The magnificent seven Italian tile trends
Over 100,000 designers, installers, and buyers travel to the Cersaie show in Bologna, Italy each September to learn about cutting-edge products and technologies in the tile industry. Following are seven of the biggest Italian tile trends as seen in the hundreds of new collections from Ceramics of Italy member manufacturers at the 36th edition of Cersaie – and many of which you’ll see at Coverings in Orlando. The next edition of Cersaie is scheduled for September 23-27, 2019 in Bologna, Italy.
For years, Italian tile manufacturers have been expanding the definition of a product, offering specifiers a whole suite of surfacing tools around a single idea or design. At first, it was a range of colors, finishes, and sizes as well as complementing decors and trims. Now, with continued investment in production equipment, many companies are expanding their range of thicknesses – and thus applications – with tiles ranging from 3-30mm including a new 12mm thick porcelain tile specifically designed for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, tables and outdoor kitchens. Shown (clockwise from top left): Emilgroup Level; Atlas Concorde Atlas Plan; Ariana Bath Design; FLORIM Stone; and La Fabbrica, Ca’ Foscari.
From three-dimensional tiles that look like giant Lego bricks (Marca Corona’s Bold) to popular cartoons illustrated on ceramic (Del Conca’s Felix the Cat), when projects call for playfulness, Italian tile answers in full. Companies are continuously experimenting with color, size and patterns to create one-of-a-kind surfacing for architects and designers. They also offer tailor made solutions like Ornamenta’s ability to print large porcelain slabs in any Pantone color. Shown (clockwise from top left): Caesar Core; Del Conca Felix the Cat; Leonardo Ashima; Marca Corona Bold.
Moving beyond common varieties of stone like Carrara, Statuario, and Travertine, Italian tile producers are scouting quarries throughout the world to find obscure marble, full of color and character. Additionally, they are digitally manipulating the look of natural stone to create something that is literally out-of-this-world. For Sicis’ ever-evolving Vetrite collection, the enchanting magic of 13 gemstones is captured and amplified in between giant sheets of glass to create lunar-like landscapes for the Gem Glass line. Meanwhile, Refin Stardust combines the nebulous veining of alabaster with elegant metallic surface effects to create a line of porcelain tiles inspired by the nighttime sky. Shown (clockwise from top left): Ceramiche Piemme Majestic Valentino; Cotto d’Este Vanity; Emilceramica Tele di Marmo; Fire Transalp; and Atlas Concorde Marvel Edge.
Whether soft or electric, blue is one of the hottest hues in tile design this year, offering a revitalizing pop of color to a variety of interiors. Some, like Cedit’s Rilievi sculptural ceramic wallcoverings, are the kind of hyper blue associated with contemporary artists Yves Klein and Frida Kahlo. Others, like Refin Creos and Provenza Vulcanika, conjure the feeling of vacation and the shallow teal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Shown (clockwise from left): Casa Dolce Casa Artwork; Francesco de Maio Blu Ponti; Cedit Rivieli; and Colli Fes.
Italians are known for their rich artistic heritage, which is rendered on big porcelain slabs with minimal grout lines to create the alluring effect of wallpaper, with the technical benefits of ceramic. In fact, some companies are even marketing their products as ceramic wallpaper, offering an expansive catalog of patterns digitally printed on tiles up to 5.25’ x 10’. One example is ABK, who introduced Dark Edition as a capsule collection inspired by the Gothic side of nature for its ever-expanding Wide & Style line. Another company is Fuoriformato who offers an explosion of color and pattern on large, ceramic surfaces that can also be used as furnishing elements. Shown (clockwise from top left): Casalgrande Padana Onici; Stile Italia Extra; Vallelunga Sospiri; Unica Garden; and Panaria Even.
Tile producers have completely upped the style ante in terms of surface design, which can be seen in dozens of awe-inspiring, new finishes and textures designed for aesthetics as well as functionality. Two collections that artfully demonstrate this trend as well as ceramic tiles’ chameleon capabilities include Ceramica Sant’Agostino Lakewood that conjures oiled wood planks with a hand planed surface and Vallelunga Cava, whose marble design and satin finish looks like an ancient European church floor. Shown (clockwise from top left on page 76): Made+39 Cube; Marazzi Eclettica; Fap Lumina; Ceramica Sant’Agostino Lakewood; and Campani Divinae.
From ancient forms and 18th century patterns to tiles inspired by charming places seemingly stuck in time, Italian tile manufacturers are finding creative ways to make the old feel new again. Mixed and matched patterns, like those of 14oraitaliana’s Folk and Ceramica Sant’Agostino’s Vita collections, evoke the imagery and vibrant colors of Italy’s most famous and beloved territories. Fioranese’s Liquida slabs resemble 1950s-style wallpaper, while the earthy tones and textured surfaces of Provenza’s Terraquea collection recall traditional terracotta ware. Designed with nostalgic sentiments, each of these collections combines the aesthetic and cultural qualities of the past with the technological innovations of today. Shown (clockwise from left): Ceramica Sant’Agostino Vita; Rondine Swing; and Marazzi D_Segni.