The culture of design in all fields has now reappropriated its central role of serving the client, the setting, and the needs of society.
This is because the primary condition of design, to use a favourite expression of Charles Eames, is "recognising need".
For many years we have seen attempts to impose ephemeral products and objects, the products of creative whim and the desire to amaze, whose undoubted originality has however always been an end in itself, revealing its precariousness and temporary nature.
Today, a product created exclusively to attract attention, with no basic underlying value, lasts only as long as a click or a share before it is replaced by some other passing phenomenon.
But, as we all know, good design expresses its function through timeless beauty.
The aesthetic properties of spaces are now increasingly a question of the tactile and visual qualities of surfaces.
Without giving up their primary function as coverings, surfaces have become key elements in architectural design, entrusted with providing sensory pleasure, creating atmosphere, and determining the impact of light in spaces.
This combination of factors ensures that surfaces respond to the primary need of contemporary spaces to improve quality of life. In technical terms, of course, but also aesthetically: a consideration that is by no means less important.
Ceramic surfaces perform this key function with innovative solutions that have turned the sector around, expanding the possibilities available and stimulating creativity with new appeal.
Maxi-slabs, a multitude of different finishes, effects reproducing materials of all kinds, and the possibility of creating manufactures, installations, curved surfaces and even backlit surfaces.
These are the principal applications of the new generation of high-tech ceramics, as demonstrated, for example, by the vast Ultra Ariostea catalogue, in which coverings evolve into items of furniture in a perfectly natural way.
All these possibilities are offered by high-tech porcelain, a material offering superior performance and dependability in all contexts thanks to its resistance, easy cleaning, inalterability and non-absorbency.
In the mission statement of Ariostea, a top brand in the Iris Ceramica Group, in addition to "Italian creative genius and constant attention to the environment", we may find the intention of combining high-quality technology with the unique beauty of nature.
Materials manufactured in a way that makes them perfectly uniform throughout the entire thickness of the slab represent the primary elements of Nature (water, earth and fire) to create alternative materials of unrivalled beauty and superior performance. These slabs eliminate the defects of quarried stone, such as fissures, porosity, schistosity, alveoli, and variations in hue, while making the most of their wealth of colours and veining.
The Ultra Onici collection, a number of examples of which are presented here, ideally represents one of these aspects: the timeless look of a natural stone, highly evocative and visually stimulating. Traditionally used as a gemstone for its decorative component and transparency, onyx also makes an ideal surface covering, maintaining its expressive qualities and offering spaces a blend of harmony, warmth, comfort and satisfaction.
Ultra Ariostea offers a collection of 8 colours (Green and Grey Onyx Vein Cut, Bianco Extra, Grigio, Ivory, Persia, Pesca and a new variant Miele) underlined by delicate marbling.
Application of a 300x150 maxi-slab, with the lightness permitted by a thickness reduced to only 6 mm, "encroaches on the territory of design, guaranteeing a uniformity and flexibility of planning, even when applied to objects and furnishing accessories".
f Tables, countertops and cupboards are only a few of the possible customisations of maxi-slabs: the low thickness permitted by Ultra technology means beams of light can flow right through Onice Ultra slabs to create backlit materials.