Less is more. But, bigger is better. While Mies van der Rohe’s old adage about purity in design remains as true as ever, Italy’s pioneering ceramics industry lends the phrase a refreshing twist: In the world of tile, a new degree of streamlined sophistication is possible thanks to expansive new formats that push the aesthetic and technological envelope.
Represented by the Ceramics of Italy banner, the country’s manufacturers are global leaders in style and innovation. Thanks to groundbreaking fabrication methods, large-format porcelain tiles now regularly come in sizes of up to 160 by 320 centimetres and thicknesses ranging from only 3.5mm. It makes for a seamless look — not to mention cleaner, more sanitary spaces that minimize gaps and grout to make the most of porcelain’s inherently hygienic and anti-bacterial qualities. These eight stand-out ceramics are a testament to Italy’s elegant innovation:
Inspired by natural limestone and imbued with an eye-catching touch of industrial concrete, Ariana Ceramica’s Anima collection is available in four minimalist tones: Grigio, Fumo, Beige and Fango. Formats of up to 120 by 278 centimetres (with a thickness of only 6 millimetres) offer a luxuriously seamless appearance, with Anima’s versatility allowing the floor and wall tiles to be used in commercial contexts and public spaces as well as throughout the entire home — from the bathroom to the kitchen.
Smooth surfaces with a subtle sense of texture. Inspired by the flowing lines of hand-troweled resin, Atlas Concorde‘s Prism Collection evokes a rich “new deco” look while retaining a striking monochromatic simplicity. The 13 hues were selected by Piero Lissoni, with the acclaimed designer and colour consultant describing the tones akin to the “effect of light through a prism.” While the collection is produced in a wide range of sizes, the largest 120-by-278-centimetre format is a standout. The slender 6-millimetre tiles elevate floors and walls with a sleek yet textured presence.
The marble look is de rigueur in ceramics, but Cerdomus‘ Sybil collection takes the aesthetic up a notch. Natural stone-inspired finishes are paired with generous formats of up to 120-by-120 centimetres to foster a refined smoothness. While the individual slabs aren’t quite as expansive as the largest formats now on the market, Cerdomus’ expert bookmatching allows four 60-by-120-centimetre to be paired into one seamless element, with marble veining extending across a stunning span of 240 by 480 centimetres. Available in five colourways: Beige, Black, Ivory, Silver and Light Grey.
An innovator in ceramic technology, Cotto d’Este has consistently pioneered some of the thinnest and most durable porcelain stoneware in the world — ranging from luxe residential interiors to the tiles that clad Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale in Milan. With the Wonderwall series, formats of up to 100 by 300 centimetres expand the possibilities further with a floor-to-ceiling presence. Reinforced by fiberglass, the durable slabs — made with Cotto d’Este’s unique Kerlite laminated surfacing — measure a remarkably slim 3.5 millimetres in thickness. This year, the line also expands with a collection of new colourways.
160 by 320 centimetres. While the sheer dimension of Finibec‘s Over collection make the series a standout in its own right it, the striking patterns and tones are every bit as impressive. Manufactured using Finibec’s Continua + technology, the series (also offered in a range of smaller formats) is available in an array of marble and metallic motifs with natural, polished and matte surfaces. And at only 12 millimetres, it’s gracefully thin as well.
The sinuous, translucent lightness of alabaster is translated into tile. Bearing the mineral’s soft veining and subtle colour contrasts, the natural, unblemished presence of Florim‘s Rêves de Rex ceramics is amplified by “Magnum Oversize” formats of up to 160 by 320 centimetres. Only six millimetres thick, the distinctive large-format porcelain stoneware slabs are offered in a quartet of understated shades: Rêve Perle, Rêve Noisette, Rêve Bleu and Rêve Choco. It’s a collection worthy of its dreamy name.
An elegant base of cement and natural stone is accented by subtle pops of colour and pattern, making for a discreet — yet declarative — style. Provided in a wide selection warm and cool shades that can be combined to eye-catching effect, the understated opulence of Ceramica Fondovalle‘s Keynote collection elevates floors and walls with a refreshingly dynamic presence. The tiles are plenty big, too (the largest formats measure 120 by 278 centimetres, with a thickness of only 6.5 millimetres).
A ceramic riff on a seminal wallpaper designed by Le Corbusier for the Swiss company Salubra, Gigacer‘s Pointillé collection takes advantage of the Italian company’s cutting-edge fabrication to translate the textured presence of Le Corbusier’s delicate, pointillist design — which itself drew on the architect’s own Polychromie Architecturale — into a unique porcelain wallcovering. Available in five colours and five formats (all with a thickness of six millimetres), slabs measuring 120 by 250 centimetres replicate even the size of wallpaper for a seamless floor-to-ceiling design.
As the extra-large tile’s pioneered in Italy continue to grow in popularity around the world, fabricators and installers are increasingly comfortable working with a material in high demand by designers. To facilitate an easier process, Ceramics of Italy has also published an informative video featuring a step-by-step example of large-format tile installation:
While handling and installing large-format tiles requires experience and skill, the thinness of modern slabs means they can be easily cut, machined and drilled to create custom solutions — and even installed on top of existing surfaces in renovation projects.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Ceramics of Italy with support from the Italian Trade Agency and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about the health and safety benefits of ceramic is available here.
Technological innovation meets trademark style as Italy’s manufacturers pioneer new large-format ceramics.