Pretty, prac­ti­cal porce­lain grow­ing pop­u­lar

Va­ri­ety of colours and pat­terns of­fer a rich de­sign

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

The past decade has seen many beau­ti­ful ad­di­tions to floor­ing prod­ucts. The tra­di­tional quar­ried stones — gran­ite, mar­ble and slate have been made more af­ford­able by man­u­fac­tur­ing stone ve­neers. You have the look and feel with­out the weight.

This tran­si­tion to ve­neer is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity as the man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses be­come more skilled, com­bin­ing man-made and stone strata. Imag­i­na­tive ap­pli­ca­tions in colour and pat­tern of­fer us a rich de­sign pal­ette with which to work.

Porce­lain tiles are also cap­tur­ing the mar­ket. It’s a man-made prod­uct, a hard, white, translu­cent ma­te­rial that is fired at low tem­per­a­ture and then glazed at high tem­per­a­ture.

The most com­mon us­ages for porce­lain have al­ways been house­hold fine china and artis­tic ob­jects such as fig­urines, pitch­ers and bowls.

Porce­lain orig­i­nated in China. By the Han Dy­nasty pe­riod (196 to 220 A.D.) glazed ce­ramic ware de­vel­oped into porce­lain. Over the cen­turies, trade brought it to Europe where such fa­mous man­u­fac­tur­ers as Royal Copen­hagen in Den­mark, Faience in France, and Ayns­ley, Royal Crown Derby, Wedgewood and Spode in Great Bri­tain cre­ated fine porce­lain wares that are still the bench­mark of qual­ity table­ware.

But who would imag­ine that such a re­fined and el­e­gant prod­uct would be­come a build­ing ma­te­rial? Walk­ing on the china ser­vice does seem lu­di­crous.

How­ever, not to be con­fused with ce­ramic, porce­lain is im­per­vi­ous to wa­ter ab­sorp­tion and stain re­sis­tant. Due to these prac­ti­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, a porce­lain floor makes sense.

Porce­lain floor tiles hold up in high traf­fic ar­eas and to changes in tem­per­a­ture, and it’s more ver­sa­tile and durable than ce­ramic tile. Porce­lain is man-made, not quar­ried, which brings the cost down.

Erth­cov­er­ings is a com­pany that sells stone and porce­lain tiles. Their Me­mento se­ries shown here is a col­lab­o­ra­tive de­sign be­tween world-renowned nat­u­ral stone ar­ti­san Gio­vanni Bar­bieri and Italy’s most re­spected porce­lain com­pany Ceramica Val­lelunga.

Me­mento is a line of beau­ti­fully crafted porce­lain tiles made in the tra­di­tion of time-worn nat­u­ral stone.

The face of each tile fea­tures nat­u­ral veins that mimic real stone. The sur­face of each tile is then “time-worn” to cre­ate an ir­reg­u­lar sur­face fin­ish that emu­lates the wear and tear found in cen­turies-old stone floors.

Me­mento’s floor tile has a lux­u­ri­ous pearles­cent ap­pear­ance that be­lies its hard-wear­ing qual­i­ties. The style is as com­pat­i­ble in a con­tem­po­rary loft as it would be in a tra­di­tional home filled with wood and whimsy. The style comes in floor tiles as well as mo­saics, so you can cre­ate pat­terns with borders or other de­signs within the body of the floor.

The wave wall pan­els are called Am­bra, and ex­hibit a strik­ing un­du­lat­ing pat­tern that can be nat­u­ral or ac­cented with coloured ribs. It makes a tac­tile fo­cal point in any room, dra­matic and mod­ern, suited to decor that show­cases hand-hewn wood pieces, rus­tic fabrics and con­tem­po­rary art.

Even newer to the mar­ket are huge four-by-eight-foot porce­lain pan­els that we will be see­ing on floors as well as kitchen coun­ter­tops and whole new worlds of back­splash and bath­room wall in­stal­la­tions.

His­toric ex­am­ples of rooms dec­o­rated en­tirely in porce­lain tiles can be found in sev­eral Euro­pean palaces, in­clud­ing the Royal Palace of Madrid and The Porce­lain Tower of Nan­jing.

And not just for in­te­rior in­stal­la­tion, high-qual­ity porce­lain tiles and pan­els are suit­able for ex­te­rior cladding as well. Why not con­sider the porce­lain touch for the out­side walls and pa­tio floor of your home to cre­ate the am­bi­ence of a Euro­pean villa.

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Porce­lain wall pan­els, known as Am­bra, make a dra­matic fea­ture that is as tac­tile as plas­ter and as durable as stone.

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