The landscape of hospitality
Juan Francisco Gomila
The Canaries, the splendid group of Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco, are famous as the archipelago of everlasting spring. As a result they enjoy a year-round tourist season and offer an enormous and highly varied range of accommodation facilities. One of these is Hotel Riu Gran Canaria, located in Maspalomas, the main seaside resort in the south of the island. With its famous wide beaches and golden sand dunes, the town is home to large hotel complexes, which regardless of their individual architectural characteristics are seemingly all designed to maximise the enjoyment of sun, sea and sand. And judging from the spectacular infinity pool, which appears to merge with the more challenging waters of the ocean, Hotel Riu is no exception. The complex recently underwent major renovation work led by the local practice Agustín Díaz de Aguilar Cantero, which concentrated in particular on the swimming pool area and the outdoor dining areas.
The access walkway to the outdoor spa, the long, regular rows of sunbeds, the horizon that vanishes into the sea and the wood floors all help to create an illusion of being on the deck of a ship. Except that it’s not a ship, much less wood — yet another demonstration of how well-established the wood-look ceramic trend has become, satisfying aesthetic tastes and technical requirements the world over. The classic combination of wood and water, visually appealing yet maintenance intensive, was chosen as the main theme for the design project in the swimming pool area. Except that in this case the chosen product was porcelain tile (Echo series from Monocibec, colour Siusi, grip finish), complete with a surface texture that guarantees safe, non-slip use in one of the most popular areas of the hotel. An exterior grade parquet, it is available in a classic strip format (16.2×100 cm) with a sawcut-look non-slip surface finish.
The exceptional ability of digital printing technology to create a perfect imitation of wood is no longer limited to duplicating the grain and colours of the timber, but goes so far as to reproduce the imperfections and marks left by the artisanal finishing work, making for a hyper-realistic appearance.
The choice of material reflects the idea of «nature in nature», permeating the exterior spaces of the hotel with a warm material presence, visually and functionally in harmony with the power of the surrounding landscape — the intense blue of the Atlantic Ocean, the wind that shapes the dunes and sways the palm trees, and the constant sun that brings the colours of the volcanic island to life. Guests entering the restaurant, bar and coffee lounge are greeted by the same wood-look floor but in a slightly different colour and finish (Arbor collection from Century, Brown and White versions). The functional organisation and connections between the spaces are emphasised by a continuous and relaxing pathway, dominated by neutral colours that avoid distracting attention from the central scenic element, the ocean, which diners can admire from the restaurant through the glass balustrades.
The unique way in which ceramic tiles have been used to give a new look to the tourist facility while meeting the technical and design requirements of an intense-use public space won the Riu Hotel renovation project first prize in the latest edition of the Quinquennial Tile Award presented by Fincibec Group,
which supplied more than 4,000 square metres of ceramic tiles for the project.
16.2x100 / 24.6x100
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 naturale, R11 grip
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant