This is the time of year when tile manufacturers start to inform Tile Addict of their plans for Cersaie 2018. While the world’s premier tile exhibition is some some three months away, the widespread European August shutdown, and the in-depth planning required to design a eye-turning stand, means that marketing and design departments in Sassuolo, Castellon, and beyond are currently beavering away getting their new designs and sales pitches ready for Bologna.
And early indications are that the new market opportunities offered by XXL format tiles – 3,200 by 1,600mm and up – are very much on the manufacturers’ minds. Gauged ceramic panels, sintered stone surfaces – call them what you will – these new continuous-pressed porcelain behemoths are a great opportunity … and a serious challenge.
For XXL tile manufacturers, the challenge is finding new routes to market – in effect, a new customer base – for this product category. This means catching the eye of kitchen specialists, worktop wholesalers, furniture manufacturers, pod builders, spec housebuilders, hygienic environment contractors, etc. Conventional tile distributors and retailers will really not cut the mustard in this arena.
On the other hand, you can’t lose what you’ve never had. So, apart from the growing threat from LVT, tile manufacturer’s existing business should be set fair, as ceramic and porcelain tiles now have so many advantages over natural timber or real stone floors, carpet, polished plaster, wallpaper, and all the other surface options.
So, if these manufacturers can find the right commercial partners, XXL formats should open up a raft of new opportunities in kitchen worktops, retail countertops, vanity units, seamless splashbacks, feature walls, etc.
Well, that is what companies like Flaviker seem to be hoping. Flaviker will be pushing back the frontiers of porcelain at Cersaie 2018, with new 12mm thick panels and its new Bath Design project. The technological and stylistic development of porcelain stoneware has enabled it to break out of its traditional field of application as a floor and wall covering and become a fully-fledged furnishing material. At Cersaie 2018, Flaviker will not only present the material inspirations behind the new collection but also propose more versatile and creative applications of large-size tiles in the world of furniture and bathrooms.
Ceramic surfaces are an extremely high-quality alternative to natural materials for applications such as countertops, standing out for their practicality and technical performance. To make the most of this potential, Flaviker is unveiling its WIDE.12 range of 1,600 by 3,200mm ceramic panels, 12mm thick, that will be promoted as ideal kitchen worktops.
Alongside this innovation, the multi-faceted aesthetics of 7mm thick Wide panels will be revisited in the Bath Design collection; a line of bathroom furniture that can be combined with floor and wall tiles to create a total Flaviker-look bathroom. This new offer means that customers can draw inspiration from Flaviker’s range of surfaces and then order standard or customised shelves, shower trays, bathtubs and washbasins in elegant and minimalist designs. Options span elegant Supreme panels capable of reproducing the most prestigious marble, through to distinctive contemporary surfaces, such as the Hyper concrete-look tile with an ultra-realistic post-industrial mood.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, July 2018.