Bologna, Italy—Ceramics of Italy recently unveiled its tile trend report, which highlighted new trends the organization saw during Cersaie, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings held here. Following are seven of the biggest tile trends, according to Ceramics of Italy, as seen in the hundreds of new collections from member manufacturers at the 36th edition of Cersaie.
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.
From three-dimensional tiles that look such as giant Lego bricks (Marca Corona Bold) to popular cartoons illustrated on ceramic (Del Conca 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 such as Ornamenta’s ability to print large porcelain slabs in any Pantone color.
Moving beyond common varieties of stone such as carrara, statuario and travertine, Italian tile producers are scouting quarries throughout the world to find obscure marble full of color and character or 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 are captured and amplified in between giant sheets of glass to create lunar-like landscapes for the Gem Glass line. Meanwhile, Refin Stardustcombines the nebulous veining of alabaster with elegant metallic surface effects to create a line of porcelain tiles inspired by the nighttime sky.
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, such as Cedit’s Rilievi sculptural ceramic wallcoverings, are the kind of hyper blue associated with contemporary artists Yves Klein and Frida Kahlo. Others, such as Refin Creos and Provenza Vulcanika, conjure the feeling of vacation and the shallow teal waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Italians are known for their rich artistic heritage, which are now 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 feet. 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.
This year, it wasn’t just the patterns and sizes that impressed with their seemingly endless variety and sense of inventiveness. Tile producers have completely upped the 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 Cavawhose marble design and satin finish looks such as an ancient European church floor.
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, such as 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 1950’s-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 combine the aesthetic and cultural qualities of the past with the technological innovations of today.
Many of these and other new tile lines available in the U.S. market will be showcased at Coverings, taking place April 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.