Two different (and smart) usage of licensing in the tiles market have come to our desk last week.
The first is probably the easiest one: Felix the Cat new range of tiles launched by the Italian company Del Conca in occasion of the 100th anniversary of the character in 2019. Born in 1919, Felix has been used recently by many lifestyle brands like Scotch and Soda, or Diadora x Bait, looking for a bit of pop and heritage, but seeing it at Cersaie, the global platform for bath, ceramics and contract and home furniture is somehow a surprise.
With manufacturers used to licensing and royalties just when it comes to designers’ work, the ceramic business very rarely expresses the standard usage of entertainment licensed characters. But Ceramica Del Conca, one of the major Italian ceramic companies, is not a newcomer, as Felix The Cat range comes fourth in a row of iconic properties, halfway between art and entertainment: Milo Manara, Valentina by Guido Crepax, and Lupin the Third.
Felix the Cat by Del Conca is treated in two ways: “the cat is back”, an iconic black and white series of tiles featuring popping- up details mixed with comics balloons, and “remember felix”, with a more hipster / heritage twist, softly coloured.
The second is an amazing usage of heritage symbols: a range of decorative wall and floor tiles inspired by London St. Pancras station’s designs, which will be launching in October with British Ceramic Tiles. St. Pancras Station will celebrate its 150th anniversary next year, with other licensed items like a IPA beer and a book. The style is subtler, with the tiles featuring motifs inspired by the cast iron structure of St. Pancras.
A tale about storytelling, and why adding new stories and iconic values to the menu is more and more important, even in the most traditional markets.