Name: Powder. Year of production: 2016. Technical characteristics: cement-effect porcelain stoneware with delicate geometric shadings in 5 batch-colored tones. Purpose: floors and facings, for residential and light commercial use. Environmental credits: ecosustainable with closed-cycle production.

This, in short, is the profile of the tile seen on these pages: part of the 9 million square meters of porcelain stoneware that emerge each year from the factory at Fiorano Modenese, the latest facility of Marazzi and the flagship of the Modena-based group in terms of production capacity, technological innovation and environmental responsibility.

Opened on the 3 September 2015, the plant in Fiorano is a production center of the latest generation (by the end of 2017 the company will add another plant, at Sassuolo, in the heart of Marazzi industrial complex), above all when it comes to a focus on the territory and the safety of the people who work there.

Mauro Vandini, CEO of Marazzi Group, explains: “Our production has been closed-cycle since the 1980s. This means that we use energy saving ovens, recycling the heat; that we use raw materials most of which are found in nature; and that we recover all the water and waste, including those of other companies that do not have the technological capacity to do so.

This sensibility is ratified by international protocols and certifications, which are a part of the culture of the Italian ceramics district, the first and still the strictest in the world when it comes to ecosustainable product standards. We might say that for us, being sustainable is a factor of social responsibility, but also of competitive advantage and positive brand perception.”

After all, what has changed is precisely the common perception of ceramics: the impressive mountains of clay and glass stored in the warehouses adjacent to the factory in Fiorano demonstrate the natural character of ceramic products: simple, pure material.

Vandini continues: “The refinement of the technologies applied to surfaces has changed not only the appearance but also the functions of ceramics. The possibility of interpreting and replicating different types of wood, stone, marble, creating new materials that mix colors, structures, graphics, is nearly infinite. Without mentioning that again in this case, ceramic products reveal their ecological identity, since they contribute to safeguard limited resources like marble and other stones, which would otherwise run the risk of depletion.”

The development of sustainable solutions with low environmental impact proceeds alongside all the activities that guarantee the comfort and safety of employees. The production process of a tile, which Interni has had a chance to observe in the Fiorano factory, involves workstations organized to meet the highest standards, with avant-garde safety systems. The company also makes major investments in human resources.

As Vandini explains: “This year we have conducted almost 17,000 hours of training, especially in technical areas, to update the expertise of staff in the use of the new systems installed in the plants in Fiorano and Finale Emilia. Because the focus on the quality and beauty of our products is always accompanied by a focus on people and their skills. An indispensable factor for success.”

Foto di Paolo Riolzi – Testo di Laura Ragazzola