Porcelain stoneware and sustainable design: a virtuous combination

In recent years, there's been a significant increase in awareness about the environmental impact of our daily activities. This has led to a greater focus on sustainable solutions also in the field of architecture and interior design. In this article, we will look at how we can adopt an eco-friendly approach when furnishing the interior spaces of homes and offices. We will also explore some of the principles of eco-friendly design and some of the materials that are consistent with this design philosophy.

Sustainable design and eco-friendly furnishing: what are they?

Sustainable design and eco-friendly furnishing are based on a number of principles that aim to reduce the environmental impact not only of buildings but also of furnishings. Included among these principles are:

  • The use of sustainable materials, such as wood from FSC (i.e. responsibly managed) forests and bamboo. The latter is notable for the speed with which it grows and for its remarkable ecological properties, such as its ability to absorb far more CO2 and generate far more oxygen than the majority of plant species. Another material that is characterised by high sustainability is ceramics. Tiles are manufactured using natural materials that are widely available in nature. Moreover, they boast far greater durability than many other cladding materials , including wood, natural marble and PVC.
  • The design of buildings and furnishings that are energy efficient and consume fewer resources.
  • Opting  for sustainable technologies, such as LED lighting and eco-friendly heating and cooling systems.

Environmentally sustainable flooring: the strengths of porcelain stoneware

An environmentally sustainable floor is a fundamental element of an interior design that aims to be truly green. In this respect, porcelain stoneware is a ceramic material with properties particularly suited to sustainability-conscious design. Why?

  1. Firstly, porcelain stoneware is a natural material, primarily consisting of clay and sand. These are raw materials that are widely available in nature and do not contribute to the depletion of natural resources.
  2. Secondly, porcelain stoneware is an extremely resistant and durable material. This means that it needs to be replaced less frequently than other materials, thereby reducing the environmental impact of its production and disposal.
  3. Thirdly, the inherent eco-friendliness of porcelain stoneware is further underscored by its 100% recyclability. Once it reaches the end of its lifespan, porcelain stoneware can be repurposed as an inert material, finding new life in various applications such as construction projects and road surfacing.

Sustainable design: key principles and practices for implementation in your spaces

Sustainable design integrates ecological, social and economic principles focusing on reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. The underlying principles guiding this design are:

  • Reducing waste and pollution, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Promoting a circular economy, i.e. where materials and goods are designed to be reused and recycled.
  • Establishing the traceability of goods.
  • Making supply chains more ethical and transparent.


The environmental footprint of any product is largely predetermined during its design phase. As such, sustainable design mandates adherence to distinct environmental strategies, employing virtuous techniques and practices throughout the process. Strategies for achieving such sustainability encompass:

  • Upcycling, i.e. the conversion of a discarded product into a new one with a new value.
  • Design for disassembly, which simplifies the process of dismantling products once they've served their purpose, making it easier to recover reusable components.
  • Designing for longevity, i.e. taking into account the optimal life expectancy of a good.

The benefits of eco-friendly design

Adhering to these principles results in a range of environmental benefits, as eco-friendly design reduces the impact of human activity on the environment and human-induced climate change, supports the conservation of natural resources, and positively affects the reduction of air and noise pollution. Moreover, designing sustainably also provides a number of economic benefits, such as reduced building running costs, increased property values and, consequently, job creation in a rapidly growing sector, i.e. sustainability.

Kerlite, ultra-thin stoneware for eco-friendly design

The focus on the environment therefore passes through both general design principles and design solutions adopted for specific living contexts. In this dual perspective, an excellent example of sustainable design is the Kerlite line by Cotto d'Este. Kerlite's minimal thickness underscores its sustainability from production to end use, including lower water and energy requirements and reduced transport pollution. All of this has made it one of the most sustainable materials available to designers. On top of that, Kerlite large-size slabs are carbon neutral. After having reduced the emissions generated during manufacture as much as possible, we decided to calculate all residual emissions from the entire lifecycle of the slabs and to offset them through carbon credits related to projects with a tangibly positive impact on the environment.

Would you like to learn more about Kerlite's eco-sustainability? Watch this short video and find out all about Panariagroup's Think Zero project, aimed at minimising the CO2 emissions generated by Kerlite production and offsetting residual emissions to create ultra-thin carbon neutral slabs.


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