Tap into a world of ceramic design and decor, as seen at Revestir 2013.

Whether it’s ceramic tiles, granite, marble, stone, glass or laminates, the future of wall applications looks different, sexier, edgier. Karien Slabbert looks at the on-cue decor styles, new approaches, fresh concepts and design directions, as seen at Expo Revestir 2013 – Latin America’s foremost ceramics event. Design lovers and trend sleuths from around the world poured to the foremost Brazilian ceramics show in Sao Paolo, Brazil, from 5 to 8 March to get their fill of the latest tile trends and technologies.

Expo Revestir clearly highlighted that the face of tiles and cladding is changing. Be it sleek and sculptural, organically rustic or traditional with a twist, there is a definite move away from the traditional tiling narrative. From modern-day classics to new naturals, lacelike porcelain and off-the-charts colours, it was about interesting finish combinations and exceptional design that mixed contemporary touches with master-crafted know-how and sophistication.

The result: a new level of über innovation and suave, customised sophistication.

Top of the trade
The four-day expo, which was held at the Transamerica Expo Centre, presented a one-stop shop for the latest innovations in finishing solutions and materials (ceramic, glass and mosaic tiles), as well as industrial machinery and equipment.

The expo showcased the largest domestic and international brands in the construction industry. Moreover, the event featured projects by well-known architects such as Kengo Kuma for Il Casone, Campana Brothers for Cosentino and international super brands, such as Laufen and Hansgrohe.

Some 240 exhibitors from all over the world and 45 000 visitors from a diverse range of professional backgrounds – including architects, interior designers, retailers and distributors, builders and international buyers – attended the event. An impressive 60 countries exhibited their latest ranges.

Design genius
The expo hosted top names in the international and Brazilian design fraternity.

Irmäos Campana

During the first two days of the event, the expo hosted great names in Brazilian art and design. Well-known designers Fernando and Humberto Campana launched a concept kitchen that was the winner of a prestigious British accolade, “Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Award”, in the material innovation category. The modular system simulated the idea of a Swiss army knife turned into multifunctional furniture that makes the kitchen a more versatile space.

Romero Britto

Artist Romero Britto launched an exclusive line of ceramic tiles at the expo. This forward-thinking artist and international trendsetter is widely lauded for his use of vibrant colours and strong prints. Britto said the initiative has allowed his art to be propagated to people’s homes. “This work has given me the opportunity to democratise my art, causing it to reach an increasing number of people,” he concluded.

Kengo Kuma

One of the most intriguing spaces was Il Casone, a leader in the industry of extraction and processing of pietra forte fiorentina. The ceramics house collaborated with architectural guru, Kengo Kuma, to showcase a lyric landscape where natural and artificial elements co-exist in awe-inspiring scenery. Water modelled the space in curve and convex lines, drawing liquid shapes that transformed the surfaces from matt to gloss.

Key words

  • Creating illusion.
  • Sinuous lines.
  • Matrix, diamond and prism shapes.
  • Three-dimensional surfaces.
  • Tactile: high-gloss versus porous matte surfaces.
  • Mimicry and faux applications.
  • Patchwork mosaics.

A new approach
Top technology: dry preparation
There are two well-known approaches to ceramic body preparation: the wet and dry process. Recently, the latter has been attracting a lot of attention among tile producers. Following technological progress, dry body-prepared ceramic products are now on par with their wet body counterparts.

Compared to the wet process, dry grinding also brings a considerable reduction in production costs (mainly energy). It also gives the ceramic industry an eco-friendly alternative thanks to lower CO2 emissions and optimised water usage.

Top trend: Up the ante with eco tiles and cladding
It was exciting to see quite a few eco-minded exhibitors and wares on display at Revestir. But what is the international trend when it comes to green design? Whether it is walls, floors or roofs – and everything in-between – ceramics are donning an impressive green jacket.

Eco-minded design is probably the most noteworthy trend in modern design and construction. It has trickled down to the ceramics and building materials industries, as well as the corresponding machinery manufacturing industries. As such, there is a strong focus on innovation. Products and processes achieve greater environmental sustainability – in some cases this has already become full-scale company mandates.

According to international tile expert Paola Giacomini, this trend was also evident at the recent Cersaie and Technargilla trade fairs. “Most technological innovations presented at Technargilla were affectively green innovations designed to reduce consumption of energy, raw materials, water or other materials (kilns and dryers, innovative presses, milling plants, dry squaring lines and packaging machines are just a few examples), or to produce materials that in turn offer improved environmental performance.”

Giacomini says that innovative green materials attracted the most attention at Cersaie in terms of both the number of proposals and their technological properties. These included surfaces that were designed to minimise environmental impact over their entire lifecycle, to improve living comfort, and tiles with self-cleaning, antibacterial, anti-pollutant, photocatalytic and photovoltaic properties. More than mere lip service, this is a true indication that the tile and ceramics industries are trying to strike a balance between aesthetics, functionality and eco-friendly technology.

Update: the Brazilian construction industry
Economist Delfim Netto, who delivered the lecture “Building materials, consumption and credit: How far do we go?”, emphasised that Brazil is able to close the year with a 3,5% to 4% growth rate, and the civil construction industry should close 2013 above this figure. “We need to connect the power of government with the private sector to maintain this level, so this growth can become more solid in the coming years. In fact, we should build the basis to once again reach bigger goals, such as 5-6% a year,” Netto said.

Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to www.designboom.com  and Ceramic World November/December 2012 for providing the information to write this article.

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