“Since the very beginning of our long history, we have given priority to sustainability and industrial health and safety, by creating special projects for welfare and for the common good, all this in order to accomplish the right balance between economic growth, innovation, respect of the environment and social accountability. In our philosophy, Italian-made does not just mean luxury or beauty, it also stands for ethical values, commitment and responsibility. Values that have enabled us to turn a product into an experience to be shared”
Franco Manfredini – CEO of Casalgrande Padana
Porcelain stoneware production as core-business
Intensive experimentation and research into the design features and composition scope of the product along with an industrial policy soundly based on technological innovation while safeguarding the environment: these have always been the cornerstones on which Casalgrande Padana's mission has been founded, right from the time the company was established in 1960. Casalgrande Padana was the first enterprise in Italy to have directed its production towards a ceramic material possessing high-level technical features. This product was to become one of the most appreciated finishing materials used in architecture by designers all over the world: it’s name is porcelain stoneware, a material that was quick to demonstrate a high-level performance along with a considerably attractive appearance plus optimum efficiency in a multitude of different situations. Thus porcelain stoneware has acquired a leading position in the ceramic sector over the years.
Even in times when the market has become difficult, Casalgrande Padana has always confirmed a steady tendency to grow, as well as achieving significant increases in its turnover. Continuous expansion testified by statistics based on concrete facts. Nowadays, Casalgrande Padana is an extremely important enterprise on the international scene, one that strengthened its position to an even further extent when it recently acquired control of Riwal Ceramiche spa and its relative brand-names. Thanks to this manoeuvre, which marked a particularly significant phase of the group’s industrial history and expansion strategy, Casalgrande Padana now possesses a production capacity amounting to about 35 million square meters of ceramic tiles and numbers over 500 employees who work in six highly technological factories located in the ceramic district between Casalgrande, Maranello and Roteglia.
Constant research to achieve excellence
All phases of the manufacturing process are kept under constant control, from the time the raw materials are selected to the way they’re stored, then ground to form the mixture that’s moulded into tiles and fired. But these controls also include permanent monitoring of the production cycle, the extremely strict quality controls to which the outgoing product is subjected, the prompt technical information service, the efficient assistance service provided to professional users as they develop their projects. All this testifies to Casalgrande Padana’s daily commitment towards improving the manufacturing processes with a view to guaranteeing high quality standards for both product and service as part of constant research to achieve excellence.
A sustainability-oriented environmental policy
“Industrial development creates well-being and widespread wealth, but it can lead to negative impact on the environment. Sustainable development has now been accepted by leading industries as their guiding philosophy. I consider protecting the environment, the maximum possible level of occupational safety, high quality products and profitability to be priority factors of equal value”. These concepts, described by chairman Franco Manfredini, briefly but clearly outline the company’s environmental policy, it’s stand-point in relation to subjects like safeguarding nature, saving energy, using resources in a rational way, as well as its way of thinking and acting in such problematical spheres, i.e. Casalgrande Padana’s concrete commitment to sustainable development.
This commitment involves producing high-tech and environment-friendly ceramic materials and proposing pioneering solutions for contemporary architecture in a correct balance amongst economic growth, technological progress, respect for the natural resources, protection of the environment and social responsibility: these are the distinguishing features on which Casalgrande Padana’s corporate policy is based.
Knowing and responsible protagonist of this virtuous process, the company uses industrial installations, environmental and energy policy procedures that are decidedly directed towards sustainability. And this is testified by the declarations of suitability issued by the certification bodies in accordance with ISO 14001 and EMAS directives: two important goals interpreted and used by Casalgrande Padana as a means for achieving technological innovation and for constantly improving its environmental performance.
Besides possessing remarkable technical properties, Casalgrande Padana’s porcelain stoneware produces an even lower impact on the environment than other ceramic materials. Glaze-free and made exclusively from natural raw materials (different types of special clay with the addition of silica and feldspars), it is obtained by means of a closed-cycle manufacturing process where sophisticated antipollution equipment allow all the components to be recycled and reused, with substantially no emissions or dispersions.
Corporate social responsibility awarded with two important acknowledgements
Besides supporting and encouraging environmental safeguards, Casalgrande Padana fully agrees with the international guidelines directed towards Corporate Social Responsibility promoted by the UNO and by the European Union. Thus the company is constantly committed towards the creation of value with its stakeholders, towards fostering a sense of belonging to the territory in which it is situated and dialoguing with the local administrations as well as nurturing special projects.
An intense and on-going action that has achieved important results with the enterprises, associations and institutions involved in CSR, as testified by certain significant acknowledgements the company has recently received.
Casalgrande Padana’s “Loges” project won First Prize in the “Sodalitas Social Award 2006” for the “Innovation of socially and environmentally important product or service" category, while chairman Franco Manfredini was a 2005 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the year” finalist in the “Quality of Life” category for his “sensitivity towards protecting the environment, safety and health, and towards products for overcoming architectural barriers”. In both cases, the awards went to the commitment and, most especially, the results achieved by the company in its endeavour to establish strategies, projects and products able to do away with the problems resulting from the design of buildings, thus asserting the right of all citizens to obtain full access to public places.
For the “Environmental Enterprise Award”, Casalgrande Padana obtained a special mention in the “Best Management for sustainable development” category for “total integration of environmental subjects in the corporate processes, full involvement of the personnel in all ecocompatible management aspects, the propensity for sharing the model with other organizations”.
Alongside its research, production and sales promotion activities, Casalgrande Padana has considerably intensified its commitment throughout the years, towards supporting cultural initiatives of national and international importance. This has been done by sponsoring conferences, seminars, further training workshops, exhibitions and publications about design and architectural projects where the company works with important partners like the principal journals dedicated to the sector (such as Casabella), the Professional Rolls of Architects and Engineers, the Domus Academy, Cumulus, the Triennial Exhibition of Milan, Markitecture - Value in architecture, Confindustriaceramica and Cersaie. Along with Grand Prix, the international competition of architecture, these initiatives represent a fundamental heritage for the company’s business affairs.
Privileged relations with designers
Production and projects as a culture: this concept has always been a fundamental reference point for Casalgrande Padana's development strategies. Right from the time the company was founded, it has always established a deeply-felt spirit of collaboration with the public and private planning community, made up of architects, designers and artists.
Creative Book testifies to the company’s particular interest in architecture, design, innovation and technological research. Initially devised as a means for illustrating and promoting the Grand Prix competition, the volume has gradually developed into a sort of work tool for designers, also thanks to prestigious collaboration with the journal Casabella.
Casalgrande devised the Creative Centre for the same purpose. Recently inaugurated at the factory of Dinazzano, this Centre is a pioneering facility specifically dedicated to designers and dealer customers. It’s a place in direct contact with the factory where innovation and creative flair interact at the most different levels. It's a showroom-cum-communication outlet, provider of technical information and laboratory workshop in the fields of architecture, projects, design and production.
Designed by Studio Cerri Associati Engineering in accordance with sustainable architecture criteria, the Creative Centre was built with energy saving and pollution abatement in mind.
Another important communication tool, one that’s generally used for informing the designers, is “Percorsi in Ceramica” (Ceramic Tile Routes), a half-yearly magazine published by Casalgrande Padana which deals with subjects pertaining to the architectural project and design, new proposals concerning materials and their applications, the cultural initiatives and those of social interest sponsored by the company, its environmental policy and lots more besides.