“It takes know-how and vision to develop what doesn't exist,” says Paolo Mussini, founder of Cotto d’Este, the premium brand of Panariagroup, which this year celebrates 30 years of history and uncompromising quality defined by aesthetic and technical excellence. That which has always characterized the brand is, in fact, its ability to passionately look towards the future, promoting exclusive and innovative solutions that have changed the rules and thus determined the history of the industry's evolution.
Cotto d’Este debuted in the ceramic market with the visionary and ambitious goal of pushing the boundaries, conveying originality and uniqueness despite the standardisation of industrial production, with the sole objective of achieving unprecedented levels of beauty and elegance.
Drawing inspiration from the stylistic references of the Estense villas and of noble and ancient palaces, in which hand crafted terracotta was traditionally used, the brand, ever since its inception, has been on a journey of research and development aimed at creating products that would not betray those sources of inspiration, despite being produced through industrial processes. This ambition and vision immediately led it to develop collections of sublime aesthetic quality, in which the details have made all the difference.
In addition to the deeply rooted cultural and historic references to the region in which it was born, Cotto d'Este has always had a desire to innovate, take chances, and offer new solutions.
Going against the tide, the brand introduced 14mm thick tiles to the market, becoming its first distinctive product and offering outstanding performance and exceptional aesthetic appeal. Thanks to a special manufacturing process that involves a firing cycle which lasts at least twice as long as that required by materials of a standard thickness, the perfect aggregation of raw materials and surface vitrification is achieved, resulting in more intense colours, uniquely bright surface finishes, exceptionally flat surfaces even for large formats, and a product that is three times more durable than products of the standard 10mm thickness.
To fulfill its creative and revolutionary vision, Cotto d’Este, in close collaboration with manufacturers of equipment and industrial machinery, has also helped the production sector to evolve and achieve new milestones. In 2004 the brand launched Kerlite, its ultra-thin slab par excellence, measuring just 3mm thick. Initially designed for wall applications, over time (thanks to another insight, the application of fibreglass mesh) Kerlite has become an elective product for floors as well.
The brand's relentless research has extended far beyond the thickness of tiles, touching all aspects of ceramic products.
Like the constant study of new surface finishes, giving rise to innovations like honing, characterized by a soft texture and brightness that were completely new to tiles (1997), the Soft surface (2003), the first surface finish with an opalescent and semi-glossy reflection, and finally, in 2023, Safetouch technology, the only ceramic surface that combines maximum slip resistance with a surface that is soft to the touch.
The size of products gradually evolved and was developped as well. Cotto d’Este was the first brand to introduce increasingly larger formats to the market (like the 90x90 format), and eventually developed its over-sized slabs. The first 100x300cm marble slab was put on the market in 2012, while the first over-sized 14mm thick porcelain stoneware product, measuring 120x120 or 90x180, was introduced in 2021.
No less important is the decoration of ceramic for which the brand has achieved several milestones. In 2007 Cotto d’Este was the first company in the world to introduce digital decoration, with a marble-effect collection, and, once again in 2016, it was the first to develop ceramic wallpapers, with the Wonderwall collection, true works of art that elegantly and harmoniously interpret the most original designs for decorating spaces with a material that offers durability, timeless beauty, and enormous practicality.
Cotto d'Este has even innovated the process of ceramic installation, patenting Kerlite Easy, the first certified dry installation system for ultra-thin slabs, a system that makes it possible to renovate spaces in a sustainable manner by installing the slabs directly on top of the existing floor and without the use of adhesive. The exclusive use of Kerlite slabs also guarantees durability that is superior to that of any other traditional installation system. This innovation has been recognized by ADI - the Association for Industrial Design - and was included in the 2021 ADI Design Index.
Finally, the company has maintained a constant commitment to environmental sustainability, something which has guided all of its decisions from the very beginning. Its ultra-thin ceramic slabs were originally designed to be sustainable because the reduced thickness made it possible to use less raw materials, less water, and less energy, resulting in lower CO2 emissions during production. Now, since 2022, they have become completely CARBON NEUTRAL thanks to the THINk ZERO project, through which Cotto d’Este compensates for its carbon footprint by supporting an international plan to reduce CO2 in the most polluted cities.
Reliability, outstanding performance, and sophisticated aesthetics make Cotto d’Este the ideal partner for ambitious and challenging projects. The brand's commitment to architecture and interior design are expressed through its constant effort to support the creative process and provide solutions to the technical needs of professionals worldwide.
Over the past 30 years, Cotto d’Este has established a legacy of excellence. Now, fueled by the same enthusiasm and unwavering desire to push boundaries, the company is ready to explore new horizons and achieve new milestones in the world of this timeless product.