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Lea Ceramiche: Modern Italian Style

Collaboration with Lenny Kravitz among the company’s tile offerings

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Lea Ceramiche: Modern Italian Style

Kensington, shown here in Mauve, recalls colorful London interiors.

Photo courtesy of Lea Ceramiche

Lea Ceramiche is a company where modern design ideas respect the methods and motifs of eras gone by and together come up with something new. The Italian tile designer and manufacturer explores new aesthetic and technological ideas with enthusiasm and its products reflect that dedication, treating the design of tile as the art form it is.

Modern Methods

Here, you witness a very contemporary agenda for a workplace and product that are kind to the environment in play with creativity in both design and technology. The Kensington collection, for example, is an addition to the company’s offering of wall tiles and puts a modern touch on the delicate interiors of London residences; while Slimtech RE-evolution offers something much more contemporary. The laminated stoneware is just 3mm thick and available in large formats for a striking presentation. The product is the result of a combination of enamels, colored glass and clays that are fired in kilns at temperatures of 1200 degrees. The final product is a supremely thin and durable, completely linear surface.

Then there’s Emperor, a collection with more of a classic style. This is the first collection made entirely in the USA by Lea Ceramiche. Here’s where the advancement of digital technology has had a big effect on the company. Lea uses its Full HD advanced digital decoration to recreate the richness and complexity of more classic stones. The technology combines with a clever use of glazes and results in “natural” patterning so realistic, even the delicate veining caused by time and the elements seems evident.

And if that’s not the type of technology you’re in search of, how about antibacterial protection? For its Salento collection, Lea Ceramiche employs Microban technology to ensure the tile maintains antibacterial protection 24 hours a day, even in the absence of light. The active component is applied in powder form on the surface of the product before firing and does not lose its potency over time. Visually speaking, Salento aims to mirror stones of the South with its neutral tones and golden highlights.

Kravitz Collaboration

With Kravitz Design Inc., Lenny Kravitz has morphed from a respected contributor to the world of music to a respected contributor to the world of design.

For his collaboration with Lea Ceramiche, Kravitz, who serves as president of the eponymous company, says he “wanted to create a design element that provides texture and movement to the living environment.”

The resultant Goccia, a collection intended for wall installation, introduces three-dimensional textures with either a glazed and glossy or matte finish. The tiles enlist the concave and convex shapes of the tile’s surface to alter the viewer’s experience depending on angle, light and shadow, time of day. These are installations that can change before one’s eyes and play tricks with your perspective.

If you’re not yet familiar with the work Kravitz has tackled outside the music industry, take a look at what his SoHo, N.Y.-based firm has achieved in under a decade: in 2005 and 2006, Swarovski commissioned Kravitz Design to create two chandeliers for its Crystal Palace Collection; the group designed the luxury recording studio at The Setai Resort & Residences in Miami Beach; and it collaborated with Flavor Paper for Topicalismo, a collection of hand-screened wallpapers. And that's just the beginning.

The Greening of Lea Ceramiche

Among its sustainable achievements, Lea Ceramiche’s commitment to the environment has led to the company reducing the amount of gas it releases into the atmosphere during production to an amount 10 times less than limits set by Italian law, a 60% reduction in the amount of water used by the factories thanks to avid recycling of the water used in the production cycle, and a reduction in the amount of natural gas used for preparing the ceramics courtesy of recovered waste heat released from its kilns.

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