Italia Ceramics is one of Adelaide’s leading tile and stone suppliers, and prides itself on the innovation and inspiration it brings to the market for interior designers, architects and consultants.
At the forefront of Italia Ceramics’ progress is Nino Matricciani (Italia Ceramics’ architecture and commercial manager), who has been responsible for forecasting trends and bringing them to our shores for more than 30 years.
Matricciani started as a storeman at Italia Ceramics when the business was first established in Adelaide and gradually worked his way to where he is today. Well established in the South Australian design industry, Matricciani is highly regarded as a source of global trend awareness.
Developing a keen eye for what is new and exciting internationally, he regularly travels to world trade fairs, such as Italy’s Bologna Tile Expo, to forecast the latest advances in technology and manufacturing in tiles, as well as gaining insights into design trends.
The sizes of tiles, and the colour and finish of materials, are some of the biggest changes Matricciani has noticed over his extensive career.
“When I first started there were only 150mm x 150mm tiles, with heavy patterns,” Matricciani says. “Then it moved into porcelain tiles, which is a different mineral, and new applications become possible. Now, the larger format is the most noticeable difference. We have tile slabs that are 3m x 1.5m which is huge.”
Technological developments have had a huge impact on the industry, including changes to the use of tiles in bedrooms and feature walls, as well as safety features like non–slip treatments and more eco–friendly options.
These changes allow designers to use tiles to replicate other materials such as timber or concrete. The three biggest markets Matricciani looks to when forecasting the most popular trends are Europe, America and Asia, but he insists that there is definitely a unique Adelaide taste when it comes to our choice in tiles.
“A few years ago the style was more monotone, less pattern. Now we are seeing a bolder, heavier style of pattern re–emerge.” Alongside this return of patterns are trends such as hexagonal mosaic tiles, outdoor timber tiles and the continued popularity of stone and concrete-look materials that the Italia Ceramics team have found are dominating online design sources such as Houzz, Pinterest and reality TV renovation shows. Matricciani is keen to see one of their newest products become more widely used – a 12mm thick tile slab that can be used as a kitchen or bathroom benchtop (without any supporting substrate due to its thickness), as well as a wall and floor tile.
Matricciani has noticed a definite change in the way both the public and developers are engaging with the buying process. It is more common for interior designers and architects to be used to help bring schemes together for clients, leading to a higher level of design across the board.
“There has been a definite change in the retail sales of tiles. Everything is designed these days, floor sales are considerably different then they were five years ago.” The ability to work across many different projects and the satisfaction of seeing completed jobs keeps Matricciani excited about his work.
“Italia Ceramics has always been known for having something a bit different. We like to show things that we think are going to work, even if it takes a little while for it to take off. Italia Ceramics has got a good balance between high–end material and more affordable lines.”
With more than 30 years’ experience in seeing what the retail, commercial and building industries are looking for, paired with the international insights offered by global manufacturers and designers, Matricciani is certainly one of the design industry’s key members in South Australia.