FLORIM, the Italian go-to manufacturer of large ceramic slabs for architectural and interior-design use, is on a design-cultural mission…

Florim has invested 300 million euros over the last 5 years in the optimisation of its products and manufacturing processes. In 2018 the company built a new factory, adjacent to its Fiorano Modanese headquarters, for the production of large-format tiles

Culture Club: Florim | News

Florim has invested 300 million euros over the last 5 years in the optimisation of its products and manufacturing processes. In 2018 the company built a new factory, adjacent to its Fiorano Modanese headquarters, for the production of large-format tiles

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If there’s one material that’s helped shape design culture (indeed, long before the term “design” came into circulation in the modern era) it would have to be ceramic. Natural, tactile, robust, hygienic – honest, if you will – it has been lending form and texture to our material world and built environment for millennia. And we’re not just talking pots.

Manufacturing experts Florim, a key figure in the long-standing Italian tradition of quality architectural ceramics, have their own series of epithets. When describing their specialist business, they speak of “passion, innovation and sustainability”. But to see the group merely as a high-end producer would be to underestimate its mission. Think, instead, creative project partner, one who has just as much invested in the final outcome as the architect or interior architect does.

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The ultra-modern, 56,000-square-metre industry 4.0 plant in Mordano, Bologna, was completed in 2017 in the possibly record-breaking time of just six months

“Florim has a natural vocation for design, art and beauty,” says the company. “It’s in our DNA, which, in turn, is reflected in our group strapline: Design is our passion.” Now, before you respond with “Isn’t that what every other design manufacturer claims?,” know this: Florim has demonstrably put its money where its mouth is…


Making it, not faking it

Having successfully produced and innovated in porcelain surfaces for over half a century, the Modena-based brand, headed up by Claudio Lucchese, son of founder Giovanni, has recently invested in a number of impressive capital projects to deliver on both the material and cultural fronts: its new Industry 4.0 factory, situated outside Bologna and which houses state-of-the-art production technology, as well as a new high-tech manufacturing plant next to the group’s headquarters in Fiorano Modenese; and its 9,000-square-metre Florim Gallery, a versatile exhibition and events space located within the HQ itself.

The Mordano factory contains two kilns, each 170 metres in length, significantly raising the production capacity of the market leader in large-format tiles

Culture Club: Florim | News

The Mordano factory contains two kilns, each 170 metres in length, significantly raising the production capacity of the market leader in large-format tiles

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Never satisfied with the status quo, Florim is always looking for ways to innovate and its new Industry 4.0 production site is no exception. Rational and modernist in form, the 56,000-square-metre structure took just six months to complete. Alongside the cutting-edge technology and computer-integrated machines that have been installed is a showstopping 170-metre-long kiln. “It’s a true hotspot of technology and innovation for the production and logistics of large ceramic slabs,” explains Florim. “But it’s also a high-quality working environment, thanks to the painstaking attention to detail and aesthetics, not to mention its 5-metre-high glazing, which makes for large, bright spaces.”

The second plant, which opened last year and which sits in the heart of Italy’s ceramic region, features all the intelligent automation you’d expect and is dedicated to producing Florim Magnum Oversize slabs, which measure in excess of 3 metres in height and 1.6 metres in width. The company has successfully, over the years, established itself as a market leader globally for this type of large-format porcelain product.


Spaced out

The Florim Gallery, meanwhile, is concerned with a different kind of production. With its programme of product exhibitions and related events, it’s a cultural atelier. Organised over two floors and with a central, double-height atrium, it’s clocked up over 100 events since its opening a few years ago, including external fashion and car shows. Little wonder the local press have dubbed the venue as “the region’s foremost cultural meeting place”. Clean-lined and resolutely modern, the build also features two large internal, planted courtyards that allow natural light and a sense of the verdant to penetrate its interior spaces.

Since opening in 2013, the 9,000-square-metre Florim Gallery located at the company headquarters has hosted more than 60,000 visitors at over 100 events, making it one of the region’s major cultural hotspots

Culture Club: Florim | News

Since opening in 2013, the 9,000-square-metre Florim Gallery located at the company headquarters has hosted more than 60,000 visitors at over 100 events, making it one of the region’s major cultural hotspots

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And if that weren’t enough, Florim have also established a health and training centre at their main offices. Developed with the local Sassuolo Hospital and the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Reggio Emilia and comprising a series of multifunctional spaces and large conference room, the centre has been created to promote the dissemination of health information and help train not only healthcare workers, but also the wider community. It’s accessible to all sections of the local population – from workers and volunteers, through to teachers, schoolchildren and parents.

The headquarters also houses the Centro Florim salute&formazione, an experimental research and prevention centre dedicated to the dissemination of health information and training for both medical professionals and laypeople

Culture Club: Florim | News

The headquarters also houses the Centro Florim salute&formazione, an experimental research and prevention centre dedicated to the dissemination of health information and training for both medical professionals and laypeople

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There’s something very fitting about this. A place designed to help maintain the wellbeing of people and optimise their longevity, at a company that’s committed to making well-performing, sustainable, long-life products for architects, using quality materials. “People are an essential part of the Florim brand,” says the company. “The human capital that operates daily with passion, teamwork and continuous commitment to improvement in order to create beautiful products is key – while always respecting the local area and the environment.”

Now, that’s real culture.

© Architonic

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