Tile of Italy News: Ceramic Tiles of Italy Trend Report Fall/Winter 2006/2007
With more than 90,000 visitors from around the world, Cersaie is revered as the leading international tradeshow for the ceramic tile and bathroom sectors. It is famed as a launching pad for innovative new products and offers attendees a first-hand look at the latest designs before they hit the market. Italian manufacturers continue to set the trends for the industry by working with leading architects/designers, state-of-the-art technology and drawing inspiration from the world of fashion and the great outdoors. Avant-garde fabric patterns, funky animal prints, artistic floral motifs, sleek metallic sheens, three-dimensional forms, bursting bubbles, Asian-flair and urban-style took the Cersaie crowd by storm and are sure to make headlines this season.
Project RunwayLeave it to the Italians to bring this season’s hottest trends in fashion to the tile industry. New introductions were decked out in an array of stylish faux-fabrics – from silk to damask to denim.
Astor’s “Klis,” silk spelled backwards, is a glazed-porcelain that perfectly resembles the luxurious fiber. Supergres also chose to explore this material and paired 10”-by-18” textured tiles with subtle floral listellos in their new collection “Arkè Wall.” Brennero’s “Time 1:37” includes a line of silky tiles as well as one that features delicate crocheted patterns. Atlas Concorde adds to the category with “Flair.” Cevi’s “Riedizione” looks like a luxurious black and white quilt. Each piece is hand-painted and inspired by the Santa Chiara Monastery in Southern Italy. Piemme’s continued collaboration with Italian fashion designer Valentino has resulted in another new collection. The series offers a woven texture and is appropriately named “Textile.” Lux Ceramiche worked with Italian designer Luca Nichetto to create “Sensative,” a series of soft, velvety wall tiles and coordinating porcelain floor tiles. Finally, Brix is collaborating with French designer Andrée Putnam on a new collection.
Just as style.com cites clothing inspired by the Napoleonic period as a popular new trend in the fashion industry this season, Italian tile manufacturers are also bringing the traditional textiles and styles of historical periods to new levels. The surface of Settecento’s “New Baroque” looks like a modern mixture of materials including damask, brocade and silk. Majorca presented “Fehn,” a porcelain collection with a rough natural texture and elegant interchanging floral pattern. Provenza’s well-designed “Live” series includes two stunning collections: “Damasco” and “Aleppo,” each boasting 16”-by-23” formats. With its oversized patterns and metallic accents, “Damasco” is a contemporary take on the ornate motif, while “Aleppo’s” field of fan-shaped flowers is suggestive of the Art Nouveau style. Casa Dolce Casa gives a nod to the Victorian period in two of their new prototypes “Charles” and “Victor.”
Other producers took a more playful approach to this fabric craze. Move over skinny jeans, Arkadia’s “Fashion Style” and Fioranese’s “Denim” are taking the tile world by storm. The collections’ faux-denim textures and back pocket embellishments look identical to the real thing.
Hot Picks: Marca Corona “Charme,” Cotto Veneto “Fabrics,” Kerex “Glamour,” Cerim “Le Stuoie,” Idea “Waikiki,” Edilcuoghi “Madison” and Aspiro “Contrasti.”
Where the Wild Things AreFrom sumptuous skins and prints to decorative animal images, Italian tile producers brought this trend to life in every shape and form.
Settecento’s “Animalier” walks on the wild side with bold surfaces imitating leopard, zebra and cobra skins. Panaria’s “Exochic” is an abstract interpretation of animals in their natural environment. The surface is a mixture of zebra stripes, cheetah spots and African ferns. Ceramica Di Treviso arranged their mini 1cm x 1cm mosaics, part of the “Decori” collection, to look like snakeskin. Bisazza’s “Sahara” collection includes two lines “Giraffa,” designed by Carlo Dal Bianco, and “Zebra.” Colli compacted and double-pressed their new “Leather” collection to give the tiles a classic, timeworn appearance. Available in four earthy colors, Lea’s “Haute Couture” also offers this textured look and feel. The shades and surface of Ragno’s “Nabuk” imitates leather, suede and other hides. Supergres’s “P.elle,” which means leather in Italian, mixes the pelt with motifs of contemporary circles, extra-large foliage and traditional damask. Other notable standouts include Rex’s “Ma Touche” and Edimax’s “Allure.”
