fbpx

Tile of Spain companies present the latest in products and innovations at the 38th edition of CEVISAMA

Tile of Spain manufacturers returned to Spain in February to bring their latest productions and innovations to CEVISAMA, the International Fair for Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings. This year’s annual show took place from February 3rd to February 7th, 2020 and was held the Feria Valencia center in Valencia Spain. 


State of the industry

During the Tile of Spain Press Conference held at CEVISAMA (pictured), Vicente Nomdedeu, the president of The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association (ASCER), highlighted the 2019 production, sales and exports figures that reflect the strength of Spain’s industrial sector.

The Spanish tile industry surpassed the levels of success of those obtained in 2018 with overall sales increasing by 4%. With approximately 75% of all sales made abroad, Spain currently exports to 185 countries worldwide with a total export growth of 3% since 2018. 

Featured trends for 2020

The 38th edition of CEVISAMA saw 800 exhibitors showcase their new collections to over 90,000 industry professionals from all over the world. With no shortage of new styles to inspire interior and exterior design, following are the most prominent trends and innovations on display by Tile of Spain USA’s featured companies at CEVISAMA 2020:

Modern metallics 

Neutral tones enhanced by metallic motifs will shine strong this year. The iridescent reflections seen in the Akila collection from Azteca (pictured), Stardust collection from Fanal, Iron 4D collection from Museum and Grespania’s Patina collection bring an edge of luxury and reflect natural light to visually expand a space.

Artful inspirations 

Geometric patterns and eccentric graphics make their way back to the forefront of tile design after years of toned-down styles. Whimsical looks including Vives’ art deco-inspired Pop collection (pictured), Aparici’s Altea collection, and Arcana’s uniquely-designed wood-look collection Komi, make bold statements and turn spaces into true works of art.

Calming colors 

Soft pastels and soothing hues were in abundance at CEVISAMA this year. Travel from Emotion Ceramics, Clash by Rocersa, and the Bow collection from Harmony (pictured) gradually shift away from the neutral color palette that has been in high demand over the past few years and subtly bring color to interiors. Muted pinks, blues and greens visually enrich environments and lend a relaxing atmosphere.

Three dimensional details 

Not just colors and patterns are making waves in 2020. Curved ridges and beveled surfaces to concaved details, manufacturers are experimenting with texture and dimension that quite literally raise the bar in interior design. Wall tiles like the Donna collection by Peronda, the Underground collection from Keraben Grupo (pictured), and Natucer’s custom D’Autore series expertly portray this unique trend to create a one-of-a-kind look.

Resurgence of shapes and decorative tiles

Iconic and bespoke-shaped tile stood out among its conventional counterparts at CEVISAMA. The shapes featured in Cevica’s Chintz collection (pictured), Roca Tile’s Rockart collection, Apavisa’s Intuition collection and Onix’s Hex XL collection allow for more interesting layouts and bring a sense of sophistication to designs that have not been seen in recent years.

A return to traditional formats

In contrast to unique shapes, traditional formats were in abundance with a return of subway tile in small and square formats. New collections including Pierre by Small Size, Delice by Gayafores, and Antiqva by Equipe (pictured) offer both interior and exterior solutions for all types of surfaces.

To view a brief video highlighting these trends and more from CEVISAMA 2020, visit https://bit.ly/320TI8W

Trans-Hitos exhibit

The Trans-Hitos Exhibition of Ceramics for Architecture celebrated its 15th anniversary at CEVISAMA in a series of three impressive projects entitled “IDENTITY”. The annual Trans-Hitos exhibit was sponsored by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) and coordinated by the Habitat Area of the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC).

“IDENTITY” (pictured) reflects on the use of ceramic tile as a material for global use in architecture since the 18th century. Ceramic tile serves as a link both culturally and technologically, accomplishing a relevant role as a functional and aesthetic material that has left a legacy in the history of art and architecture grandiose works that still, to this day, are reference points for the whole world. 

More information on the Trans-Hitos exhibit is available at http://bit.ly/TransHitos2020. For more information on CEVISAMA and Tile of Spain manufacturers, visit http://www.tileofspainusa.com.

