Italian tile, high on style: Cooperativa Ceramica D'Imola's Tube collection was just one example of handsome large-format tile offerings at this year's Cersaie.
The Italian ceramic tile industry held its annual trade show at the end of September in Bologna, Italy. The event, known as Cersaie, featured close to 900 exhibitors across nearly 1.7 million square feet. But names, dates, and data don’t really paint the right picture. Instead, imagine aisle after aisle of the world’s most exquisite surfaces, bathroom furnishings, and building materials. Imagine colors and textures that walk the fine line between manufactured products and pure art. Imagine a tricked-out educational pavilion that trains installers on important techniques, such as how to work with large-format slabs—long a staple in Europe and becoming increasingly common in the U.S.
Italy commands 32 percent of the worldwide ceramic tile market (in Euros), but is the driving force behind most of the innovation and cutting-edge design. When you attend Cersaie, it’s easy to see why.
This year the tile trends that stood out the most included retro-themed designs, a new approach to terrazzo, textured tile, and textile-inspired prints. But that was just the beginning. The show had something for everyone, and so here we put together a few specific products that caught our eye.
New from the ABK Group is the Wide & Style collection. Billed as ceramic wallpaper, the designs vary from bold to sedate and artful to whimsical. Seen here is Botanical Blue. Wide & Style’s large porcelain panels are available in sizes up to 63 by 126 inches.
Onix + Crossroad Chalk Gray, also from Wide & Style.
Inspired by the phenomenon of adult coloring books, Wide & Style’s Paint the House allows homeowners to express themselves on a fully washable ceramic surface.
Cooperativa Ceramica D'Imola has been making tile since 1874, and today the company prides itself on balancing tradition with “a passionate thirst for progress.” This collection, called Tube, is named after the London subway system. The industrial but warm colors and nuanced use of shading are designed to capture the vibrancy and rhythm of modern city life.
This large-format tile shows how far digital rendering has come today. The windows are from a photograph of an old building at the Imola plant, and the perfect likeness of each pane on tile reflects the intersection between technology, art, and our collective past.
The Kasai collection is inspired by the ancient Japanese method of charring wood siding to add to its durability and beauty. The technique, called yakisugi, creates a distinctive effect that’s becoming increasingly popular in modern architecture. Italian company Ceramiche Refin recreated yakisugi’s cracks and crazing on porcelain tile that’s available in three colors: Paper, Smoke, and Night.
Kasai’s Sakura pattern, in Night.
Inspired by the 1970s, Ceramica Vogue’s Confetti collection of matte glazed stoneware tile pays homage to four great Italian cities: Milan, Rome, Turin, and Venice. Of the four, from left to right, the Roma tiles give a subtle tip of the hat to that city’s subway system; Torino tiles celebrate the city’s heritage as a business and architectural center with eye-pleasing geometry; Milano offers slightly heavier, more pronounced geometric patterning; and Venezia introduces some whimsical curved elements. The Confetti collection is the brainchild of renowned Studio UdA architects Andrea Marcante and Adelaide Testa and is also available in eight complementary solid colors.
One of the biggest trends at Cersaie was terrazzo. From the Italian word for terrace, the style was born in 15th-century Italy, when marble workers began using remnants of stone to surface the terraces of their own homes. Today, with digital technology and a dash of modernism, the look has been reimagined. Florim’s Artwork collection uses large-format tile, in a variety of colors and particle sizes, for a seamless effect. Artwork comes in a gloss or matte finish.
A collection of old, folded, yellowing letters and the delicate act of opening them is what inspired the Corrispondenza collection from Ceramica Bardelli. Designed by the Milan-based Dimore Studio, each of these meticulously hand-painted tiles remind us of something from ages past—a kaleidoscope, origami, paper airplanes. The tile’s rough texture and matte finish add to its appeal. Also available in seven solid colors.