Image of surfaces

Paolo Schianchi,

raised floors, Iris Ceramica, ventilated façades, GranitiFiandre, Granitech,

When design is good, the ceramic product and its image coincide, as the design process is incorporated in the process of photography.

Image of surfaces Ceramic units have two sides, not only literally but figuratively: one created by the working of the surfaces, colour and grain; and the other depending on how they are represented in photographs. This article is a reflection on the second aspect, on how the design of a ceramic surface can be represented in a photograph.
A photograph may look like a simple product illustration, but in actual fact a considerable amount of talent for design and creativity goes into it, in that a sequence of photographs has to represent and convey the quality and hard work that goes into a “tile”. There is an ethical question behind all this, in that the real product and its image must coincide as closely as possible, not so much in terms of representation of the expressive quality of texture, colour and grain but the quality of the design behind them.
A photograph of a ceramic unit, just like any other object, must reveal the research, technical and aesthetic quality that goes into itin a single design process that starts with raw materials and ends with photographic representation of the finished product. One example is Iris Ceramica’s MA.DE project. The photographs of these units, which are texturised in warm colours, ideally represent the design underlying a refined decoration and the ability to create chiaroscuro effects characterising the space in which they are installed, in images which attract the observer's attention.
This all-round project uses promotional photographs of the product to represent the quality of the company’s production in lights and shadows, sensations and emotions.

All this may seem to be easier when working in interior decoration, but there are ceramic tile products with a form of expressiveness that emphasises their ability to blend in, such as Fiandre’s Resine series.
This new kind of surface has a glossy look and a shine that adds thickness to colours applied tone on tone, expressing the company’s technical creativity. This design is returned in images which reveal the dialogue between the macro-vision of the surfaces and the effect created by laying the tiles over a large surface. In this case photographic representation is used in a way consistent with the sobriety of the product, conveying to observers both the design of the unit and its ability to blend elegantly into its surroundings. In these two cases the photographic representation of a surface satisfies the observer’s unexpressed wish through consistent design, offering the observer a vision that goes beyond the product itself to encompass how the company works and how the unit performs in space.

And then there is a third way to be explored, when photography must reveal the expressive capacity of a highly technical ceramic system, as in the case of products serving the Granitech system. In this case presentation is didactic in nature, almost like an instruction manual. All the stages in preparation of the components are photographed step by step as if in a report, up to the laying of the tiles. Ceramics are interpreted as pure technique and the photographs express their identity in the construction, like experts discussing things with other experts in the field, in a narrative that intentionally leaves out all forms of decoration to underline the full expressive potential of pure technology. In this way it is left up to the observer to creatively put back together the aesthetic design of the laying scheme in the executive design.
These examples demonstrate that in good design it is important to understand that the two faces of surfaces, the real one and the one created by the photograph, work together when well-planned to provide designers with as much input as possible, going beyond their stylistic orientation: glamour, camouflage or hi-tech.

by Paolo Schianchi


MA.DE di Iris Ceramica
Dodici sensuali finiture che, al tatto come allo sguardo, diventano morbide stuoie in fibra di cocco, texture incise a punta di diamante, metallo satinato o lastre monocromatiche in motivi damier. Tre formati piu un listello, da comporre in virtu della loro modularita, squadrati per un effetto di posa continuo a pavimento e a parete.

Resine di GranitiFiandre
Una superficie inedita caratterizzata da un effetto lucente, finiture brillanti attraverso cui le calde cromie acquistano spessore e forza.

Pavimenti Sopraelevati e Pareti Ventilate per l'edilizia e l'architettura - Granitech
Realizzazione e progettazione di pavimenti sopraelevati e pareti ventilate. Sistemi di pavimentazione e rivestimento dedicati all'architettura contemporanea.

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