Be prepared for a burst of color to inspire and uplift you with TRENDS 2020

Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers.  And style is what you choose.”  — Lauren Hutton

In a few days I will fly out to Las Vegas for TISE, but I’ve just finished compiling content for the TRENDS issue that encapsulates what you’ll see at the Coverings show. And wow, you are in for a treat. Be prepared for a burst of color to inspire and uplift you. Yes, color is becoming more of a “thing” in tile again – along with the beautiful, classic creaminess of natural Cararra and Calacatta marble and the multitude of porcelain marble mimicry you will find as you go into 2020. And color is also celebrated in our A&D story about Allison Eden, owner of Allison Eden studios, a high-end glass mosaic designer in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her story – and her whole being – exudes energy and enthusiasm and her tile designs reflect that as well. 

Joe Lundgren brings a broad overview of what’s shaking in tile style, as well as an exploration of the arc in the life of a trend and how that affects what’s available. In our Sales Pulse story, select distributors give you insight into what’s happening in their regions across the country. And Donato Pompo of CTaSC talks about the timelessness that natural stone brings to the table.

Amidst the fashions from Italy and Spain in this issue, Industry Ambassador Alena Capra’s mini trend report in her welcome letter, and two product sections packed with the newest tile and stone trends on the market, we took some time to visit with NTCA contractors to determine what essential tools help them create flawless installations that stand the test of time. 

And what home trends are impacting the use of ceramic and porcelain tile? Check out details from the Houzz 2020 Kitchen Study for some insight into tile applications in the coming year. 

All in all, we have some exciting things percolating in the world of tile and stone in 2020. We hope this TRENDS issue whets your appetite for sampling tasty new tile treats and savory stone offerings amidst the culinary wonder that is New Orleans, home of Coverings 2020. See you at the show!

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Customers clamor for color, size and marble looks

As trends heat up in the beginning of 2020, we take a look at what’s selling in different regions of the country.

At Arley, beige and color are taking prominence in the market. Shown is the Qualis Palace Ceramica series.

NE/SE/MW: Arley Wholesale

We start with Arley Wholesale, headquartered in Scranton, Pa., with a broad territory that covers northeast states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland; Midwest states of, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio; and southeast states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. 

Scott Levy, president of Arley, said that beige and color both are becoming more important in the market, with customers cherry picking from product lines to create more “eclectic and unique installations than in years past. Marble is still popular but stone looks that use digital technology and glazes to heighten authentic looks are really the main direction now. And though traditional formats are the big sellers, larger formats are gaining importance.”  

When it comes to installation products and contractor habits, Levy observed that “installers are migrating to the better products.” Premixed grouts simplify and expedite installation by eliminating issues that come with mixing with water such as component ratio and temperature. They also allow an installer to do larger areas with a guarantee of color matching,” he said. “The larger format tiles necessitate using better mortars and installers have responded.  The slight cost upgrade is negated by the quality and speed of the job with no callbacks.”

Midwest/Flyover States: Virginia Tile

With a slight overlap with Arley’s territory, Virginia Tile distributes to Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Sean Cilona, Virginia Tile’s new Director – Products & Suppliers – gives us insight into what is selling in this part of the country. 

Larger formats are gaining ground in Virginia Tile territory as in this Arpege line by Cerdomus. 

He’s observed that acceptance for ceramic tile application in areas outside of kitchens and baths is starting to slowly emerge in the flyover states.

Glossy and matte wall tiles are turning heads, in elongated formats, larger-sized subway tile like 8” x 20” and larger square wall tile. Formats other than planks are breathing new life into wood looks, and conversely rectangle looks in non-wood designs are gaining favor. Travertine and traditional wood looks are gaining ground, as are larger square and rectangle formats. 

Cilona says natural stone is fading, since better technology is bringing even more realism to manufactured slabs, and cost and care create concerns. Commodity wood in smaller formats is waning, and 12” x 24” sizes – long a favored format – are going the way of the 12” x 12” as bigger formats gain prominence. 

Florida and Caribbean: D&B Tile Distributors

At D&B, hex formats provide interest without being too outlandish. Pictured is Atlas Concorde Marvel Edge Calacatta Gold Hex. 

With respect to the south Florida market, D&B Tile Distributors CEO Harold Yarborough said expanded formats larger than 24” x 48” are percolating, beating out sales of the traditional 24” x 24” tiles – even for bathrooms. And hex formats are giving customers something different without it being outlandish or overwhelming. In terms of shapes, “Different types of mosaics with new innovative shapes in glass or ceramic,” are getting attention.   

