Hard surfaces: new products at LDF 2015
A selection of innovative surface materials are ready for their close-ups during September’s London Design Festival.
Patricia Urquiola’s collection for Italian manufacturer Mutina is now available exclusively in the UK for the first time through retailer Surface. We caught up with the designer when she visited the UK recently. Urquiola discussed her close relationship with the team at Mutina and how together they were able to take this collection in a number of interesting directions.
The Tierras collection is split into two: Tierras Industrial and Tierras Artisanal. The former is made using partly recycled materials, forming a black base on to which six coloured powders are deposited to create a coloured surface. The Industrial portfolio features Triomix (irregular large-format shapes and colour-contrasting intersections) and Frame, a smooth, decorated version with coloured lines screen-printed on to the tile to create geometric designs.
Tierras Artisanal moves away from two–dimensional wall coverings to three-dimensional surfaces. The five Artisanal options are made from extruded terracotta and can be used for indoor or outdoor screens and partitions.
“Mutina is very open to my point of view and we work together to share the research as we create a new collection,” Urquiola explains. “They have an eye for tradition but also for new technologies, pushing the boundaries while staying connected to the roots of ceramic.
“Everything came out of a conversation with Massimo Orsini, the director of Mutina, whose father was also the director of a large company working a lot in terracotta. We decided to research artisanal terracotta.”
Mutina also works with the latest Continua ceramic technology, which has been used successfully in recent years to create imitation wood.
Urquiola continues: “After speaking to the technicians at Mutina about Continua – I always like to understand the technical limits of the technology and how we can develop it – we thought: ‘Why use the technology to make marble or wood when we have a great history of terracotta?’
“We decided to explore the different types of sediment that have been used in Mediterranean artisanal traditions. We said: ‘OK, let’s work with dark earth as a canvas to add depth, over which we can print, using the four-colour palette, which we have even extended to create different coloured grouts. The key of this Tierras collection is that we are returning to the roots of terracotta in a very contemporary way. It’s a palette I think is going to be used more and more.”
Watch Patricia Urquiola talk exclusively about Tierras and for additional information, visit surfacetiles.com
Refin has invested in a latest-generation printing machine, making it possible to print larger formats with the highest graphic resolution available on the market today. Its two newest collections are Plant (below), ceramic tiles emulating wood-cement surfaces found in the construction industry, and Deck, a lightly grained oak-effect tile. The new machine can print a very high number of different tiles with several variations, giving a much more realistic overall effect when recreating stone or wood designs. Refin has also introduced laser technology to produce very accurate dies, the metal plates used to create the surface and texture of the tiles.
Johnson Tiles has unveiled Soho and Loft (above), two ranges for floors and walls. Soho is a geometric, retro-styled collection with 3D shadowing effects. Loft recreates the look of distressed wood. It features more than 100 variations of urban industrial effects, including flecked paint, split wood, sanded layers and rusted colouration, making for countless combinations.
The look, inspired by the idea of imperfection, is created with high-definition print technology and a mix of old and new glazing techniques. Johnson Tiles’ installation, created with Laetitia de Allegri and Matteo Fogale, will be on display in Gallery 11 of the V&A at the London Design Festival.
Dzek’s Marmoreal is a pre-cast, large-aggregate terrazzo designed by Max Lamb. The designer has turned his normally reductive way of working on its head, using surplus chippings from four Italian marbles to create Marmoreal. These mixed-size aggregates are put into industrial mixers with a polyester resin binder, then poured into a mould measuring 305 x 124 x 85cm. The block is formed over 12 hours, using both pressure and vibration, before being cured outside for two weeks. The 10-tonne hunks can then be sliced into slabs and tiles or milled into into large, single-piece objects. Dzek will soon be collaborating with Tom Dixon and Formafantasma. The company will be showcasing Marmoreal at 4 Thurloe Place Mews in the Brompton Design District.
Caesarstone has launched four colourways into its engineered quartz stone range – Urban Safari, Symphony Grey, Raw Concrete and Statuario. All are made from 93 per cent natural materials, with pigments and additives added to the composition to create the colour palette. The slabs are then pressed and put into a kiln and, unlike completely natural materials such as marble, granite and slate, they are totally non-porous and largely scratch and stain resistant. You can find Caesarstone at Super Brands, where it has commissioned a collaboration with Rona Meychas-Koblenz of design house Kukka, resulting in the Thirty Four coffee table.
For September, Spanish giant Cosentino has introduced new colourways into two of its brands, Dekton and Silestone. Dekton, with its high heat, stain and impact resistance and low porosity, has gained seven neutral colours in response to continuing consumer demand for these tones. Silestone celebrates its 25th anniversary with a limited-edition, blue-green hue, Acqua Fraccaroli, which has been developed in collaboration with the renowned Brazilian interior designer Brunete Fraccaroli. Silestone is 90 per cent natural quartz to which 10 per cent of a manufactured element is added to enable vibrant colour options. It will launch at 100% Design.