The English edition of Cer Magazine International interviews leading Lebanese distributor Ihab Salameh

The English edition of Cer Magazine International no. 31, the magazine that explores the most important projects featuring the use of Italian ceramics worldwide, can be viewed on the website and can be downloaded free of charge onto iPad (Cer Mag App). The magazine now features an even wider range of interactive contents, including links to company websites, free downloads and videos. The way in which product trends are presented is particularly innovative: alongside photo reports of the main trends, it hosts sections presenting virtual settings of the kitchen and outdoor areas. The multimedia contents linked to the pages include animations illustrating each product’s unique features and development.

The printed magazine will be sent out to an extensive international mailing list and distributed at the most important American exhibitions (Coverings, 29 April – 2 May 2013, and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, 18-21 May 2013), as well as at the three seminars that Ceramics of Italy will be organising in Canada from 28 to 30 May.

This issue of Cer Magazine explores market trends in the company of Ihab Salameh, managing director of Salameh Ceramica, the leading Lebanese distributor which won the Cersaie Distributor Award 2012; it interviews acclaimed designer Philippe Starck; it discusses the 50 million dollar investment for the construction of a new facility in Tennessee with Del Conca CEO Enzo Mularoni; and it presents the English edition of the consumer handbook Ceramica Amica. As well as publishing reports of recent projects featuring the use of Italian ceramic materials, Cer Magazine also discusses the participation of Ceramics of Italy at the US show Coverings and looks forward to the important appointment with Cersaie 2013 (23-27 September) with a preview of some of the many initiatives that will be organised.

This issue of Cer Magazine meets Salameh Ceramica, a multimillion-dollar family-owned business and leader in the Lebanese market specialising in distribution of ceramic tiles, sanitaryware, taps and bathroom furnishings. It has more than 100 employees at three showrooms and an annual turnover of around 20 million euro. The Beirut-based group won the 2012 Cersaie Distributor Award as one of the best distributors of the year. “Our strength lies in our ability to welcome customers and meet their needs effectively, using new computerised tools such as 3D design to assist them through all steps in the sales process and after-sales support,” explains managing director Ihab Salameh.

In an exclusive interview with Cer Magazine, the brilliant architect and designer Philippe Starck, a self-defined “professional dreamer”, reveals that he sees creativity as a mental illness and that he uses design as a political weapon to disseminate ideas such as Democratic Design and Democratic Ecology. Philippe Starck’s multifaceted creativity combining design with functionality, economy and symbolism now extends to the ceramic sector with a project that transforms tiles into a new architectural system.

The English edition of Cer Magazine meets Ceramica Del Conca Group’s President Enzo Donald Mularoni, discussing with him the aims and expectations of the Group’s new investment to build a facility in Loudon, Tennessee. The start-up will involve an initial investment of US $50 million and will have an output of 3 million square metres and create 100 new jobs. The business plan for the project envisages an increase in budget to 70 million dollars in the medium term to finance doubling of the production volumes if permitted by US market conditions.

Although they differ in terms of type of building, location and technical and aesthetic characteristics, the nine featured projects share a use of Italian ceramics. They include a glass-walled residence that appears to dissolve into the greenery of a magnificent garden by Lake Como; Lamborghini’s protoshop, the first multilevel industrial building in Italy to attain energy class A certification; an elegant remodelling project for a 4-star hotel in Venice, where tradition goes hand in hand with the functionality of contemporary solutions; the porcelain floor used as the unifying element in a clothing store in Aversa; the coloured architecture of the Soweto Theatre in Johannesburg which carries on the great theatrical and musical tradition of the South African people; and the facilities offered by a service station in Bilzen, Belgium.

Sassuolo, April 2013

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