The porcelain Calacatta look is sweeping the country in a range of formats. Shown are Marvel Grey Fluery rectified tile from Atlas Concorde and Salsa glass tile from Crossville on the back wall.

Yarborough said the porcelain Calacatta look is sweeping the country in all formats, and is very strong in Florida. 

Wood is being used in innovative ways in Yarborough’s market, such as “wood-look porcelain being used on exterior vertical surfaces for high-end residential and commercial buildings,” he said. But although the wood-look is still popular overall, sales are flat, he reported. Larger sizes of wood planks and formats that take wood beyond the traditional are keeping the look alive. Overall, though, tile is king in Florida. 

Wood is being used in innovative ways in the Florida market. Here’s Atlas Concord’s Arbor in Cognac, from D&B Tile Distributors. 

“Our customer base will run tile throughout the house and into the bedrooms and the living space outside,” he said. 

In terms of setting materials, Yarborough said, “Due to the large format tiles, we are selling the LHT type mortars.” Ready-to-use grouts, which D&B values and has been selling since they hit the market years ago, are still a struggle with less-openminded tile setters. 

Also up and coming in D&B’s market are “manufacturers promoting the waterproof shower systems that improve the overall shower experience to the builder or consumer,” he said. “The issue is getting municipalities to approve these systems. This system will continue to grow.” 

CA: Westside Tile and Stone

Mathew Weiner of Westside Tile and Stone, Canoga Park, Calif., described the conditions on the West Coast, with a booming Los Angeles housing market. “The tile industry continues to evolve to accommodate everyone’s taste,” he said. Many home owners are spending more time in their homes and want to create an oasis in their bathroom and a kitchen that will make their friends and neighbors drool. With the increasingly abundant tile options available in the marketplace, sustainable goods are becoming more sought out along with unique materials that will differentiate one installation from the next.”

Bold colors and ceramic patterns are gracing West Coast new and remodeled homes, like this Euphoria from Sonoma Tilemakers, available at Westside Tile and Stone. 

Though ceramic tiles, Carrara marble or white marble porcelain slabs reign supreme, Weiner is “happy to see bold colors and patterns starting to pop up.” New construction and remodeled homes vie for ceramic tile in a wide array of colors and patterns installed in traditional and contemporary layouts including chevron, herringbone or staggered brick. 

In the LA region, Carrara marble is a unique, timeless blend of colors and tones that is as “popular as ever in a variety of sizes, finishes and mosaics that allow it to be used in all sorts of residential applications,” Weiner said. It’s used in kitchens and bathrooms to bring a beautiful blend of cool and warm tones that blend and bridge styles together. 

The popularity of Carrara marble has also spawned a vast array of porcelain look alikes made even more authentic and by varied digital-print technology. “Just like the wood-looking tiles, these marble-looking tiles allow for easy maintenance without having to worry about staining or discoloration that can occur with real marble,” he said.

Speaking of porcelain, Weiner said “porcelain slabs have taken the market by storm,” especially for homeowners who choose to remodel their homes with large porcelain slabs that create stunning effects in showers. “The advantage of porcelain slabs is not only the jaw-dropping effect of having large pieces of seamless tile in your shower, but also the cost advantage versus purchasing real marble slabs,” he said, also citing how durable they are and easy they are to clean. “With the higher demand of porcelain slabs taking over the market, we’re seeing a multitude of marble-looking as well as onyx-looking slabs in the marketplace that fit every style and need for the market.” 

Residential customers are clamoring for natural Carrara marble in a range of sizes, finishes and mosaics, like this selection of natural marble from Artistic Tile. 
Carrara marble lookalikes, like this porcelain slab from Apavisa, are popular at Westside Tile and Stone. 

The impact of LVT

The tile industry is feeling the impact of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) development – but just how much is it really influencing sales?

In much of the country, LVT IS affecting sales, with Cilona saying the wood plank business is experiencing the most negative effect. But distributors are getting creative on fighting this competition. 

Arley’s Levy said, “We are promoting the Why Tile campaign and working with our customers to show why tile is a better and long-term more economical option than LVT.”

D&B’s Yarborough admitted that LVT is encroaching on commercial and residential sales, saying “It is here to stay until customers understand the limitations of it. It is a cheap flooring solution like carpet…a short-term solution to tile.”

