Leading clay brick and paving manufacturer Corobrik continues to add to its existing product range with the launch of three exciting new face brick products. These are Vanilla Travertine, the first-ever so-called ‘white’ brick available in South Africa, and Vanilla and Honey face bricks with an artisanal finish that gives the appearance of a handmade texture.
The new range is also the first engobed bricks to come out of the Kwastina factory in Carletonville, says Corobrik Sales Director Ockert van Heerden. Engobes are colourants that mainly consist of clay minerals and oxides. Mixing them with water creates a liquid that is sprayed onto the unfired bricks as a thin layer. The engobes are then sintered firmly onto the surface. Engobe spots can cover the brick completely or partially.
The new face brick range is partly in response to local and global trends. “We take cues from around the world and from our own market. At the end of the day, we perceive architects as brand owners. They have their own identity, they challenge our factory, they test the limits. This is exactly what we want as a manufacturer,” says van Heerden.
Interestingly, the colour options available with engobe is entirely up to the imagination of the architect. The new range allows Corobrik to start a discussion about innovation and trends and for architects to approach it with any bespoke or unique requirements.
“It is quite difficult to replicate all sorts of colours in the traditional clay brick manufacturing process, whereas engobe allows us to match the colour preference as close as possible to whatever the customer is looking for,” says van Heerden. “What we hope to achieve with the launch of this new range is to encourage architects and designers and excite the profession as to what is possible.”
Corobrik’s flexibility allows it to accommodate both mega or high-volume developments to smaller orders where customers only want to do a section or even a portion of a house. “We have a minimum order quantity, but our volume flexibility will play a major role in the new range’s uptake,” says van Heerden. “It is all about the consistency of quality, the extent of play we have in the production, combined with our technology and available capacity.”
Commenting on the choice of the ‘white’ brick, van Heerden says this is traditionally difficult to achieve with a full body product. However, it was felt that white would complement the existing mono-coloured range, including Corobrik’s latest black brick. “It is a fairly neutral, relatively easy colour,” notes van Heerden. However, some architects may prefer other colours. “That is the beauty of engobe. Our flexibility means we do not have to hold significant stock of these line items and can make to order.”
The design potential of the white brick makes it ideal to be used in conjunction with a white mortar for a completely different look and feel. White brick is popular in residential developments in Europe and the US and is also often used in feature panels. Such a neutral colour is perfectly matched by Corobrik’s range of mono products from black to red and beige. “We have a wide range, and the white brick definitely complements that,” says van Heerden.
As for the Vanilla and Honey face bricks, these are influenced by the European trend for a heritage look, supplemented by the unique artisanal finish. Van Heerden says that the new products will be available on a national basis, with customers able to take advantage of Corobrik’s simple and flexible order process.