recreates multiple combinations of texture and colour, to achieve a refined material from just a few simple elements.
Concreto achieves modern harmony with a sophisticated mood. It plays on light with shadows projecting graphics on the surfaces and lustre effects allowing subtle details to gain fresh and ever-changing prominence. The result is high-end interior surface that maximises the impact of subtle details. It is also a collection that exudes calmness and well being: one that is in touch with nature, but ever mindful of modern lifestyle and aesthetics.
Like many of the best concrete-effect ranges, Concreto will be equally at home in classical and contemporary interiors. This is because it is such a subtle synthesis of memory and modernity, arts and crafts, design and technology. Although a man-made material it appears to have great depth and authenticity: something many designers strive for but very few achieve.
Concreto is available with antimicrobial technology permanently integrated and is a light, resistant and versatile product that is also eco-friendly. As well as 6mm, it is available in 5.5mm and 3.5mm thicknesses. The total range of formats is 500 by 1,000, 1,000 by 1,000, 600 by 1,200, 1,200 by 1,200, 500 by 1,500, 1,000 by 1,500, 1,200 by 2,600, 1,000 by 3,000, 330 by 3,000, 200 by 2,000, 200 by 1,500, and 200 by 1,000mm. Concreto recreates cement colours and textures that have a slight orientation. To obtain the best results, it is recommended to follow one of two installation patterns rather than laying the tiles randomly.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, May 2018.