Ulster Tatler Interiors chats to Giuseppe Gaudiano, owner of Carlanto tiles.
What does a typical day’s work involve if there is any such thing for you?
Head office is in Belfast. No two days are the same, however the first port of call would be answering emails followed by general meetings with the management team. Then comes the buying and selling part. Meetings with Export Managers and Factory Agents. Meetings with Architects and Interior Designers. Meetings with Builders, Shopfitters, Developers and Surveyors. Sometimes it feels like meetings, meetings and more meetings, but that’s what it’s like to run a business of this size. It’s definitely not boring that’s for sure.
How much does Innovation play a role within your sector?
We always have to stay ahead of trends. The sector is very competitive and the key players are continually trying to negotiate for the most creative and innovative products recently launched into the market. Fortunately we work with some of Italy and Spain’s finest factories and we get ‘first bite’ at the new products being launched.
Has there been a shift in product popularity over the last 10 years, particularly in recent times since Brexit?
Manufacturing has changed enormously over the last 10 years with the advent of digital technology. Porcelain woods, large format, geometric and victorian tiles all leading the way in a continued change in consumer habit and interior design. We have recently brought in a range of porcelain woods which look like real wood but with the advantage of being technically non-porous, frost proof and suitable for indoors and outdoors. Key colours are soft greys and blues such as sapphire and azul. Blush, moss green and emerald are also being used to give a contemporary and elegant style. Textures, Terrazzo and Hexagonal Shapes are also all high on the hit list. Plenty to mull over when considering designs and concepts. We price our product to satisfy our customers’ needs and we haven’t found Brexit a deterrent in this regard.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in the creative world?
I’ve always been a huge fan of mosaics even though the Northern Irish design culture does not lean toward mosaics. One of my favourite cities is Barcelona and the Architect Gaudi’s work can be seen all over the city, particularly the mosaics. My surname is Gaudiano which when broken down is translated into ‘Year of Gaudi’. Gaudi’s influence continues to drive my imagination. I have been very fortunate to have grown-up multi-lingual and this has allowed me to communicate with top European manufacturers in their own language. I love imagination and creativity and I completely respect the work that Architects and Interior Designers do. To be a part of that design process inspires me to continue the search for beauty.
Is there such a thing as a typical client and what a client expects as standard nowadays?
I would like to think that there is not a typical client. I believe that every client has an individual expectation. At Carlanto, we do our best to offer The Personal Touch, alongside exclusive, fashionable product and all at a competitive price.
With methods in production changing with technology in recent years how do you keep informed of the latest developments in the industry?
Last September I attended the Italian Tile Exhibition followed by a Chinese Exhibition in October. In January I visited a number of specific Italian factories and I have just returned from the Spanish Exhibition in Valencia. As I am answering this I am yet to decide whether or not to visit the Turkish Exhibition in March. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now and the mileage is taking its toll on me however I enjoy what I do and it’s the only way to stay ahead.
What are the main trends going to be for 2017?
Large format (3mx1.5m, 1mx1m, 800x800cm etc), lots more porcelain wood and distinct shapes for feature walls. Clean lines and minimum maintenance.