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The strength to “Think Big”

Sacmi coverings for Bologna’s booth at the Shanghai World Expo.

Bologna is a cultural centre steeped in thousands of years of history, birthplace of the best European food traditions and a strategic hub for the flourishing manufacturing industry that is bravely facing the challenges of this difficult period. Bologna is set to participate in the Shanghai World Expo and has commissioned Sacmi Imola as their technical partner to create all the floors and wall coverings for the booth that will showcase the city.

Sacmi proposes to use two large format products in the booth, both in grès porcelain and produced in partnership with Gigacer. “The future of the ceramics industry lies in large formats” says Pietro Cassani, Managing Director of Sacmi, “we have been focusing on this market for some time now and, while it is still a niche market in terms of total production volumes, it is showing constant growth especially in emerging markets such as the Middle East, India and China.”

The first product, “Made”, is a through body grès porcelain in graphite tones, 12mm thick, produced using Continua multi-layer technology. This is an outstanding product in terms of technical and aesthetic qualities, created by lapping the surface to give it more shine. “Continua Technology”, says Cassani, “is the crowning achievement of the Sacmi Imola Ceramics Division. Proof of this lies in the enormous success the product is having with our customers. This is the result of a highly flexible technology that allows us to create a wide variety of products efficiently and to the highest quality standards, ranging from technical or glazed ceramics to highly innovative products.

From “Made” to “Concrete”. This is the name Sacmi chose for the wall tiles. Made of grès porcelain in a colour to match the floors, these tiles are much thinner at only 4.8mm. Even if the thickness has been reduced considerably, Sacmi’s advanced technology still allows very large formats to be produced - the tiles and slabs are 120x60 cm, 120x40, 120x30, 120x20 and 120x10 cm in size and will be combined separately and laid horizontally to cover the walls of the booth.

Formats and technologies as advanced as the cities themselves. This is the spirit with which Sacmi “flies” to Shanghai together with the city of Bologna. Fully aware that the future of our manufacturing industry, our cities and, at the end of the day, our society itself depends on us having the courage to step up and take a risk.  “What we are presenting in Shanghai” says Cassani, “is not just a floor, in the same way that Bologna’s booth is not just a showcase for an average Italian city.  The challenge we face is to show visitors a part of our identity and industrial cultural heritage, and in working towards this goal I am delighted to find that we are completely in synch with the organisers of Bologna’s booth”.

After all, China represents an increasingly important share of the Group’s turnover. The Director of Sacmi comments, “China is the land of opportunity and we can say, false modesty aside, that we were the first to understand the potential there: in 1975 we sold our first press to the Chinese: there then followed years of expansion and consolidation of working relationships, as part of a precise strategy aimed not only at selling machines, but also at developing solid relations with the local industry. We have been in the Chinese market permanently since the 1980s and we were not put off by the initial difficulties that, like other foreign companies, we found in approaching this new market. Strengthened by this past experience, we cannot allow ourselves to lower our guard now: China is an opportunity that must be cultivated over time, and Shanghai represents another important opportunity that we mustn’t let slip by. An opportunity to reinforce our presence and our visibility in the country, to make contact with high level professionals in order to bring Italian excellence to Chinese consumers, who are becoming increasingly demanding and attentive to quality”.


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