Episode 7 — Connection

Artedomus’ Connection to the INAX Factories.
Key to the successful relationship between Artedomus and INAX is the connection to the individual factories themselves. With many factories being family-owned operations that work with INAX as their global distributor, visiting the factories has led to the cultivation of warm and productive relationships.

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One of the most interesting parts about working with INAX is that each of their factories is an independent business that offer up their ceramic tiles to INAX to be their global distributor,” says Phil Brenton, Artedomus managing director. “This means that they’ve all go their own design departments and do all of their own prototyping.” As a result, Artedomus discovered that there are many products that are not distributed widely, giving Artedomus an extraordinary access to new and unusual products. Additionally, this meant that by working with the factories directly, they could develop products exclusively for Artedomus to supply.

With Artedomus as a go-to supplier for architects and interiors designers seeking a specific colour or effect for a tile, working with the factories enables them to source the perfect product to suit the needs of a particular project. “The joy of dealing with a company like this one is they’re always willing to test samples and make samples for us,” says William Pearse, Artedomus Melbourne sales manager. Visiting the Naka factory, William shows a product that the factory manufactures as a standard, and then compares it with a very similar yet subtly different version of the same tile that is produced exclusively for Artedomus.

As well as this important product-focused reason for visiting the factories, it has led to close relationships with the people who own and work in the factories. “Sometimes we’ll have a bento box [for lunch] at one of the factories; we’re always looked after like very special guests,” says William. “All of them are family owned businesses, which are treasured by those families, and the people that work there. It’s like almost going into someone’s home but they’re also making something out the back. It’s a very special experience.”

“Japan has become a big part of our lives professionally and personally,” says Phil Brenton, Artedomus managing director. “It’s been fascinating to take people who haven’t seen this type of operation before to see these ceramic factories and see the things that we have found fascinating for a very long time.” For Matthew Croll, Artedomus Sydney sales manager, who always considered himself more focused on stone, the experience of travelling to Japan and witnessing the vast array of ceramics reinforced the unique benefits of tiles. “The ceramic world that is Japan and INAX, it’s effectively like making stone – a product that’s in fact even harder than a lot of stone, more durable, more refined.”

Above all, the visit to Japan exemplifies Artedomus’ driving belief in to not simply selling customers a product, but to educate them in the stories, traditions and practices that make the tile unique and high quality. as well as bringing back knowledge about some of the applications of tiles and ceramics in Japan that are not yet widespread in Australia. “To be able to do that for architects and designers, it builds that ongoing trust,” says Yassaman.

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Episode 1 — Beginning

Welcome to Japan.
Episode 1 introduces the series and sets the scene, introducing the Artedomus team and exploring their love of Japan and motivation for filming the most recent visit.

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Episode 2 — History

The Rich History of Mosaics in Japan.
Episode 2 delves into the Japanese tradition of ceramics, which is one of the oldest in the world. This long tradition is reflected in the architecture and design throughout Japan, and the way in which it has evolved over the centuries.

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Episode 3 — Symbolism

The Use and Symbolism of Tiles in Japan Today.
In Japan, not only do tiles have applications far beyond those that familiar in Western architecture and design, but the products themselves expand the definition of a tile.

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Episode 4 — Process

The Manufacturing Process & Engineering Elements.
The process by which natural clay is transformed into a beautiful and durable tile is the result of a manufacturing process that has its roots in centuries-old techniques. In a testament to the value of these traditional manufacturing methods, many factories in Japan today continue to use technologies and equipment that are very old.

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Episode 5 — Beauty

The Natural Beauty of Japanese Tiles.
In Episode 5 explores the influence of ‘wabi-sabi’, the Japanese principle of beauty in imperfection, and how this is seen in INAX ceramics. The subtle variation and layers of texture and colour that characterise these ceramics are intrinsic to the design and manufacturing processes, many of which are specific to individual family-owned ceramics factories.

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Episode 6 — Customisation

The Customisation of Tiles.
Episode 6 delves into how the close relationship with the INAX factories enables Artedomus to give Australian architects and designers unparalleled access to custom ceramics, and how the development of custom tiles has, in turn, informed the development of new ranges.

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Episode 7 — Connection

Artedomus’ Connection to the INAX Factories.
Key to the successful relationship between Artedomus and INAX is the connection to the individual factories themselves. With many factories being family-owned operations that work with INAX as their global distributor, visiting the factories has led to the cultivation of warm and productive relationships.

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Episode 8 — Ending

Journey’s End.
Coming to the end of a week-long visit to the Japan exploring the factories, traditions and uses of tiles in Japanese architecture and design, the Artedomus team is invigorated and excited to bring what they’ve seen and discovered back home to Australia.