Impronta Italgraniti created large murals of animals and picturesque scenes in their new introduction “Landscape Post.” Silhouettes of stags and life-size butterflies caught the crowd’s attention and are sure to make a visual statement in any room. Cevi’s “Farfalle,” Italian for butterfly, uses multi-hued pastels to show off this beautiful creature. Keope’s “Percorsi” is available in a range of formats and complimented by peacock tail-shaped mosaics. Even the design of Sicis’s booth included full-size dogs, trees and flowers all made of mosaic tiles
Garden StateNew waves of floral and botanical motifs promise to make a big splash in the tile industry this fall/winter.
Supergres pulled out all the stops this year. From a multi-petal flower made out of delicate pearl-shaped drops of glaze to luxurious colorful layers of foliage, the “B-Kind” collection is a great alternative to wallpaper. Several of Majorca’s new introductions, including “One O One” and “Flair” also illustrate three-dimensional glazed floral decors that seem to pop off the tiles. Arpa’s “Style” mixes youthful colors and modish flowery motifs, while Sir Tiles’ “Exotica” uses a more neutral palette to enhance their relief-decors. Appropriately named “Bloom,” Cerim’s sinuous floral decorations come in 16 different patterns and can be freely composed in a single uninterrupted design between the floor and the wall. Marca Corona brings nature indoors with their new collection “Charme.” The decors range from Ramage: a botanical garden in bas-relief, to Garden: a field of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. Lea contributed two lines to this trend. “Charm” serves up a sophisticated aesthetic while “Juicy” offers a whimsical retro pattern. Blossoming day lilies and buds in vibrant colors decorate the surface of Idea Ceramica’s “Cromoleaf” collection. Cerdomus’ “Lily” and Bisazza’s “Daisy” are each named after flowers while Sicis has developed brightly colored, flower-shaped mosaic pieces.
Several manufacturers had fun with floral tracery and tone on tone effects. Cotto D’Este’s “Kerlite Trilogy” includes three lines of tiles: garden, flower and line. Each come in a large 16”-by-39” format that measures a slim .3 cm thick. Tagina’s “Floral Textile” has elegant intertwining, silhouette patterns and Rex’s “Ma Terre” includes a subtle patchwork of floras and leaves. Edilcuoghi used different shades of the same color from their “Scorcio” series to form a stunning mosaic frieze.
Ragno’s new collection “Arkitessuto” draws its inspiration from contemporary architecture and fashion. It is available in solid field tiles in white, beige, black and platinum as well as five different patterns designed to look like woven wefts or floral embroidery. Alternatively, Bardelli introduced “Mille’900,” a new series that revisits the past. Available in 18 color variations and gold or platinum finishes, the collection features hand-made flower patterns inspired by a 20th century home in Treviso, Italy. Equally, the inspiration from La Fabbrica’s “Geology” comes from a lava stone that sits atop the slope of Mount Etna in Sicily. The collection’s floral decor looks like pencil-drawn rose buds.
Luxurious fields of ferns stood out in Del Conca’s “Kenzia” and Imola’s “Sakura.” Impronta Italgraniti flaunted Asian tropic in their new collection “Leaves.” Mutina stirred it up with “Progetto Aperto.” Laid on the floor, this new series looks like a freshly cut, green grassy lawn.
Taking an aquatic approach, Viva introduced “Seafoam.” Designed by Fabrizio Zanfi, each tile features segments of a coral reef. Installed together, the vibrant red pattern climbs beautifully up the wall. The series also includes matching washbasins, consoles, benches, shelves, silk-screened mirrors and accessories.