On the West Coast, LVT isn’t having a tremendous impact, said Westside’s Weiner. For some of Westside’s LVT-leaning customers, the distributor is “able to show them the true benefits of tile versus that product.”

The lack of durability is an issue, he added. “Most of the areas that have installed LVT after awhile have lots of scratches, and tremendous wear, frankly leading to having to be replaced much faster than if tile was installed. The most important aspect is for us to educate our clients on what is needed for their application and not necessarily a price factor.” 

Mara Heras, Vice President of Marketing for Emser, chimed in, adding that LVT “has created confusion around ‘waterproof.’ End users and consumers need to understand that although the product itself is waterproof that does not mean the installation is waterproof.”

There’s reason to continue to have confidence in ceramic and porcelain tile. “We continue to drive home the message of quality and longevity and applications that LVT cannot perform in,” Cilona said. “As we see this rush of commercial business being driven to lower cost products like LVT, I believe that in a few years, the failure of those products to stand up to the demands of the applications will drive those customers back to ceramic tile. I think that products like LVT do have a value and position in the market, but I believe that in an effort to grow in an environment of cost savings, they have been oversold.” 

The Italian Connection

Cersaie generates new products; NTCA Five Star Contractors review the show

By Lesley Goddin

The 30th edition of the annual Cersaie show attracted a record number of international visitors to Bologna in late September. Some of those international attendees were four NTCA Five Star Contractors who traveled to Bologna to tour the Laminam plant and powwow with Crossville and Laminam personnel. These contractors gave jobsite perspectives on installation methods and approaches to the new Laminam by Crossville reduced-thickness/thin tile Crossville is importing exclusively into the U.S. (see related story in the January 2013 issue).

One couldn’t be in Bologna and miss the show, so our four contractors – Dan Welch, Welch Tile, James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co., and Martin Howard and Chris Walker, with David Allen Company (DAC) –toured Cersaie, as well.

Contractors were thrilled with the opportunity to experience the international show, and to visit factories that produce innovative tile technology.

“I love going to Cersaie because I love Italian food, wine, cheese, cars, the countryside and history!” said DAC’s Martin Howard. “Oh yes, and then there are the beautiful tile, colors and design options that can turn one’s mind loose with creativity.

“Cersaie is definitely a buyers show, but the networking and contacts one can make are very beneficial,” Howard added. “It is possible to get an advance look at the next big look that’s coming or research new technologies like thin tile or ventilated façade systems.”

Another benefit of the show was the ability to compare construction similarities and differences as they relate to tile installation. DAC’s Chris Walker appreciated “the opportunity to view the work in progress modules being performed by skilled tile setters, which reinforced the difference between the U.S. methods and the European methods, since almost all substrates in Europe are mudbed.”

Dan Welch, a first-time visitor to Cersaie, was intrigued with lighted pre-manufactured expansion joints, as was James Woelfel, another first-timer, who said, “This could help in the U.S., as they add an architectural ingredient to necessary movement joints.” Of the show itself, Woelfel remarked, “I was very excited to go to Cersaie for the first time. The tile booths were more lavish than Coverings, as the show is much bigger.”

 

Trends

Seen on the Cersiae showroom floor were these major design trends, coming soon to a showroom near you:

  • Mix and match: patchwork tiles and varying color, size and material in one collection.
  • Antibacterial/self-cleaning and eco-friendly
  • Encaustic and majolica looks: bold solid colors and large sizes, patchwork effects and vintage encaustic looks, now created by high-tech printing
  • Planks: wood and cement looks dominate in this trend
  • Ceramic fabric and textile-derived aesthetics: plaid, silk, lace, tweed, damask and more can all be evoked by today’s tiles.
  • Installation made easy: new installation systems included clip systems for 2 cm thick porcelain tiles, quick-laying floors and monolithic porcelain slabs,  thick 20mm tiles which offer an incredibly high breakage load (up to 2,000 pounds) and can be dry-laid on grass, gravel, dirt, and cement without grout or adhesives.
  • Size matters: reduced-thickness/thin tiles and giant slabs are proliferating at an accelerated rate as acceptance of this new technology grows.
  • Digital printing: ink-jet technology continues to expand the possibilities for surface decoration.
  • Celebrity designers: artists, graphic designers and material architects are working with tile’s graphic potential and synergy with fixtures and accessories.

