While their uptake here in the UK hasn’t been quite as rapid as in Italy or Spain, it’s undeniable that large format tiles are a growth area for the industry, and it’s likely that average dimensions for most applications will continue to grow. These tiles present both a challenge and an opportunity for the skilled installer, an area to showcase and take advantage of expertise and training. Below, we’ve highlighted a few ranges from some of Europe’s top manufacturers, who continue to push tiles to new heights (and widths!)
Marvel – Atlas Concorde
Atlas Concorde’s Marvel collection was launched in 2012, celebrating its tenth anniversary last year. The range is available in formats up to 160x320cm at a thickness of just 6mm. The manufacturer calls it: “A collection of absolute aesthetic and technical import, where all of marble’s elegance is combined with the application benefits of marble-effect tiles. Inspired by the prestige of the most precious marbles of Italian tradition, Marvel effectively meets the needs of contemporary design in any architectural setting, offering considerable creative freedom.
“Thanks to the surprising realism of pure colours, natural veins, intense shades and transparent clouding, each marble of reference is faithfully reproduced, adding all the benefits of ceramic tiles. With elegant combinations or refined monochrome applications, Marvel extends the continuity of colour and tone to the entire environment, increasing its visual impact.”
Recently, the company launched Marvel Onyx, a variation of the large-format range featuring Quartz, Alabaster and Pearl designs. Atlas says: “Onyx as you have never seen it, Marvel Onyx reinterprets the timeless charm of natural onyx in a contemporary and refined way. The marble-effect porcelain stoneware collection is distinguished by its elegance and deep, homogeneous surfaces.”
Grande – Marazzi
Grande, Marazzi’s porcelain stoneware slab collection, is available in 160x320cm, 120x240cm and 120x120cm. Like the Marvel collection, these slabs are just 6mm thick, and are presented in a range of different aesthetic effects. These designs range from the predictable, with realistic stone-effects based on Ceppo di Gré, Gris du Gent, Granito Black and Pietra di Vals, to the fashionable Grande Metal look, which offers “mineral charm of metals in three colours with a striking iridescent surface”.
More surprising still is the company’s Grand Carpet collection, which – as the name implies – takes its design inspiration from the woven floorcovering.
Marazzi says: “The Grand Carpet project, produced in 6 different modules of 120x240cm in 6mm thickness, represents an original approach to large slabs and to porcelain stoneware itself. Grand Carpet is intended for covering horizontal and vertical surfaces, indoors and outdoors, in both residential and contract locations. The line is offered in two extremely sophisticated colour variants: the warm version, Sand, is directly derived from the Salone del Mobile project, while Smoke offers a cooler, very versatile combination of shades.”
Magnum Oversize – Florim
The Magnum collection is Florim’s take on this popular trend, offering a range of “unusual” dimensions, such as 80x240cm and 160x160cm (although the company also manufactures the giant 160x320cm slabs too). Of the range, the company says: “The large Magnum slab project features a very wide format range up to 160×320cm in 6 mm thickness for floors and walls, ventilated facades, and the field of furniture (e.g. tables, shower trays, doors, fireplaces, and many other applications). The Magnum Oversize project received an Honorable Mention at the 2016 ADI Compasso D’Oro Awards.”
The company’s stone division also offers slabs in a single large size, 162×324cm, at three thicknesses, 6mm, 12mm and 20mm, designed “to best respond to stresses and breaking loads,” in applications such as furnishing projects and kitchen countertops.
Xtone – Porcelanosa
Finally, XTone is a Porcelanosa brand specialised in large format tiles across two product types: sintered stone and natural stone. These tiles are produced in a range of thicknesses from 6mm all the way up to 30mm, making them suitable for both interior and exterior applications.
According to the manufacturer, the sintered and natural stone surfaces offer a range of advantages over other materials, and are claimed to be 100% natural and recyclable, waterproof and hygienic.
The sintered stone ranges of XTone are available in three types of finish: Nature, Polished and Silk. Nature is described as a “completely matte finish with a natural effect. It is characterised by being soft to the touch.” Silk on the other hand, is a matte finish with a soft layer that provides a subtle shine, and is described as a “fusion between polished and natural finishes”.