At the end of the twentieth century there was a tendency in large cities like London, Berlin and New York, but also Milan, to convert disused factories and industrial spaces into lofts, residences and offices: the industrial style was born.
Still in vogue today, the industrial style has a taste for the unfinished and raw appearance of materials and an interest in restructured buildings. The preferred elements of the industrial style are aged wood, exposed brick and, above all, cement.
With cement-look stoneware coverings it is possible to strip modern residences and venues back to level zero – without decoration or superfluous elements and the need for onerous restoration work. Any environment, including homes, dining venues, hotels, offices and showrooms can be transformed.
132-136 Houston Street, New York
This project by SWA Architecture consists of an eight-storey building in Lower Manhattan. Made with 120×240 cm cement-effect slabs from the Matrice finishing collection, the ventilated rainscreen facade not only maintains the building’s energy performance but also perfectly integrates it with Manhattan – that constantly transforming island that is always in step with the most innovative trends.
132-136 Houston Street, New York
The interior spaces are minimal, and the cement-effect lends modernity and character to the rooms. In the common areas of the building, cement-effect slabs are placed side by side with marbled pieces, offering a textured light to the environment. In private areas, the cement-effect is combined with a stoneware wood-effect floor to give the rooms warmth. In this case, 20×80 cm Forma slabs were used, reproducing the print of the wood.
The project was the residential category winner of the “Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition Award 2019”, for the innovative use of stoneware slabs in an architecture and design project in North America.
Space EDIT, Torino
This project is by La Matilde, an architecture and design studio which stands out because of its ability to create spaces that represent the brand and are full of meaning. EDIT (EAT DRINK INNOVATE TOGETHER) is an innovative format that offers six different reference points in the space of 2400 square metres, the emblem of industrial style. The red brick walls, the cement beams and pillars, the ducts of the exposed systems and the vegetal elements that descend from the ceiling create a post-industrial atmosphere.
The cement-effect is also taken up by stoneware slabs from the Matrice collection in both furnishings and dividing walls. The latter are an essential element of the space, plainly visible in different areas but never separated from each other. The panels are transparent in the upper part and are stoneware in the lower part. They are framed with dark fixtures that are typical of the industrial style. The slabs of stoneware used have graphic patterns that recall weaving, a trace of human work, producing a light and defined surface.
The slabs are structured formats with a Traccia finish, in sizes ranging from 80×80 cm squares to 40×180 or 80×180 rectangular pieces.
Hotel Ambassador, Levico (TN)
For this hotel in Trentino, interior designer Alberto Buffolino chose to use stoneware coverings. He used the cement textures of the Matières de Rex Gris colour collection alongside the wood-effect stoneware from the Planches de Rex Noisette colour collection, creating a warm, highly evocative and classy environment.
The two textures are used autonomously, defining different environments but with the same element. The contrast produced has the power to highlight and embellish the area it affects. We find the textures on the counters, where they play on the different levels, in the coffered floor of the dining room and in the bathrooms, where cement-effect stoneware covering is framed by a wooden handrail and contrasts with the wood-effect sink tops.
In conclusion, cement-effect porcelain stoneware strips the environment of the superfluous, giving back to the spaces the very essence of materiality; a roughness that returns to simplicity but with touches of design that also embeds it in the contemporary world.