The next Cersaie show in Bologna will be September 24-28, 2013. Visit www.cersaie.it/eng/ for more information about the show.

2012 CERSAIE TILE TREND REPORT

At the end of September, thousands of visitors – including a record number of international attendees – descended upon Bologna to see the latest designs and technical innovations from ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings manufacturers from around the world. The 30th edition of Cersaie served up a visual feast of pattern and color with geometric graphics, intentionally random patterns, and encaustic-inspired tiles filling the aisles. In terms of shapes, hexagons, squares and planks were popular while super slim (3-4mm) and thick (20mm) were also in. LEED-compliant and Ecolabel certified tiles were on the rise in addition to new sustainable initiatives such as antibacterial, anti-pollution and self-cleaning ceramics.

Mix & Match

Giving designers an opportunity for increased self-expression and creative freedom, many companies introduced patchwork tiles and compositions of varying color, size and material in one collection.

“Minoo” is Marcel Wander’s third decorative tile collection for Bardelli that was intentionally designed for patchwork. The ornate 8”x8” porcelain floor tiles are available in five silkscreen patterns reminiscent of Persian rugs and a range of four neutral and rich colors.The company also launched two new lines by Davide Pizzigoni designed to be mixed and matched. “Orchestra” is a set of 15 4”x4” glossy white wall tiles, each with a different musical instrument, while “Ventagli” features a colorful array of fans on 16”x16” glossy white wall tiles.

For Mosaico+, renowned mosaic artist (and former creative director of Bisazza), Carlo Dal Bianco, used mosaics from the company’s various lines to create a series of new decorations. For “Lacquer” and Inlay”, he used iridescent mosaics from the Perle collection and square glass chips from Concerto to invoke ancient Chinese dynasties. Also of note is “Cloud” designed by Aki Motoyama for Brix, consisting of square tiles in five different sizes that appear to float on the surface.

Casamood offers a rich palette of mixable colors and surfaces with “Materia Project.” Inspired by everything from rough cement walls to irregular panes of glass, the collection features eight colors and six surfaces with matching grout that can be coordinated or mixed and matched. Provenza “Inessence” looks like a collection of different recycled materials from recycled oak to a stone-cement mix while Fioranese “Blend” melds the look of concrete, colored wood and even cardboard. Viva “Statale 9” also offers a full package of urban looks – from square tiles that look like stone-cement to ceramic planks inspired by water stained and stripped wood. In addition, Ariana “Convivium” is freely inspired by different natural surfaces from the timeworn artisanal appeal of terracotta to the modern character of concrete.

In terms of stone looks, Cerdisa “Archistone”, Ceramiche Campogalliano “Rox” and Floor Gres “Floortech 1.0” offer a wide range of stones to choose from. LaFaenzaCeramica “Pretiosa” is a glazed porcelain tile collection featuring a mix of natural stone looks tied together by a single chromatic range while the design of Marca Corona’s “Planet” tiles are inspired by a mixture of stones. With “Stonebox”, Emilceramica gives designers two options to choose from: 36 different types of marbles and natural stones (“Stonebox Concept”) or 40 different graphic variations of the grey tau stone (“Stonebox Basic”). Ergon goes a step further by presenting both sides of the cut stone in one collection. “Back2Back” features both the rich and elegant front side and the rough and minimal backside, available in three colors and three formats.

For a mixed color palette, Ceramica Sant’Agostino’s“Abita” collection of 8”x24” white body wall tiles are available in a diamond effect version in three chromatic mixes of beige, lilla and menta. Ceramica Vogue alsolaunched two innovative collections focused on color: “Transparenze Mix” with a glossy surface and 17 color options; and “Interni Mix”, available in a range of 21 colors, each containing a random patchwork of three shades of color.

To create a mixed wood effect, Impronta’s “Listone D” collection comes in an 18”x36” Patchwork module. Meanwhile, Emilceramica uses HD technology to transform photographs of 50 fossilized wood blocks into the “Petrified Tree” collection. “Bark” reproduces the bark of fossilized wood with a rough-hewn, anti-slip finish while “Core” (in a natural or polished finish) reinterprets the petrified core of wood.

