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Sharka Tiles

Country
Bulgaria
Business type
Producer of ceramic and cement tiles
Investment
€10,000
Time
10 months
Design
Poststudio, Tochka & Tochka, Shevitza, Funkt Architects

Background

Bulgaria is a country with a thriving ceramic tile industry. But while manufacturers are known for their high quality products, they have been slow to modernise their designs or work with young design talent. As a result tile aesthetics in Bulgaria have remained distinctly traditional.

Sharka Tiles was founded in 2014 with the idea of inviting exciting Bulgarian designers to interpret traditional tile patterns into slick, contemporary designs that would appeal to new audiences.

How design helped

To create its first product range, Sharka commissioned four design studios to each interpret a visual motif from Bulgarian history. Graphic designers Poststudio worked from traditional national clothing, ceramic artists Tochka & Tochka were inspired by carpets from Chiprovtsi, art director Gergana Stankova (Studio Shevitza) drew on cross-stitched clothing ornaments and Funkt Architects developed a pattern based on ceramics from the Troyan region.

Upon release, Sharka’s first product line received overwhelming support from both the media and public alike. The range’s contemporary design aesthetic quickly became a unique selling point for the company and the main feature of its brand identity

Kitchen tiles designed by Poststudio

Outcome

  • 10% design investment recouped in company’s first four months
  • 11 popular new designs produced
  • 5 high profile press articles covering the product launch

As well as creating unique products for Sharka, the designers also brought with them media interest and an established fan base. Rather than struggling to find an audience, as many new companies do, Sharka’s affiliation with established designers gave them a distinct brand, industry presence and an almost immediate customer base.

As a result, Sharka is already looking to expand its product line with cement-based products using the successful ceramic tile designs.  Later in 2015 they will also be developing an all-new collection with guest designers from  the worlds of fashion and cinema.

Design has become the key selling point of Sharka products and the team is committed to keep collaborating with Bulgarian design talent.

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