Hot Picks: Cevi “Quadrifogli,” Sant’ Agostino “Quadra,” Dado “Beauty Matt,” Decoratori Bassanesi “Tessuti,” Ragno “Nabuk,” Capri “Vertigo,” Alfa “Dance” and Senio “Dherma.”
Heavy MetalLike the lyrics to a popular song, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling.” It seems the manufacturers of Italian tile took these words to heart when producing their new fall/winter collections.
Viva fused metal onto the “Backstage” collection’s 1cm thick through-body porcelain tile slabs. The resulting glaze was then colored and honed to yield extraordinary metallic effects and patterns in yellow/green, red/orange, red/white, and blue/black. Viva’s other new introduction “Nouvelle Vague” is reminiscent of cast iron. Tagina pulled the trigger with their new gunmetal-colored collection “Fucina.” Century’s edgy introduction “Interiors” has a cool textured surface that shines with a brilliant platinum sheen. “Meetall,” a new series by Monina, is a through-body porcelain tile with serigraph or engraved metallic decors of archaic gates and abstract patterns. Eco Ceramica’s “Metal” offers a similar gilded design. Built tough, Floor Gres introduced an array of steel-like collections including “Cortech,” “Mattech” and “Steeltech.” Other lustrous collections include “Settecento’s “Nexxt” and Imola’s “Xeno.”
The graphic design of Bardelli’s “Gessati” is enhanced by the use of subtle platinum screen-printed lines. Edilcuoghi’s “Lamè” is a decorated and glazed through-body porcelain with glitzy metallic accents. The collection includes 24”-by-24” and 12”-by-24” compositional pieces that form stunning outdoor scenes of trees and foliage.
Hot Picks: Mirage “Workshop,” Fioranese “Steelwork,” Lea “Studies” and RHS “Metallika.”
Moving On UpRaised surfaces, three-dimensional shapes and bas-relief weaves brought texture to an all-time high.
Monocibec’s “Enigma” looks like a puzzle of three-dimensional pieces that jut out from the surface of the tile. Provenza’s “Partitura” from the “Eco dell’Atlante” series boasts two large formats: 24”-by-35” and 12”-by-35” and a surface that looks like a basket weave of miniature squares. Mutina’s “Day to Day” collection consists of small cubes (1x1x1 cm) made of extruded porcelain stoneware while “Ceramica Bianco” comes in a bas-relief, elongated checkered pattern. Fondovalle’s “B.Fusion” also offers a similar motif. Brunelleschi’s “Arkè” provides the aesthetic charm of a woven rug, however this ceramic carpet is much easier to clean and maintain.
Tagina’s “Giunco” looks like a ladder of bamboo pieces set against a tile. The collection also plays with light and dark shadows and differences in coloration to create compositional murals of outdoor landscapes and botanical scenes.
Hot Picks: Brix “I Frammenti,” Alfa “Dance,” Ker Av “Luci di Venezia” and ABK “In Canto.”
Ring Of FireThe 24th edition of Cersaie proved that it’s not only hip to be square, it’s also hip to be circular. Whether large or small, layered with many others or solitary, this geometric motif burst onto the scenes.
Perfect for a playful bathroom, Supergres’s “Outline” places layers and layers of three-dimensional bubbles on top of a subtly striated surface. Similarly, Sant’ Agostino’s “Quadra” piles on the circles to give the tile a three-dimensional visual effect, while “Natura” by Leonardo 1502 looks like wood planks with overlapping circular and oval pieces. Magica puts the geometric shape against a metallic background to create the chic collection “Sicily.” Mirage’s “Living” offers round Murano glass pieces that can be inserted into 24”-by-24” tiles. Majorca’s “Circle” has an oriental decor inside large round spheres. Ceramica Di Treviso’s “Moonflower” panel has handmade decorations that look like colorful water droplets in different sizes and beads of rain against a window. A second introduction from the company, “Stream,” was designed by Luca Dal Bò and Toto Dolfato and features three-dimensional round mosaics on a 12”-by-12” crystallized surface tile. Finally, the dimples on Cedir’s “Zero” resembles those of a golf ball.
