Tile International took part in the exclusive press preview held in Milan this summer, at the studio of the famous architect and interior designer Andrea Castrignano.
We took the opportunity to interview Stefano Storchi, Marketing Director of Cerdisa Ricchetti Group and the mind behind the changes blowing through the company, which are having a major impact on the positioning of the brands and the bold design choices they have made over the past two years.
Tile International: The real challenge is to predict future scenarios: how did you come to imagine the Group’s present?
S. Storchi: We inherited historic brands, backed by the strength of a ceramic culture that had built up layer by layer over the course of decades of intense production activity, and we asked ourselves how the product could make another major leap forward. The big investments in technology we have made in recent years are what enabled us first to imagine and then produce “our” ceramic of the future, which made its début at Cersaie 2022, when we unveiled the “Now” concept and the stand dedicated to it. It marked an important turning point, where our new dialectics came to life in a kind of design metaverse.
Tile International: Can we talk briefly about these technologies?
S. Storchi: The production process we call “Material Design” is not simple and requires the invaluable input of highly skilled craftspeople, but to simplify it as far as possible, I would say that “Touch to Digital – T2D” is a “glue and graniglia” technology that makes it possible to apply the glue transparently by means of digital printing and, first and foremost, to create effects with as much gloss as the glossy ink bar, but in a less intense and more refined way. It can be combined with a system for dropping dry graniglia onto the product immediately after digital printing, which, of course, only sticks where glue has been applied, as dictated by the digital file. This type of application gives the surface an endless range of three-dimensional effects, and can be centred or offset, to create macro-strokes or micro-patterns with elegant gloss-matt effects. What’s more, the technology enables you to create brushed, satin-effect and lapped surfaces: depending on the type of processing you choose, you can give the tile very different tactile and visual attributes, which bring sumptuous effects to the surfaces involved. The other technology that has revolutionised the appearance of our collections is the one we call “Gloss and Shine – G+S”, which has the ability to centre the ink-based graphics in relation to the gloss material, thus creating refined gloss and matt visual effects on the surface. This technology is designed to embellish the base material: the perfect fit between the ink-based graphics and the glue-based graphics, followed by the process of scattering with fine, latest-generation graniglia, gives the finished surface considerable depth.
Tile International: So with all that fire-power, the only limit is your imagination…
S. Storchi: Exactly! We wanted to free ceramic from the confines of merely replicating other architectural materials, mainly wood and natural stone. We wanted to go the extra mile and have a real impact on our customers with a material that still offers the excellent performance of porcelain tile but is also a powerful medium for narrative. We drew inspiration from nature in its broadest sense – from the elements – and we took the challenge to its furthest extreme… and that’s why, at Cersaie 2023, we’re presenting a river of crystal clear water, with the installation “SYN”.
In this context, we’ve deliberately used nothing but ceramic: the entire panorama is saturated with material, which becomes architecture and narrative itself. The collection that enabled us to achieve this ambitious goal is “Fluids,” which features graphic movements created by the winding pathways of inks applied seemingly at random, but in reality controlled by human ingenuity through the empirical use of artificial intelligence. The result is a showcase collection that recalls both the hypnotic fluidity of a liquid such as water, and the iconography and chromatic vividness of liquid crystals. So nature and technology form a perfect symbiosis, for a consummate creative synthesis and an aesthetic rooted more in science than in the craft of artisans. The result is so contemporarily artistic that it expresses itself in all its visual strength through large formats and an extremely bright and deep surface.