Some names are as familiar to home décor and furnishing as one’s own: IKEA, Kartell, Mobilform, Baxter … La-Z-Boy. Others are not. We may see them all the time, but either because they’re inaccessible to regular shoppers or play a more behind-the-scenes role in your interiors they remain a mystery. Very few of us would be able to discuss our plumbing at length. We just want water to run through it. The same can be said of tiles. We just want the grout to be mildew-resistant and we want it to wash easily.
SICIS makes tiles. Not just any tiles mind, the Rolls Royce of tiles for all rooms and all spaces. Now with a showroom at Wanchai’s Queen’s Cube, SICIS – The Art Factory, the Italian manufacturer of all things mosaic tile comes to Hong Kong. Sicis is a tile manufacturer based in Ravenna, and if you’re redesigning anything that demands tile, the brand may be just that touch of glamour and zing you’re looking for. A quick glance around the 5,300-square foot, two-storey showroom will make that obvious. Tile goes above and beyond expectation here, and iridescent hues, complex curving patterns and “decadent aestheticism” carry the day. A longer glance at the de facto art SICIS has completed for the gallery and it will be impossible to deny the luxury factor of the tiles.
SICIS’ materials are diverse. Glass, marble and steel all have a place in the grand scheme (and these are indeed grand). SICIS’ work can be seen at the Mandarin Oriental Spa right here in Hong Kong, the Palazzo Versace in Gold Coast, Australia and the Pennyhill Park Hotel in London among dozens of other public buildings around the world. Aside from the range of materials, SICIS glass mosaic tiles come in a range of colours: red, green, blue, yellow and neutral. The Neoglass line is cut from sheets for flooring, the Colibri line is finished with a metallic sheen, the Firefly has a textured appearance that shines through its bright colours. And for those of us who fear the worst, the Basic Collection in assorted shapes and unfussy colours is easy enough to handle and indeed install on your own (handy installation instructions are available on the SICIS website). They can be mixed and matched to your heart’s content; nothing is truly verboten. And if you fear a case of form over function, comprehensive product testing and technical data is also available for review (again, on the website) and, for those who consider themselves conscientious consumers, the company maintains rigid social and environmental sustainability standards.
Though SICIS has its full catalogue online for browsing, the showroom is the best place to check out surfaces up close and textures that could eventually be underfoot. Designers and consumers that are interested in purchasing some for the home can order products from the showroom. But you have to find your own artist to create a Warholian self-portrait in the bathroom.