On a smaller scale, “Squadra, the Perfect’O Series,” by Giaretta Italia, features penny-shaped mosaics in a range of 55 colors. The pieces can be mixed and matched to fit any interior or exterior setting. Viva’s “Vintage” uses petite reflective circles to form large-scale patterns on the wall while “Mille Bolle” features thousands of tiny bubbles on the surface of the tile. Impronta playfully altered the circular form. Their new series “Caleido” features honeycomb patterns and hexagonal shapes.
Hot Picks: Supergres “B-Kind,” Etruria Design “Haring,” Bisazza “Bubble,” La Fabbrica “Lifestyle,” FAP “Amour,” Gabbianelli “Rings,” Novabell “Trevi,” Polis “Emotions” and Girardi “Effect Series.”
The Orient ExpressFrom sustainable bamboo used for contemporary furnishings to hand-gilded motifs as an interpretation of opulent Chinese porcelain, manufacturers across the design world have embraced Asian-influences. In keeping with this trend, many new Italian tile collections have a streamlined, ethnic beat.
The 12 colors that make up Naxos’s “X-perience” draw their names from Asian cities such as Shanghai and Dalian to others around the globe. Cotto Veneto’s “Origami” and Idea Ceramica’s “Discorsi” are inspired by traditional Eastern art forms. Marazzi takes a journey to distant lands with their new collections “Sari,” “Folk” and “Sahara.” The company’s “Le Lacche” series was inspired by Urushi lacquers. Eco’s “Kromata” has an aged cement look and displays customary middle-eastern decors. Casa Dolce Casa’s “Iki” was inspired by a Japanese-pattern seen in the block-bluster movie “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Made entirely by hand, Mutina’s “Raku” takes its name from the ancient Japanese pottery technique. Cerasarda’s “I Gioielli del Mare” is a hand-made glazed terracotta based on places where the sea meets the land. Its crackled surface is reminiscent of lightly rippling waves. ABK also created a line that imitates raku. “Shine” includes tiles that look like they have been oxidized, then embossed with golden damask prints. The collection was produced using a brand new eco-friendly technology referred to as TRE (triple loading technology). With this method, no two tiles are exactly alike.
Hot Picks: Vietri Antico “Le Lune,” Naxos “Raja,” Grazia “Concept,” Antiche Fornaci d’Agostino “Mito” and Ariana “Oltre la Pietra.”
MetropolisFrom New York to Shanghai, the theme of the 2006 Architectural Biennale in Venice focused on cities. Many Italian tile manufacturers also elected to explore the idea of global urbanization. The Big Apple, metropolitan dwellings and subway art inspired a number of new introductions.
Cotto D’Este’s “ColorLife” was designed with large interior floor surfaces in mind. With six shades named after popular sections of the city that never sleeps: Downtown, Brooklyn, Broadway, Manhattan, Skyline and Times Square, this glazed porcelain stoneware tile is geared for heavy-duty traffic areas, easy to wash and resistant to frost and stains. Refin’s booth at Cersaie had all the workings of an exhibition at the MoMA. The walls were adorned with “Pareti d’autore,” a collection that gives artists a brand new canvas to create their masterpieces. Measuring close to 2ft x 4ft, each porcelain tile slab is handmade and provides a unique alternative to traditional wall art. Similar in size, Novabell created oversized sepia or black and white photographs of New York City, composed of subway-style tile, as part of their avant-garde series “Earth.” Street art also found its way to ceramic tile in Leonardo 1502’s and Cotto Veneto’s new lines, each named “Graffiti.” Etruria Design made a 21st century statement with “Digital.” Each beveled tile contains a letter of the alphabet or a number and can be used to spell out words, addresses or playful expressions.
Hot Picks: Cir “K-elements,” Grazia “Concept” and Majorca “Soho.”
Although Cersaie 2006 recently came to a close, these eight red-hot trends will be heating up the market for many months to come. For more information on new products, visit www.italiantiles.com, the portal to the Italian ceramic tile industry.