Bringing patterns to life

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The new Touch technology, applied to the decors of the White Deco and Racconti collections, produces relief decorations with two digital inkjet printing passes. Glossy and matt looks, solid colours or subtle brush strokes and even an iridescent effect on the surface unleash new creative potentials and ceramic wall covering options

The Marazzi Group laboratories push digital printing into unexplored territory, for ceramic wall coverings with original material effects and tactile finishes. The new Touch technology adopts a two-dimensional Inkjet printing process in two digital steps, which produces relief decoration. Digital printing directly on the ceramic tile face itself generates printed motifs with precise control and excellent resolution, creating patterns with photographic realism even on structured surfaces. The distinctive three-dimensional effect is achieved by depositing a layer of grit on the decor in the programmed points; this then melts during firing to provide a varying degree of transparency, which enhances and reinforces the colours of the patterning.

The Touch technology is able to create different effects on surfaces, from glossy to matt, from uniform coverage to linear details, by depositing a layer of vitreous material which only adheres to the predefined parts of the tile’s decoration. The end result has an artistic, hand-crafted look. The technology has vast potential for increasing the personalisation, flexibility and rationalisation of the production process already provided by Inkjet printing. The Touch technology extends ceramic tiles’ expressive capability, especially in vertical “wallpaper” applications on walls. With the added benefits of hygienic properties and suitability for use in damp locations such as bathrooms, swimming-pools or spas.

The Touch three-dimensional effects are currently applied to the new White Deco and Racconti collections. The former features a large size (60×180 cm) in slimline thickness and elegant naturalistic decors on a white background. Its exquisite floral motifs – Botanica, Heyday and the new Roseto – are countered by the geometrical Vision, while the lush Jungle with its large tropical leaves is joined by the new Frond, a combination of different types of leaf with delicate flowers. The motifs are reinforced by gleaming highlights applied in a thin layer, which add variety to the surface and vibrancy and brilliance to the patterns.

Skilfully calculated glints of light also feature in the more complex decors of Racconti, a collection in 30×90 cm size characterised by intriguing tactile effects on its surfaces. Racconti offers 5 matt natural shades enhanced by tiny tone-on-tone dots and a bas-relief series (3D Segmenti) in the same colours, completed by matching decors in botanical and (in one case) geometrical style. The collection already features distinctive interplays of light and shade in its three-dimensional patterns and solid colours of great tactile elegance, but the Touch technology emphasises the alternation of tones, structures and surfaces in its graphic designs. The result is ideal for creating unique, highly individual design schemes.