Industry First: Philippe Starck plays with the idea of joints for his first-ever ceramic tile collection for the Italian manufacturer Ceramica Sant’Agostino. The joint, which is typically minimalized or hidden entirely, becomes a central feature and decorative modular element for “Flexible Architecture.” It can be specified on one to four sides of the tile or on no sides at all to create an endless array of architectural compositions. A variety of thicknesses (7mm and 12mm), surfaces (matte and glossy) and colors (white, yellow, grey and greige) also add to the product’s flexibility.

Antibacterial & Self-Cleaning

Ceramic tile is naturally hygienic and contains no VOCs that release gas prior to, during, or after installation. On top of that, Italian manufacturers continue to innovate and partner with biotech companies to offer products that actively contribute to a person’s health. Demonstrating this trend was the presence of many antibacterial, antipollution and self-cleaning ceramics at the show.

Fincibec announced the launch of “Antibact” – a proprietary antibacterial technology that significantly enhances the sanitizing effects during cleaning and does not require sunlight to be activated. “Technica” by Century is the first tile collection from the Fincibec Group that features this technology. The LEED-compliant porcelain tiles are available in six colors, three modular rectified formats and four different finishes.

As part of the company’s “CaesarTech” division focused on innovative solutions for the building industry, Ceramiche Caesar introduced a new triple-action antibacterial treatment for its ceramic tiles called “Care24”. It can be used on outdoor walls and floors and for various indoor uses. Meanwhile, Refin announced that its “Cromie” collection is now available with a special Ecosan24 treatment. Using titanium dioxide charged with active metallic elements, the tiles are anti-polluting, self-cleaning on ventilated wall facades, and sanitizing even without light.

Mirage launched a new tile collection especially useful for the residential sector that provides “zero maintenance decking.” Treated with a special Hy-Pro24 process, the 24”x24”x¾” porcelain “Sundeck” tiles have antibacterial and antipollution properties equal to a medium-sized tree for every square meter of tile. Panaria, Lea Ceramiche and Cotto d’Este, all part of the Panaria Group, also offer antibacterial floor and wall tiles for residential and commercial applications.

Industry First: Casalgrande Padana unveiled “Bios Self Cleaning Ceramics” that uses HYDROTECT technology from the Japanese brand, TOTO, to create self-cleaning, anti-bacterial and pollution-reducing tiles. The HYDROTECT coating contains two active agents: titanium dioxide, which is photo-catalytic; and a well-balanced formulation of metals that offer antibacterial and antivirus properties. The technology is especially useful for exterior cladding and can be applied to all Casalgrande Padana products.

Encaustic & Majolica Looks

Square ceramic tiles with bold, solid colors and mesmerizing patterns could be seen in every corner of the show. Some companies introduced traditional majolica motifs in new blown-out sizes and patchwork effects while others were inspired by vintage encaustic tiles with a timeworn appearance. In either case, Italian companies are using high-tech printing to put a contemporary spin on a handcrafted process, invoking the character and old world charm of these historic tiles.

One of the collections that embody this trend is “Azulej” – the latest porcelain tiles designed by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina. Inspired by ancient handcrafted majolica made of hydraulic cement, the 8”x8” glazed porcelain tiles are available in three neutral base colors (white, light grey and dark grey) in a choice of nine patterns or as a combination of 27 different designs. The result is a deliberately random patchwork of tiles for floors and walls, both indoors and out. Another avant-garde example is the Majolica pattern of Refin’s “Frame” collection. Designed by graphic design firm Studio FM, the large 30”x30” square tiles feature traditional decors from majolica tiles of the 19th and 20th centuries but presented in a more graphic light.

Fap Ceramiche also offers a colorful Maiolica décor as part of its “Base” collection while Ceramiche Supergres completes its “Smart Town” line of porcelain tiles with a Marmette décor. Viva’s“Statale 9” Pittura tiles and a few of ImolaCeramica’s “Habitat” decors look like decorative cement tiles while “Docks Combi” by ABK features a patchwork composition of 16 8”x8” tiles with an encaustic look. Similarly, “Amarcord” by Ceramica Faetano is a collection of 8”x8” ceramic tiles that reinterprets antique encaustic floors with an invigorating mix of 12 patterns in various shades of white, brown and blue. “Vintage” by Cerim, “Cotto Vogue” by Cir and “Concept” by Ragno are a few other collections featuring this unique look.

Planks

As the market moves towards longer slabs, tile companies are responding with a range of plank-sized tiles – some as long as six feet! Though wood is still a popular design choice, manufacturers are also offering these new plank sizes with their stone and concrete inspired collections as well.

