Bumblebees and Italian ceramics | by Andrea Serri
It is the bumblebee paradox, i.e. the belief that this insect, because of its shape, should be incapable of flight; yet it does fly with no problems at all. The Italian ceramic tile industry is leader in value on overseas markets, thanks to a combination of Italian exports and overseas production of local manufacturers controlled by Italian ceramic groups. This seems impossible if one is to think of the volumes Italian companies produce out of total world production. Yet it is so, if one considers 2016 €5.4 billion value deriving from overseas ceramic tile sale.
Italy boasts the highest international average price for its products. It has always been so because it is subject to the highest production costs, also considering peculiar types of solution; and it should be noted that the gap with the other competitors has constantly increased in the last few years. That is certainly non-negligible as mark-ups mirror the value introduced by innovation on new products, be them large slabs, products with relief decorations, or the most innovative digital printing solutions. And they also mirror the new trends in design, colour and beauty. Third added value: the wonderful ability to design spaces according to a deeply Italian intuition to enhance the value of materials through the spaces they inhabit. Not neglecting that the products are extremely sustainable, due to non-toxic raw materials and cutting edge production.
But added value isn’t created by means of Italian ceramic materials only. Distribution and designers also play a fundamental role in this. Distribution does so by setting up long-term partnerships with reliable and professional companies, where mere trade negotiation is replaced by cooperation, and there are win – win solutions. Designers and architects are constantly present to meet and satisfy the most sophisticated design projects and taste. So that creativity can find solutions in the extraordinary versatility of Italian ceramic products.