Large porcelain slabs and urban spaces | by Andrea Serri
In the words of a 1970s decoration equipment commercial, “to paint a big wall you don’t need a big brush, you need a great brush”. This concept applies equally to the modern-day ceramic tile industry.
The gradual increase in the dimensions of ceramic tiles, which in some cases are now as large as 320×160 cm, has led to the development of an entirely new kind of product, now widely referred to as “ceramic slabs”. This new product category maintains the technical and aesthetic characteristics of the original material while opening up fresh opportunities for use in new architectural spaces.
Thanks to major advances in technology, these products are now suitable for paving large public and private urban spaces and for use on external façades, transforming what until just a few years ago was a rarity into a well-established application with a steadily growing market share. This process has been made possible by the development of an extensive range of services including design solutions, product promotion amongst professionals and on-site support and installation, in turn leading to corporate restructuring and the creation of new departments and roles.
Alongside their traditional role as building materials, these products are now being widely adopted as furnishing accessories thanks to their through-body veining and suitability for use on bathroom vanity tops, kitchen countertops and tables. At the same time, the fact that they are produced as part of a single manufacturing process makes them ideal for creating a “total look” that simply cannot be matched by any other type of façade or surface covering material.