The reasons provided by companies are always the same: ceramic parquets are eco because they require less wood; they cost less; they never wear or tear. While this may be true, it’s hard to offload the feeling that, in design, when something ‘looks’ like something else but isn’t, there is something wrong somewhere.

Yet Diego Grandi’s latest collection for Lea Ceramiche is a mind-changer. The philosophy is simple: if you really want to make ceramics look like wood, then stop just mimicking and go beyond – use the potentials of ceramics to the full and beat wood at its own game.

This is why Type-32 is so appealing. The collection consists in a series of slim laminated stoneware tiles that feature on their surface a digitally printed wood pattern. But Grandi has added an extra décor on top: a series of graphic marks that can be positioned in any direction. The final effect is that of a de-structured carpet or of a walk-on puzzle.

The so-called ‘cheating’ – the ceramic looking like wood – is brought into second place in the aesthetic experience: the attention of the viewer is focused on the herringbone décor, which conjures up pleasant retro images of Parisian homes but also some recent home styling solutions (like Paola Navone’s) in which floors serve as canvas, with hand-drawn rugs.

Type-32 is also an innovative series from a technical perspective, starting from its size: a long slab (20 x 200cm) of 5mm consisting of two layers. The first one is ‘rougher’ and it functions as a digitally printed screen, reproducing a wood pattern.

The second one is put on top and it has a 3D dec-oration: the repetition of a series of oblique lines that make up a zigzag effect that recalls herringbone floors. The fact that the décor is an ‘add-on’ makes it possible to achieve a virtually limitless number of combinations. 

 

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