DREAMING IN PORCELAIN: TRANSFORMING IMAGINATION INTO REALITY WITH PORCELAIN TILES

- 30.05.19

Porcelain tiles have taken the architectural world by storm over the past decade, and the pace is quickening. Statistics report predicted growth of 9% between 2018-2022.

This is partly to do with its attractive cost benefits. As architect Junya Ishigami wisely observes, “architecture from someone’s imagination is not enough.” Enduring design must be cemented in practicality, logic, and good sense. Porcelain – which is cheaper, more durable, and easier to install than its alternatives – celebrates these characteristics as part of its growing popularity.

Yet according to Technivaro research, the real fuel driving the meteoric rise of porcelain tiles is not the practical benefits. The momentum is driven by the vast scope that the material offers for turning dreams into reality.

Pushing Boundaries

The porcelain market is characterised by design innovation at both a material and aesthetic level. Advances in dry casting and tape casting technologies have meant that tiles have become increasingly slender. Wafer-thin thicknesses of 3 mm have expanded the architectural scope of porcelain, meaning that it can be used for almost any application.

Designers, armed with rapidly accelerating 3D printing capabilities, have taken note. As such, the dreams that became reality in 2018 began with coloured tiles, and ended with a dazzling display of geometric avant garde.

To see this in action, look no further than the Notting Hill townhouse by designer Suzy Hoodles. This project characterises the power of porcelain to cater to the intricacies of contemporary taste. In this open-plan bedroom-bathroom, the lightweight porcelain tile is equally suitable for floor and wall covering, whilst the wood-effect and geometric juxtaposition creates distinct atmospheres in different parts of the home.

According to Kaisa Maciejowska, the result is “a lesson in balance and harmonious contrasts.”

bathroom area in apartment

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/299559812708669940/

Unlocking Dreams

If there is one thing that characterises the current state of architecture, it is that it feels poised on the cusp of being able to fulfil ambitions previously hampered by cost. Clients want bold. They always have. But achieving this has typically meant turning a blind eye to budget. This is one of the reasons that seminal dreamers such as Will Alsop left behind a bursting portfolio of visions that were doomed to exist in the imagination alone.

Yet today, even the most outlandish ideas are within the grasp of possibility. Take the San Diego International Airport, for instance. The design brief was stunning in its boldness.

The request was for silence.

Creating silence is about more than a lack of noise. It is about constructing an atmosphere that invites a meditative hush. Nothing achieves this quite as well as stone, the ancient presence of which looms over the minutiae of human chaos.

Like so many public installations, the unrelenting demands of project limitations – which, in this case, involved the familiar litany of cost, lightning-paced speed, and durability – rendered stone an ungraspable dream for the architects.

The design teams opted instead for large format dark and light terrazzo granite porcelain tile. With the natural light of day, the space is both natural and neutral. At night, the high-gloss finish transforms into unlikely soporific comfort.

The result is unusually serene for the typology, a calm illustration of the power of porcelain to transform vision into reality.

artificial tree set in porcelain tile

Pinterest: artificial tree set in terrazzo porcelain tile with water jet-cut metalwork https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/261208847115455145/

airport with porcelain tiles and coloured lighting

Pinterest: San Diego Terminal 2 Concourse at night https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/292311832035947518/

airport corridor with tiles

Stoneworld magazine: https://www.stoneworld.com/articles/88703-a-quick-installation

Running Wild

Wet rooms have become serious statement pieces in high-end residential properties and hotels. Porcelain tiles give the imagination carte blanche when it comes to fulfilling vision. Here are a few examples, which do the talking for themselves.

walk in shower with plant wall

Waterfall wet room: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/298011700333583062/

wet room inside cave with waterfall

Cave wet room: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/AXAx21YGxFuEMnfcvUyTCeCJPCK6iWRPXYwKNx50lfoJ_JN-10XB8XA/

wet room with bright turquoise tiles

Bright wet room: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/241927811204861591/

patterned tiles in bathroom with metal bathtub

Patterned wet room: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/352266002095051372/

white tile wet room with barn windows

Rustic wet room: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/538813542903238481/

Closing Thoughts

Porcelain tiles have shown themselves to be the material of choice for architects and designers from every genre. Versatility, quality, and affordability combine to make transferring concept to reality much more plausible. To start realising your vision, visit the Kinorigo studio to see our latest range of porcelain tiles.