It is interesting to consider what is apparently the lesser-known of the two: the porcelain stoneware tile. Let us take a few examples of production and look at them in terms of materials. The Cotto High-tech collection by Porcelaingres with its typical terra cotta colour openly declares its origin, while at the same time adding to the material innovations in performance such as impermeability to acids, dirt and frost. The original material is the same as that of the other building components, but it is processed in a way which makes it invulnerable. Another example may be found in Ariostea’s Iridium collection, in which colour, unlike the collection we looked at above, seems to deny the material’s origins and emphasise its form, revealed through the design of tile units. In this case, pigments are added to the basic material components to create a solid coloured porcelain stoneware, meaning that the entire tile is the same colour throughout if cut and viewed in cross section, so that colour is not lost if the tiles are worn. This material marks a milestone in the history of porcelain stoneware in that it may be worked in three dimensions, as in the Touch series by Stonepeak. The tiles in this collection have etched surfaces that give them a rarefied look, almost as if they were dissolving. The eye perceives the material as soft, while the origin of the form, or the appearance of the material, retains the solidity of fired clay, feldspar, kaolin and sand.
These three examples of products underline the fact that working on the design of material may generate construction units with a new aesthetic for traditional raw materials.