TURKISH ceramic and sanitary ware manufacturers have launched an aggressive drive to increase their penetration of the international markets with a range of stunning designs and innovative concepts for floor and wall tiles and bathroom suites.
While European and North American countries are the main markets for Turkish ceramics, the country’s exporters are looking for opportunities in new markets. Among the areas they are targeting is the Middle East which, according to Bahadır Kayan, president of Turkish Ceramics Promotion Group (CPG), offers immense potential for Turkish exporters.
“Although there has been stagnancy for the last six months in this region, especially in Dubai, Gulf countries will be a very important market for companies that control the whole buying process and offer competitive advantages.”
Drawing on the country’s centuries-old tradition of ceramic production know-how inherited through combining different techniques developed by different civilisations, Turkey has evolved into one of the biggest ceramic producers and exporters in the world, increasing its market share year on year by blending the multifaceted historical riches of Anatolia with modern designs and technology.
Although ceramics was established as an industry only in the late 1950s with the initiation of private companies, such as Vitra and Çanakkale Ceramic, the Turkish ceramic industry is perceived to be the third biggest sector in the world and today includes more than 24 producers, according to Kayan.
In terms of international ranking, he says: “For professional buyers, when considering price, performance and excellence, Turkish ceramics come right after Italy and Spain.”
The Turkish ceramics sector is looking at leading through innovation and quality as can be seen from the portfolio of new products that some of the leading manufacturers in the country have unveiled recently.
Most of these manufacturers have been catering to market trends where “tiles in larger format and those replicating natural stone have been in huge demand. This apart, the usage of ceramic tiles has also been extended,” Kayan says.
Vitra, part Eczacıbası Group’s Building Products Division, is today considered the world’s biggest factory with a fully integrated production capacity of four million tiles. With a choice of 4,000 varieties of ceramic and porcelain tiles, Vitra offers tiles in formats ranging from 1 by 1 cm to 60 by 120 cm. These tile products, suitable for many different areas such as bathrooms, pools, gardens and external cladding, bear the hallmarks of Vitra’s expert design team, says Kayan.
The company, which has made it a tradition to launch around 20 new tile series on the market every year, has this year enriched its collection with glass borders and decors, porcelain floor tiles, cut borders and decors as well as mosaic series, which have drawn inspiration from the trends of the year and cater to every taste.
Another Vitra brand, Vitra Rezidans that offers an aesthetic series designed for living spaces, has boosted this line with five new themes this year – namely, Integrity, Resilience, Ornamental, Absolute and Verve.
Elaborating on the new collection, a spokesman for the company says: “Integrity creates a tranquil and luxurious ambiance in interior spaces by combining the calming colours and designs of nature with the charm of high technology to reinterpret natural materials. Designed for both walls and floors, the tiles present a homogenous, luxury appearance, featuring attractive metallic reflections on the decor and borders.
“The design of Resilience is inspired by fashion and architecture, adding a third dimension to living spaces with its relief surface texture. Using technology, an ultra-modern ambiance is created with natural colours by forming metallic reflections and undulations on the tile surfaces.
“The Ornamental theme features ethnic, geometric, damask and traditional floral patterns, combined with contrasting colours to offer modern luxury.
“Meanwhile, Absolute uses designs with pure and clear colour backgrounds to create a tranquil and soothing ambiance in interior spaces. Offering the brilliance of a pearl, the tile’s dominant matte colours are combined with metallic reflections on the decors and borders.
“The Verve tiles’ crystallised surfaces blend with pastel colours to create a soothing effect on people and provide elegant chicness.”
Another major ceramic tile specialist Termal Seramik has come out with new and modern designs, matching every style. These include:
• Wona 25 x 50, which is designed for those who like the classic style. This product has striped textures in beige, grey and wenge colours and is described as being ideal for creating soft spaces. Wona, which also has its own floor tiles, offers two different types of border tiles in addition to the floral ones with silver gilding in places;
• Bambu 25 x 50: These wall and floor tiles with tea bark texture bring nature into the bathrooms with their floral decor in two different colours, embellished with bamboo motifs, and its wicker border tiles again in two colours. The floor and wall tiles of this series come in bone, light beige, blue and brown, and its decor and border tiles are offered in blue and brown;
• Hazan 25 x 40: Hazan has a semi-matt surface with a weathered texture and crimson, brown and cream colour choices. The line, complemented by modern and elegant decor borders, helps create new designs for bathrooms.
• Alpine 25 x 40: With its glasslike surface and texture, this product generates vivacity and cheer in bathrooms with its green, lilac, caramel and red colour choices; and
• Loft 30 x 60: The glazed porcelain tile line is now being produced in the 30 by 60cm format. A wooden texture and other choices of colours have been recently added into its product range.
Meanwhile, another specialist firm Seranit claims to be the only manufacturer in Turkey that can offer Calcata, a special product that combines porcelain and glass. Calcata is manufactured using highly advanced production technology, which only a few companies worldwide possess, according to the company. These floor and wall tiles are available in the 60 by 60 cm format in beige and grey colour choices.
Other leading ceramic manufacturers include Yüksel Ceramic, which is the supplier of choice where personal taste is a priority, and which brings freshness to living spaces. Offering new trends, sizes and designs in the ceramics industry, Yüksel Ceramic’s impressive series combine visual richness with technology to offer elegance to interiors and exteriors. Its new Venus series reflects passionate earthy tones and is produced in the 30 by 42 cm format as decorative tiles and backgrounds.
Turning to Turkish sanitary ware, Kayan points out that until the 1960s, Turkey used to import almost all of its sanitary ware products. However, after the 1990s, the sector grew rapidly such that today Turkey is the biggest sanitary ware producer in Europe with more than 31 manufacturers.
Some of the major Turkish sanitary ware companies are:
• Ege Sanitaryware: The company’s Dropia line is innovative, dynamic and aesthetically appealing. “With its unique decorative style, its round wash basin’s framed by a rectangular edge offers a visually striking form,” says a spokesman for Ege Sanitaryware. “The custom-designed toilet seat cover complements the Dropia toilet’s concealed cistern design, which has been engineered to optimise on space. The wash basin model 35431 Lagina complements the Dropia series of toilets and bidets”;
• Ege Ceramic, which has gained a reputation for its original designs and natural concepts. Some of the highlights of its range include edge-to-edge print quality, unique surface effects, and Kerajet technology-designed products that offer visual appeal. Among the most striking series created with this technology is the Digitile brand, which transfers nature to porcelain in a sophisticated manner. Digitile comes in 14 different concepts, namely Avila, Cronos, Capri, Piazza, Forest, Via Appia, Step, Sumatra, Focus, Jethro, Gallery, Arena, Corinto and Paco;
• Seramiksan: The new porcelain tile from Seramiksan for use in outdoor and indoor settings is Brilliant with its rectified and Lappato finish. It is offered in four colours (brown, beige, grey and brown) and available in 60 by 60 and 30 by 60 cm formats; and
• Creavit: “Creavit was one of the brands that stood out with its unique new design and rich product range at this year’s Unicera, an international ceramic and bathroom fair held in Turkey in April,” says Kayan.
The company exhibited sanitary ware and bathroom furniture at its stand, which was specially designed for Unicera. Creavit was also honoured with an award for its high quality products.