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  • James Treble

Porcelain In The Kitchen


After taking over 5,000 photographs at the International Design Fair in Milan, it's taken me a week or so, to finally chose which ones best show the highlights, and I've started using these at my workshops and presentations. Out of the mountain of information I've gathered, I'm going to share with you now, some of the trend directions that jumped out at me during Eurocucina [International Kitchen Show in Milano] so you too can enjoy the experience and stay up to date, with what's new.

James at FLORIM stand - Salone del Mobile, Milano

Bench-tops are one of those details that can make a new kitchen perform; like a great pair of shoes, these need to look good BUT more importantly perform well under any kind of use and conditions. Having worked in this industry for many years, I've seen all kinds of materials used for bench-tops. Man-made stone is still considered the top choice, and wood is making a come back, but one material that is becoming more and more popular is porcelain tiles.

If you've not considered it, it's worth remembering that the density of porcelain makes it a very strong material, plus it's also non-porous and 100% hygienic, the perfect material for a hard wearing surface. Porcelain is also available in a huge range of finishes from very convincing natural stones and marbles, to beautiful concrete look, with slight undulations and subtle texture just like the real thing. Furthermore, large format porcelain tiles come in very large sheets of up to 3200x1600mm and just like standard tiles, they can be mitred, allowing these to be used to build bench-tops of any thickness you wish, and even integrated sinks for a seamless look.

All photos from FLORIM - Click for a closer look

Large format tiles have become more and more popular in the Australian market, for both floors and walls, greatly reducing the need for joints and therefore grout lines; as these tiles come in larger formats than man-made stone, with all the benefits of porcelain, they are growing in popularity for bench-tops and splash-backs.

The laying of larger format tiles also works very well in adding a stone-slab like appearance, creating an elegant and continuous surface, which definitely helps make a statement. Not last, large sized tiles make the space feel larger. FLORIM offers large format tiles of different sizes, up to an impressive 1600x3200mm, perfect for floor to ceiling application, continuous looking splash-backs or inventive applications like table and bench tops.

Marble is featuring in kitchens like never before, with the dark and moody finishes, and contrasted with lighter veins, emerging as the leaders. Although the lighter stones such as Calacatta and the timeless Carrara are still present, it's the darker stones which were more prevalent being featured heavily on bench-tops and splash-backs.

A new look, which I saw emerging last year in Milan, as well as at the Tile Fair in Bologna, is the use of marble and stone, on the front of cabinetry teamed with reverse shark-nose edges and shadow-line cabinetry. Yes, the price is as strong as the kitchen is beautiful. And that's where, once again, the marble look-alike porcelain tile is a stand out. Porcelain is less expensive than natural stone and much thinner [an amazing 6mm thin]; so, whilst retaining strength, it's also lighter to mount and fit into the door frames, making it a perfect choice for cabinetry doors and drawer fronts.

All photos from FLORIM - Click for a closer look

I love natural stone for its character, uniqueness and natural good looks, and I love porcelain tiles because they're durable, hard wearing and, thanks to the latest technology, they can convincingly look like a large range of surfaces, at affordable prices. I've seen lots of marble look used in kitchens at the Milano International Fair, and I often had to observe very closely to discern if it was stone or porcelain. I find very exciting to see new finishes and trends being presented through porcelain products, which in turn open up new opportunities to achieve great design outcomes. An amazing product!

But what makes a kitchen perfect varies depending upon the family's needs, taste and of course budget. When designing a new kitchen with my clients, I take this into account and discuss where to best spend that hard earned budget, to achieve a great result. Do you want to know more about kitchen design?

Come to my next workshop on Kitchen Design & Styling, with a report on the latest trends directly from Milan Design Week [Eurocucina 2018]. The Melbourne ISCD workshop is on June 13 2018, and as places are limited I suggest to BOOK NOW by clicking HERE.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.

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