New uses for ceramic tiles in the home | by Livio Salvadori
Latest-generation ceramic tiles are the result of the continuous research and innovation efforts made by the Italian industry in all areas from manufacturing technology through to the development of new types of products, constant improvements in technical and aesthetic characteristics (including materials, shapes, thicknesses, sizes, surfaces finishes, colours and decorations) and the development of new installation techniques. This constant process of evolution has led to some extremely interesting developments.
At one end of the scale, extra-thick slabs (20 mm thickness and beyond) are used in residential contexts for steps and finishing elements for terraces, gardens, exterior walkways and garden paths, and as extremely hard-wearing kitchen countertops. At the other, low-thickness panels (as small as 3 mm) are used for cladding surfaces, tables and furniture, and as technical and aesthetic coverings on doors, walls and architectural spaces. They are also extremely useful as a versatile and low-cost solution for use on floors in renovation projects, especially if they are installed directly over existing floors without the need for costly demolition work. Likewise for interior design applications, products and modular systems with three-dimensional relief surfaces and tactile textures have been developed as ideal solutions for customising spaces or simply enhancing individual elements such as walls, niches, columns, irregular surfaces, door frames or fireplace claddings…
For clients who are more attentive to aspects of hygiene, new tiles are now available incorporating bioactive antibacterial, photocatalytic and anti-odour systems capable of eliminating 99.9% of the main bacterial strains, making tiled surfaces extremely safe in terms of health and cleanliness.
New-generation ceramic products offer a highly diverse range of innovative solutions for these applications that cater for entire projects thanks to their qualities of modularity, flexibility and customisation. Rather than individual tiles produced in a range of different sizes, the solutions now on the market consist of complete installation systems or highly versatile compositional solutions that can be used in conjunction with other collections or materials (metal, glass, wood, etc.) and finishing elements to create interesting geometries or colour solutions. The latest offerings are more than just individual products or ranges, they are authentic “design concepts” that are ideal for spatial and aesthetic interpretations, sensorial visions, atmospheres, lifestyles and dreams…
As a result, tiles become architectural surfaces that mould space and lead to new lifestyle solutions.