Joe Simpson reports from South America’s top tile event.
Expo Revestir 2019, which took place from 12th to 15th March in Sao Paulo, Brazil, offered the usual mix of warmth, welcome, and inspirational wow!
The venue, the TransAmerica Expo, has seen significant investment since last year, and this has really boosted the atmosphere. The central courtyard that leads to the entrances to this U-shaped venue has been transformed from a drab car park into a garden, open air seating area, and small food court where exhibition visitors can enjoy the usually reliable Brazilian weather.
In another new feature, this year Revestir, in partnership with Marton Estúdio, created eight custom environments in the Foyer between halls D and E that spelt out the letters of REVESTIR. Each of the letters drew inspiration from movements of Art History, and the products of the exhibitors Roca, Docol, Portinari, Portobello, Quartzolit, Deca, Duratex and Anfacer. Portinari’s new Joy MZ range, for instance, represented the letter V.
Another innovation was a psychedelic, multi-coloured, wall near one of the main entrances. This provided visitors with the ideal opportunity to take group shots or individual selfies and, of course, also helped promote the event as these were shared across social media. And Revestir’s audience certainly took full advantage, happily posing in front of the mural in a steady steam throughout all four days.
Revestir kicked off with an official opening ceremony attended by the Governor of the State of São Paulo, João Doria; the Chairman of Anfacer, José Nilson Crispim Junior; the president of Expo Anfacer, Antonio Carlos Kieling; and the recently appointed director general of Anfacer, Maurício Borges; among other dignitaries.
Anfacer stressed international reach this year, inviting buyers from Argentina, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.
Revestir also featured a packed lecture programme that began with The Leaders of Retail and Construction Materials Forum. Here economist Ricardo Amorim spoke about the current economic situation in Brazil, offering some quiet optimism for the years ahead. Day one also saw the first in a series of Content talks that ran throughout the event; a chat with architects Fernando Forte, Augusto Custódio, Nilton Lima, Cris Campos, and Maurício Arruda.
Revestir is always a bustling affair, and the crowds, normally in excess of 40,000, seemed particularly high this year. This meant, that by mid-afternoon, the premier stands were absolutely packed; but the atmosphere was, as ever, relaxed and friendly.
Regarding tile trends, Revestir did what it does best: eye-catching 3D tiles, moulded concrete, cobogos and other perforated screens; bold, brilliant colours; exquisite displays of exotic natural stones; and some very impressive commercial large format ranges from the top manufacturers that played to the established global trends: white marble, concrete, light stone-effects, and hydraulic floor decors. A standout feature, but possibly not one for volume sales – was a plethora of inventive new wood-effect ranges featuring combined decking/parquet decors.
But if one word summed up the essence of this year’s show, most evident on the Portinari and Portobello stands, it would have to be ‘curation’. Here the aim is not only to display the latest ranges, but also to explain their design evolution and, most specifically, to show how they combine with other ranges and also link to wider interior trends. This was quite brilliantly achieved by Portinari, but there were good examples in the Portobello, Lepri, Roca, Pamesa, Atlas, Solarium and Elizabeth stands, amongst others.
There were some notable first-time exhibitors this year, of which Modu – one of a number of cast-cement companies at the show – really stood out.
When it came to this year’s main trends, two words - design and decoration – pretty much sum it up. Alongside this, the leading Brazilian brands are also using top designers and architects to create new ranges; and this was also much in evidence.
3D, coloured, decorated, and smaller tiles all sat alongside XXL format porcelain tiles, with 250 by 1,000mm and 500 by 1,000mm very popular, as well as even larger pieces, which are generally still made outside of Brazil by third-party international specialists, although current investment by a few of the top brands will see this change. At Revestir, these large formats were particularly used to facilitate floors with visual unity, and massive feature walls: which is pretty much why they have been so readily accepted in the commercial contract sector.
One of the great set pieces at recent edition of Revestir has been Ceramics of Brazil’s Best in Show Award, which shines the spotlight on high value-added Brazilian-made products. This year the panel of judges selected nine products in nine categories. In the six tile and mosaic categories the winners were:
Another recurring theme was sustainability, something really brought home by stands such Palimanan, with its rainforest aesthetic. This made the launch of the Anfacer + Sustentável Initiative seem like excellent timing. It reflects the growing demand of the green building market, and aims to boost the export sales of Brazilian manufacturers. The initiative has two main strands: Life Cycle Analysis and Inventory of Emissions.
As ever, one of the most impressive displays at Revestir belonged to Portobello. Here the theme was 'In Your Dreams. In Your Home'. The standout new offering was Pure: a collection co-created with Cecilie Manz, the Danish designer who was selected as Maison & Objet’s design professional of the year for 2018.
Pure has the look of artisanal hand-made ceramics, yet is created using high-tech manufacturing on an industrial scale. Manz defines it as: "A composition with the minimum: just enough. Subtle, flexible microscopic textures, architectural and organised height differences."
Pure’s textures, surfaces, colours, and compositions are the raw material for environments that are both sophisticated and simple. And, it has to be said, the Pure range was beautifully curated and displayed by Portobello.
