With 40 years of history and innovation behind it Ferrara, Italy-based Ceramica Sant’Agostino is careful to note it always is looking firmly toward the future. The company’s work began in 1964 when it decided to plant roots in Ferrara, an industrial district not previously known for ceramics or tile. Four decades later, that has certainly changed.
From the onset, Ceramica Sant’Agostino has believed its independence geographically has allowed for independence in design and technology as well. And respect for the environment always has played a role here, proving nothing need be sacrificed in the name of good design.
It’s all part of the company’s “constant search for expressive interpretations of ceramic material.”
Take for example, the company’s Wild and Aspen tile collections. Each is crafted of porcelain stoneware but takes on different elements of nature in their surface design, allowing designers and homeowners the opportunity to mimic the look of natural products that might be rare and endangered or simply not as durable as porcelain.
Wild takes its inspiration from the rich material quality of natural stones. Created using digital technology, the surface not only replicates the natural beauty of the veins of breccia and travertine stone but adds a slight texture to the surface as well, one that is soft to the touch and enhances the impression that one may be walking on natural stone.
Conversely, Aspen takes its inspiration from country wood, bringing the idea to life in a number of “stained” finishes. Here too, digital technology is employed to reproduce the complex veining patterns found throughout nature.
The environment certainly is on the minds of the tile industry overall. This is a category where being eco-friendly is not so much a new concept but one tile manufacturers now have a way to prove thanks to third-party certifiers who have worked to standardize the industry.
At Sant’Agostino, many product attributes qualify the tile for varying levels of green certification. The Wild product line alone, for example, can help take projects to varying levels of LEED certification, earning points for recycled content, regional materials, heat island effect (non-roof), optimized energy performance, low-emitting materials, and more.
Among the factors that help to push the company in this direction are the fact that 50% of Sant’Agostino’s raw materials are quarried in a 500 mile radius, they use a minimum of 20% pre-consumer recycled materials, and finished products do not emit any volatile organic compounds.
The company has implemented its own green plan of action called Ecoquality to coordinate all the work it puts into creating products that comply with the most rigid European and international standards. These standards are in place to protect the environment as well as people and, as such, are taken very seriously here. Ecoquality includes strict quality checks of raw materials and finished products using safe and effective purification techniques, as well as the optimization of consumption in production processes to recover waste material and the creation of fully compensated CO2 emissions products.
Efficiency at Every Level
Beyond the design of its products, Ceramica Sant’Agostino also has been at work creating manufacturing and storage facilities that are the utmost in efficiency, another way to add benefit to the surrounding environment, as well as to those who order products to be delivered from the company’s warehouse.
Ceramica Sant’Agostino has said that “being a cutting-edge company means taking on an obligatory and active role and responsibility in building a better future.”
One of the ways in which it has carried out this mantra is by becoming the first Italian ceramics company to produce an Automatic Vertical Stacking System that can hold and manage more than 25,000 pallets of product. The design has been studied as a way to optimize storage spaces, simplify storage management, fully automate the dispatch of orders and improve the entire logistics of products entering and exiting the warehouse.