Roberto Colonetti is a well-known professional in the tile and stone industries, and deservedly so. Known for his innovative porcelain techniques, specifically with large-format and gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs (GPTP), Colonetti refers to himself as a porcelain artist and truly prides himself on pushing artistic boundaries with the material.
At the beginning of this year, he began crafting one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional structures from GPTP, which emulate everything from the Eiffel Tower to a human head. The life-size Eiffel Tower model, which stands more than 7 feet tall, was one of the first projects he created, which was designed using Florim Stone’s Statuario marble-look porcelain.
“The goal for this project was the challenge of it,” said Colonetti, who works at European Ceramics in Osborne Park, Perth, Australia. “To make something like this in porcelain takes time to understand how big it should be to get all of the pieces interlocked together. The tower was commissioned from a French shop in New Zealand. They asked me if I was able to make something regarding the country of France and what’s better than the Eiffel Tower?”
To create the Eiffel Tower model, Colonetti utilized one slab of 12-mm-thick Florim Stone in the “Statuario” design with a matte finish, which measured 63 x 126 inches (5 1/4 x 10 1/2 feet) and was imported directly from Florim Ceramiche in Fiorano Modenese, Italy.
Although many installers utilize glues or adhesives to keep large porcelain pieces like this together, Colonetti stands out from the rest because of his unique installation process. “There is no glue; everything was interlocked together like a puzzle,” he explained. “You can move the pieces at any time by yourself, and in the case one of the pieces breaks, it can be easily replaced.”
Colonetti crafted the Eiffel Tower over a 23-hour period using a waterjet, with another eight hours dedicated to creating all of the necessary software programs. “The most challenging aspect of the installation was making the right measurements, especially on the inclined parts,” he said. “Any mistakes meant re-cutting the piece. Another big challenge was the proximity of the cut to get all of the details of the tower. If I went too close, I would get cracks, and imagine getting a crack after three hours of cutting when you’re almost done.”
By readjusting the positions on the software Colonetti used, he was able to successfully complete the tower, which has received hundreds of positive responses since its completion a couple of months ago. “Luckily, this is not my first project and I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes,” Colonetti said. “Everyone who has seen the tower has been impressed.”
Eiffel Tower model
Designer/Installer: Roberto Colonetti, Perth, Western Australia
Tile Supplier: Florim Ceramiche, Fiorano Modenese, Italy (Florim Stone’s Marble Statuario)