Orlando, Fla.—With trade shows like Coverings and Cersaie among the first industry events to return to an in-person format, Italian manufacturers are excited to showcase their latest product offerings on a global stage. Ceramics of Italy member brands continue to invent new designs that reflect larger societal trends while solving unique challenges for the trade, according to the group.
From technical porcelain stoneware to ceramic tiles in a multitude of formats, products are now available in the North American market through a network of tile distributors and retailers. Following are the trends that were unveiled at Coverings 2021.
With people around the world spending more time in their homes, there is a need for comfort and an overall focus on health and wellness. Organic shapes and harmonious colors combined with pared-back aesthetics are seen throughout architectural trends and interior projects as clients wish to make their homes and businesses feel like a sanctuary. The warm tones, subtle textural finishes, natural material effects and irregular shapes of the collections are designed to achieve a wabi-sabi effect for any project.
On the other end of the spectrum, expression is gaining traction as people are re-entering their offices and social circles. In the fashion industry, people are starting to invest in bold colors to loud prints—the tile industry is no different. From multi-colored terrazzo and marble with strong character to saturated hues and trippy patterns, the collections aim to show the expressive potential of ceramics and their ability to make a statement.
While Italian manufacturers continue to expand the dimensions of porcelain into extra large sizes, skinny tiles are emerging as the new star of the show. The Skinny ceramic and porcelain tiles are long and slim, ranging from 2 x 8 to 3 x 16. They come in multiple finishes and colors ranging from matte to glass-like and neutral to bold, designed to offer endless installation possibilities for floors and walls. Some also have colorful pencil tiles designed to enable more contrasts.
New traditional design is experiencing a resurgence as many people are searching for comfort in their homes. People find reassurance in nostalgic nods to the past, which may explain the popularity of antiques—particularly with younger generations who mix new with vintage and feel a moral obligation to repurpose the old. The tile collections are designed to create a new traditional style, from Carrara marble and basketweave to majolica and smaller-format tiles.
Sometimes designers need surfaces to perform as an architectural covering to allow merchandise or an art collection to shine. When a project calls for restraint, large-format tiles are a solution to create uniformity and highlight architectural geometries. Although minimal in appearance, the tiles are the result of intense chromatic studies and special production processes. They are designed to achieve a solid color or to emulate the subtle nuances of concrete for interior and exterior applications.