“Sunrock” by Atlas Concorde, a doppelganger for Travertine, is available in a range of formats including 6”x36” and 9”x36” while Coem’s “Pietra del Friuli”, inspired by stones found in the northeast of Italy, also comes in a 6”x36” plank size. ImolaCeramica’s“Vein” collection, that looks like vein-cut or cross-cut marble, is also offered in a trendy 6”x36” plank size.

ABK “Soleras” is a collection of porcelain tiles inspired by the wooden staves from barrels used for “Criaderas y Soleras” – a technique for aging prestigious wines and spirits such as sherry, madeira and brandy. With a beautiful patina, the tiles are available in two plank sizes with a hand-planed appearance. Other porcelain planks with a hand-planed effect include: “Root” by Ceramiche Caesar; “Planks” by Ascot; “Silvis” by Cotto d’Este; and “AllWays” by Mirage.

For Roberto Cavalli’s newest collection for Ricchetti, he reinterpreted the wood planks from his Florentine home into a series of 39” long porcelain tiles in six different wood looks. “Nuances” from Fap Ceramiche is also offered in a range of six wood designs and is the first time the company is producing a porcelain tile collection intended for floors and walls.

Lea Ceramiche uses sophisticated digital printing techniques to reproduce the knots and grain of various woods for its new “Bio Plank”collection. Available as 48” long (and 6” or 8” wide) planks, the tiles are available with antibacterial protection for indoor environments and a special anti-slip deck finish for outdoors. “Atelier” by Marca Corona, “Newood” by Casalgrande Padana and “Plank” by LeonardoCeramica are a few other plank sized tiles that come in a special grip finish for outdoor installations.

Lighter-colored wood such as oak was another popular trend at Cersaie and served as the basis of many ceramic plank collections. Ceramiche Caesar “Wabi” is inspired by oak and offered in three 48” long plank sizes with a matte, textured, or saw-cut finish. Refin “Trail” also recalls the look of oak in eight shades and comes in plank sizes as long as five feet. “Tree” by Ceramica Sant’Agostino and “Signum” by Coem are other collections featuring an elegant oak option.

Additional tile collections offered in plank sizes include: “Vintage” by Settecento; “Seasons” by Serenissima; “Mywood” by Cisa Ceramiche; “Cottage Wood” by Fioranese; “Listone D” by Impronta; “Woodstyle” by Ragno; “Treverkatelier” by Marazzi; “Echo” by Monocibec; and “La Premiere” by Ceramiche Supergres.

Industry First: Floor Gres and Rex introduced impressive six-foot long ceramic planks with the formwork cement-inspired “Reverse” and oak-inspired “Selection Oak” collections, respectively.

Ceramic Fabric

The influence of fashion on the world of interiors could be seen in this year’s influx of tactile collections. From the femininity of lace to the luxurious sheen of silk, many ceramic tile manufacturers launched new collections inspired by the texture or appearance of a variety of fabrics.

Raw Edge’s second collection for Mutina called “Tex” is a rich, three-dimensional and multi-colored collection of 4.5”x8” rhombus-shaped glazed porcelain tiles. Each of the eight available colors is made up of three shades and a range of textures taken from textiles that are randomly mixed. “I Tessuti” is another designer collection, created by Elena Strafella for Cottoveneto, which features an interesting fabric-inspired composition of micromosaics. The range of decors includes: Scottish; Tweed; Shantung; Tartan; and Twill.

From the pizzo décor of Cerdisa’s “Archistone” tiles to the new “Décor Lace Flowers” composition from Mosaico+, lace is still a fashionable muse for designers. Novabell also pays homage to the material with its “Rainbow” and “Ravello” white body ceramic wall tiles while the Canapa décor of its new “Energy” collection is an interesting rendition of a 1970s textile print.

Other fabric-inspired products getting rave reviews include Marazzi’s “Silkstone” line whose decorative ceramic wall tiles are inspired by Indian saris, Japanese kimonos, tulle and silk and the knit pattern of “Studies in Gouache” by Lea Ceramiche whose repetitive weave is intoxicating. In addition, Fap Ceramiche’s “Supernatural” Charme décor recalls the look of quilted fabrics, creating elegant and luxurious surfaces.