Another new Portobello range, Barcelona, was born out of Mies van der Rohe’s ‘less is more” precept. Daring, sophisticated, and innovative, the range has a minimalist austerity, fusing materials such as limestone, cement, and basalt to create striking surfaces. Featuring the veins of natural stones, and cement textures with aggregates, in a subtle chromatic balance and some really tactile surface options, Barcelona typifies the new generation of fusion materials. It also runs somewhat contrary to the ‘maximalism’ that currently seems to be taking hold in the tile world.
Another new range, Belgique delivers the look of the beautiful Blue limestone typical of Belgium; but in porcelain. In nature, it carries small fossils that stand out on its dark and bluish surface. It is available in three tones: the darker bluish grey; Avalon, a lighter grey; and Clair, an elegant off-white.
Natural inspiration, in tune with the sustainability vibe, was everywhere at Revestir. Portobello’s offer ion this area was one of the best. Paysage Nature uses exquisite digital printing and contemporary pigments to achieve a diverse selection of botanical decors. These feature the blue of sky and sea, and the green of gardens and forests, to reinforce the idea, and ideal, of nature.
Portobello’s 2019 collection also features PB Colors, a functional system that combines neutral and trendy colour charts; for combinations such as neutral with neutral, neutral with trendy, or trendy with trendy. This design versatility, was carried across three new ranges created specifically for PB Colors: Jackie, Paris, and Le Cementine. Paris is a metro-effect based on the rectangular tiles that cover the tunnels of the London and Paris undergrounds. Jackie, inspired by the fashion, art, and culture of the 1960s, has a subtle concrete texture, a palette of pale colours, and contemporary graphic patterns in 300 by 900mm. Le Cementine is a modern re-reading of traditional hydraulic tiles. It offers a selection of designs, and three chromatic proposals: raw, grey, or multi-coloured.
Another of Brazil’s leading manufacturers, Portinari was certainly pleased with the reception both its stand and its products received at Revestir. As well as the Joy MZ range, which formed a strong feature at the front of the stand, the company was delighted to pick up Best in Show in the porcelain category for Max Abstract. The Max Collection reflects the increasing popularity of 3D tiles and has a depth of relief that is unusual in ceramics. There are two design options: Max Abstract and Max Focus. The award winner, Max Abstract, is influenced by Futurism and has pieces that range from white to black.
They were well at home on a stand with an art gallery concept. The theme "The art of living well. Environments that express who we are" was presented in rooms labelled Memories, Moments, Inspirations, Dreams, and Achievements.
The outstanding feature of the stand, however, was a concept called Color Connection. This beautifully curated display showed the combination potential across all Portinari’s collections. It was divided into five groups of colours: Bone White, Warm Grey, Natural Honey, Urban Brown, and Essential Black. Within each group, gentle tone-on-tone harmonies were explored.
Bone White combines with minimalist environments, enhances lightness, and conveys calm and tranquillity; while warm touches deliver softness and harmony.
Warm Grey adapts the contemporary, urban, and industrial style; the neutral grey creating a backdrop for other elements to shine.
The natural shades of the Natural Honey palette provide warmth. When combined with the white nuances of the Bone White palette, they bring delicacy and refinement to interiors. The neutrality and naturalness of this palette facilitates many different combinations.
Urban Brown also brings a natural look and warmth to urban decorations. The earth tones are comforting, and work with either rustic or urban aesthetics.
Essential Black delivers imposing, contrasting, and very striking tones. This is the perfect palette to accentuate details, and create a stylish yet sober atmosphere.
In all, Portinari showed 175 new products from 29 collections. The highlights included the classic Apollo range of marble-effects; the Canova range with its Calacatta Machiavechia marble-effects with striking golden veins; the Chaplin range based on the black wood with grey and white contrasts; the Love range with on-trend pink hues and small reliefs in a hexagonal format; and the Luthier range of truly superb wood-effects. Luthier tiles, in 300 by 1,200mm, have striking linear reliefs and graduated wood tones. Most striking of all is the Luthier Decor, in 600 by 600mm, that features a woven slatted look.
Other notable ranges included the rustic timber-effect Memory collection that mixes the shades of grey and beige, with a chevron décor; Momento that faithfully reproduces cement using a three-tone palette; Monumenta, a minimalist stone/cement fusion design; and Munich, a uber cool worn cement range with pieces in polished, natural, and non-slip finishes.
Pietra Portinari Prime is Portinari's new product category. The five new collections deliver high durability and showcase the capabilities of digital printing technology. The products, which are suitable for use in high-traffic environments, were largely inspired by natural stones, such as marble and granite. New technology has allowed Portinari to combine a polished surface, high-definition design and excellent resistance in the same product. The ranges are Artemis in 600 by 1,200mm and 900 by 900mm; Granite in 900 by 900mm; Palazzo (with Statuary, Covelano, Grey, and Travertine marble) in 600 by 1,200mm and 900 by 900mm; Piemonte in 900 by 900mm; and finally Venezia, inspired by Venetian terrazzo, in 900 by 900mm.
There will be many more Revestir highlights in the May issue of Tile & Stone Journal.
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