How a surfacing company stays at the forefront of its sector

Modena, Italy – In the early 2000s, when Italian surfacing company Laminam was born, its products – large, ultra-thin ceramic slabs – were totally new offerings on the market. That spirit of innovation has remained with the brand over nearly two decades: Laminam continues to take an artistic approach to research and develop new technologies to retain the ‘trailblazer’ label in its sector.

Its latest technology In-Side exemplifies that commitment to looking forward. We talk to Laminam’s research and design director Claudio Corniola about why designing In-Side was unique, sustainability and how the needs of clients have changed over the years.

Tell me about how your team sources material and gets inspired for new collections. How does the research and selection process work?

CLAUDIO CORNIOLA: Preliminary research is an essential step, paving the way for the conceptual design stage of new series. Our consolidated market presence affords us in-depth knowledge of the sector, which we also develop by participating in international trade fairs, exhibitions and events, including those of an artistic nature.

Before actually starting the designing of a new series, our team’s singular focus is on collecting materials and ideas. Inspiration is drawn from natural elements or salvaged antique objects and materials, but other things too, like digressions into other sectors such as fashion and design. We always focus our attention on capturing shifts in society in order to create contemporary, innovative projects.

What makes IN-SIDE unique? Were there challenges in the design process?

The new IN-SIDE technology focuses on the blending raw materials of variable grain size, allowing us to produce ceramic slabs with body and surface continuity. It stems from our desire to reproduce the textural quality typical of Italian natural stone on large sized slabs, reclaiming materials like the Piasentina, Porfido and Cordoso stones all used in architecture since ancient times.  The biggest challenge was to create slabs that possess the same profound spirit as the natural materials that inspired them, trying not to distort the historical origins of the stones.

It’s more important than ever to think about sustainability and longevity of product in design. Were these considerations part of the conversation for this collection?

Reproducing the all-round appearance of real stone and materials found in nature has the advantage of not damaging environmental resources: The sustainability of the manufacturing system and the durability of the product are characteristics of the utmost importance for Laminam. The specifications of the ceramic slabs, with excellent resistance to external stresses such as scratches, impact, chemical products, humidity, heat and UV rays, go hand-in-hand with their intrinsically hygienic quality and ease of cleaning. Slabs are composed strictly of natural raw materials that are carefully selected and processed using efficient, sustainable, eco-friendly technologies, within a highly automated production process.

The avant-garde technologies we use are constantly evolving, include sophisticated decoration systems which deliver high-definition surfaces that are perfectly hygienic and suitable for contact with food, dry cutting technologies that reduce water consumption and treatment costs, low energy consumption kilns and double-channel kilns with gradual temperature increase that optimise energy consumption.

How have client needs changed over the years, and how do you ensure that you stay at the forefront of your sector?

Today, there is greater attention to product aesthetics and more thought is given to details. Ceramic slabs are seen as genuine design products and clients expect them to deliver excellent technical as well as aesthetic performance. The product must therefore satisfy market demands in terms of durability and versatility of use, while also connecting with the end-client on an emotional level. It was with this spirit that we designed and launched IN-SIDE.

I believe there is only one way to remain at the forefront of this sector, and that is to have a burning passion for this job together with in-depth knowledge of the production processes, while constantly seeking a new direction for a fresh perspective.

Read more about the slab surfaces developed with Laminam's IN-SIDE technology here.

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