Installation Made Easy

From 2cm thick porcelain tiles to clip systems and quick laying floors, Italian companies offer a variety of products that make the installation process easier than ever. Monolithic porcelain slabs were especially popular at this year’s show with a large number of tile producers adding a 20mm option to their collections. Twice as thick as most tiles, they have the same benefits as regular porcelain tiles but with an incredibly high breakage load (up to 2,000 pounds) and can be dry laid on grass, gravel, dirt, and cement without grout or adhesives.

One of the first companies to introduce ¾” thick porcelain tiles with its Compact 20 range, Tagina now offers five tile collections in this monolithic size. Novabell’s “Avant” collection is also available in a heavy-duty 20mm paving version in a 24”x24” format and special R12 anti-slip finish while Ceramiche Keope’s “Pecorsi SMART” tiles are available in five stone looks and a 24”x24”x¾” size. Available in large modular formats, Pastorelli’s new “Quartz Design” series is 2cm thick and features the same sparkling reflections as quartz flecks. “Sunrock” from Atlas Concorde, based on the look of Travertine stone, is the newest addition to the company’s “Lastra 20mm” line while Marca Corona “Stone Line” and Cerdisa “T20 Project” are both available in a 2cm thickness and grip finish for outdoors.

In addition to monolithic porcelain slabs that look like stone, Mirage offers two wood-look collections – “AllWays” and “Sundeck” – that come in a 2cm outdoor version while Floor Gres’ new cement-inspired “Industrial” line is available in three thicknesses including a 20mm bush hammered edition.

Offering another veritable revolution for the building and construction industry, “Del Conca Fast” is a new, patented system for quick laying ceramic floors. Suitable for residential and light commercial projects, the system creates a new floor in a matter of hours without joints, adhesives or grout. It is currently available with Del Conca’s “Monte Napoleone” collection that mimics wood in two planks sizes (6”x48” and 8”x48”) and four colors.

For tiles that do require grout, MAPEI introduced a revolutionary new epoxy grout that makes installation cleanup trouble-free. Available in eight colors, “Kerapoxy CQ” contains quartz that makes it easier for installers to remove grout from the surface of tile during application. Another timesaving product from the company is “Mapesonic 2.” The patent-pending design for the sound-reduction and crack-isolation sheet membrane is lighter and thinner and allows installers to just prime, peel and stick before installing the tile.

Industry First: Searching for new ways to solve installation problems, Trend introduced a prototype of a new quick laying system called “Clip To Go.” Part of the company’s “Advanced Rapid System”, it features glass tiles preinstalled onto a dense foam support, which provides insulation, sound proofing and water proofing. “Smart To Go” is a similar product from the company specifically made for mosaics.

Size Matters

Super thin tiles and giant slabs are two innovations pioneered by Italian manufacturers whose popularity continues to grow. While thin tile provides a versatile covering solution for nearly every surface, large format tiles are typically easier to maintain and allow designers to concentrate on the lines and flow of a space.

The newest addition to Cotto d’Este’s super thin (3mm) and large (1mx3m) Kerlite series, “Exedra” offers six types of marble looks and three finishes (natural, soft and lux). Because Kerlite is durable, light, and easy to cut, the thin tiles can also be used for kitchen counter tops, basins, doors and other furnishings. Similarly, “Lightquarz” is the fourth collection of large and super thin laminated porcelain stoneware tiles from Panaria that are extremely versatile. Part of the company’s ZER0.3 line, the 3mm tiles can be used for an infinite number of custom solutions for the bathroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

“Micron 2.0” by ImolaCeramica is a new series of full body porcelain tiles up to 4’x4’ in a palette of eight colors and three finishes (natural, polished and bush-hammered). “Gli Alabastri di Rex” by Rex is inspired by alabaster, with its natural luxury and symmetrical geometries, and is available in large 31.5”x71” slabs. Also from the Florim Group, “Industrial” by Floor Gres reinterprets cement in porcelain slabs as large as 1.2m x 3m.

Industry First: “Studies in Gouache” – the latest innovative product designed by Diego Grandi for Lea Ceramiche – is the first slim tile with a contemporary bas-relief design. The four decors (grid, scratch, weave and moire b) feature geometric and abstract patterns engraved and sanded into the 3mm tiles. They are offered in the same chromatic range as the company’s “Gouache.10” collection.