How to rock the concrete look.

The muscular industrial look is as white hot as the day it exploded out of abandoned warehouses and factories into the urban environment of domestic and office spaces. Already a couple of decades in to being one of the hippest real estate options around – industrial chic living spaces continue to reinterpret and celebrate the bare bones of architecture.

 

All those beautifully utilitarian objects that in years past were covered up and hidden from view - once functional and now iconic brickwork, pipe and duct systems, stainless steel finishes, steel girders… and concrete - have become much sought after and prized ‘work-worn scars’ that make up the iconography of this no-frills design aesthetic.

 

From humble beginnings. Little known fact: the ‘modern’ industrial space was originally birthed out of the safety concerns of 18th century insurance companies who wanted to minimise fire hazards. So they advocated for open floor plans and plain facades; and by the beginning of the 19th century, concrete and steel entered the design picture.

 

The renewal of these magnificent monster spaces began in the 60s and 70s, when artists and designers saw the artistic potential in these unadorned, worn (let’s not ignore low cost, too) living spaces with their raw concrete floors, exposed details, and huge windows that let in a flood of natural light. Pure inspiration for creative minds that then captured the imaginations of interior designers and lifestyle magazines. Industrial grunge became sought after. Cut to the 21st century, and here we are, finding beautiful and exciting ways to reimagine the look in our own homes.

Same-same but different. Elements of industrial style have been showing up in many different homes and commercial spaces since the 70s, and most of these elements are actually easier than ever to achieve, by utilising faux finishes and look-alike products that are less expensive and more robust than the real thing. A case in point is cement/concrete-look tiles.

Concrete itself is an absorbent material which can easily scratch, chip or stain - concrete screed thrown on an uneven surface will also crack over time - but when recreated using porcelain or ceramics, reflects that beautiful natural industrial effect without the mess and endless drying time of installation.

 

Italtile’s concrete-look porcelain tiles.
Italtile has formed trusted partnerships with some of the world’s foremost porcelain tile manufacturers whose cement-look tile ranges are arguably better than the real thing. Incredible inkjet printing allows for an authentic concrete look to be printed into and onto porcelain tile bodies. These photorealistic designs offer Italstylers more concrete-look options to choose from. There’s an unbelievable spectrum of tones including paler colours, as well as ‘aggregated’ options which recreate the flecked, mottled look of terrazzo. There are also many different finishes, too - including slip-resistant, perfect for our indoor/outdoor South African lifestyle.

Beautifully functional. All our concrete-look porcelain tiles require far less maintenance than real concrete and there are different tile formats and sizes that live beautifully alongside the latest trends and allow for creative interpretation. Concrete-look tiles are as functional as they are beautiful and can resist wear and tear, heavy foot traffic, stains, and moisture exposure. They are also cost-effective and longlasting: you’ll can enjoy the beauty of an Italtile concrete look for many years to come, without having to worry about the colour fading or suface cracking.

 

Whether you vibe with dark and dramatic, or a more serene and soft pale option, we’ve got what you’re looking for. And more. For floors, walls, fireplace surrounds, you name it. One of the most versatile foundations on which to work your furnishings and finishes. Annnnnd… all our cement-look beauties have rectified edges, which means a perfect straight edge on every single tile, allowing for thinner grout lines to give a seamless, authentic, low-maintenance finish.

Baltimore. The one range that does it all. A European import, this huge tile range is a knockout. It literally is the one-stop tile choice: from the bathroom, to the bedroom, to the balcony and beyond. Pool deck, patio, garage? Baltimore’s got you covered. In two different sizes: a medium 600 x 600 and a marvellous, massive 1200 x 1200. Offering 3 different colourways: dark Taupe, mid-tone Gris and pale Perla. And three different finishes: semi-polished lappato, natural and slip-resistant (with nano technology that creates a microscopic roughness). Best of all? Baltimore’s on promo right now, during the month of July.

Feed your need for screed with Midway. A proudly South African product, Midway mimics that trendy, loft apartment screed floor look and is an eco-chic LiveGreen choice. Midway comes in 20 faces: that means 20 different tonal variances in a set, so you get very little ‘repeat patterning’, which means you won’t lay two repeats together.

Steeltech. Industrial grunge meets urban edge. Rusty Oxido, steely Marengo and off-white Blanco colourways speak of the raw materials that give the industrial aesthetic such an evocative appeal. Choose slip-resistant for outdoor areas and regular matt finish for indoor applications.

Go big on texture with Spazio. New Spazio large format cement-feel porcelain tiles have an absolutely stunning aggregated look: that means the tiles have a flecked, terrazzo finish, in Charcoal, Gris and White. Pssst! These are our supersavers right now!

Magnum by name, Magnum by nature. These big boys (595 x 1195) give you an authentic sense of screed compilation, with slightly smoky, mottling variances.

Complete the look with industrial chic finishes. If you’ve invested in a clean, dramatic industrial look bathroom, Italtile’s magnificent ranges of brushed chrome or brushed bronze finishes will keep your look on point.

Try before you buy. Not even the most decor savvy designers buy off catalogue. They’ve learnt from experience to ask for cut samples. You should, too. Our industrial look tile range is extensive, so whether you’re instore or online, ask us for a set of cut samples to go home and play with. And if you still can’t make up your mind, have a chat with one of our interior design-qualified sales advisers.

Our final word on the industrial evolution? It’s a look that’s not going anywhere for a long, long time, so the tiles you buy are an investment in a way of life you’re going to continue falling in love with as the years go by.

Rock the look and live beautifully.

Ciao!