New Technologies, Shapes and Sizes Place Italians at the Forefront
In the world of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, the 25th Anniversary of Cersaie was a star-studded event. All 92,000 visitors were treated to a first-hand look at the hottest products and biggest trends in the industry. The fair had all the glitz and glam of the red carpet, spread out across a 156,000 square meter show floor. As always, the Italian ceramic tile industry was in the limelight with well-known designers like Patrizia Moroso, Ulf Moriz, Claudio La Viola, Andrée Putman and Carlo Del Bianco getting into the mix. Italian cutting-edge tiles and trendsetting designs stole the show and promise to make waves in markets around the globe.
According to Dr. Aniello Musella, Trade Commissioner and Executive Director for the USA, Italian Trade Commission, “Like all of the fine design-forward products that are MADE-IN-ITALY, Ceramic Tiles of Italy sets the annual technological and aesthetic trends. With every year, we find that the crossover from the world of fashion and furniture becomes more evident. American buyers can count on Italian tiles to come up with design solutions that are fresh, innovative and like no other in the market.”
GlamourWith a sea of new introductions in this category, there has never been a better time to dress up an interior. This season’s new and notable herringbone, hounds-tooth, damask and floral patterns looked like they came straight from the pages of Vogue.
Mirage mixed things up with their two stylish collections: “Chic,” which lends itself to a more refined setting, while “Freestyle” flashes bold colors and youthful motifs. With its attractive surfaces and elegant decors inspired by haute couture fabrics, Edilgres Sirio’s new series “Selecta” brings panache to any setting. The warm, pastel colors and alluring textures offered in Campani’s “Pop” series bring to mind a silk scarf. Naxos’s “Sari” offers a tile that mirrors shantung, a heavy fabric with a rough nubby surface made of spun wild silk. Kronos’ “Glamour” collection has a tile for every style, from pinstripes and polka dots to plaid and pied de poule. New from Faetano is “Fashion,” a series that offers seven matching colors and a wide range of decors. Marca Corona introduced their latest faux fabric surface, inspired by carbon fiber. The vanguard collection, which the company calls “C10 Project,” is ideal as a wall or floor covering.
What began as a prototype for Casamood quickly took form into a fabulous new collection that is not only aesthetically appealing, but also avant-garde in its slimness. “Thin” offers two lavish patterns: Iki, a toile motif available in two color combinations and Victor, a classical damask print. Emilceramica’s “Double Flower” features a two-toned Queen Anne’s lace pattern converging on a soft fabric background. Made using cutting-edge ink-jet technology, Marazzi’s “Future” combines a neo-baroque damask print with an innovative wavy texture. This artistic style is also evident in FAP’s new line “Suite.” “Glam” by Caesar is yet another example of this opulent trend.
Decadence to the extreme is the basis for Rex’s new project, a series of tiles with integrated and coordinated colors, sizes and styles. The ultra-lux collections include: “Glam Wood,” “Horn,” “Stripes,” “Capittoné,” “New Tribal,” “Patterns,” “Extra Light” and “Gold.”
Soft, sinuous swirling glazed lines and abstract flower motifs dance across the surface of Refin’s “Tagli d’Autore.” Hand-made by trained artisans, the slabs measure 12”x48” and are designed to fit both everyday living spaces and sophisticated commercial environments. The attention to detail, decorative motifs, inlays and semi-polished and textured finishes found in Versace Home’s “Palace Stone” collection are attained using processes inspired by exquisite craftsmanship. DI P.I.U’s “Andretto Mosaico” collection, designed by Maria Cristina Andretto, offers a medley of Murano glass mosaics with assorted baroque-inspired decors. To produce the “Fleur Deco” series, Tagina took a monochromatic tile and fired a glazed metallic floral décor onto the surface. The result is an extremely elegant ceramic that is ideal for wall applications.
Lux Plus: Fioranese “S&M” and “Nu_Lux,” Flaviker “Matrix,” Edilcuoghi “Identity,” Marca Corona “Ultraglam,” Cotto Veneto, “Racconti,” Dom “Atelier Solid Series,” Magica, Sant’Agostino, Ragno, Impronta Italgraniti.
Silver and GoldLike the familiar song says, “Everyone wishes for silver and gold.” This dream came true at Cersaie 2007, where metallic was plentiful.
Edilgres Sirio debuted two new collections that define opulence. The iridescent gold and platinum glazed wall tiles from the “Luxury” series give off a stunning luminous glow while its “Savana” series brings magnificence to the surface with delicate, precious textures in real platinum. The style of Pi.Sa’s new collection “Savanna” is best described as ‘glamilistic,” a mix of glamorous and minimalist. The white-body wall tiles feature a field of glazed gold and platinum flowers.
Fornace della Cava’s “Zuhur” tiles are cast and decorated entirely by hand. To top it off, each tile is studded with nickel-finished bronze floral decorative pieces. Cotto Veneto selected “Gold” as the name of their latest artistic creation. The ancient techniques of skilled craftsmen and exclusive Italian design guarantee the uniqueness of each individual piece. Manifattura Emiliana’s “Metal Style” is a new collection that plays with shades of platinum, silver, copper and gold and iridescence to create a marbled metallic tile. Minimal in appearance, yet grand in design, Imola’s “Nickel” boasts tiles with an aluminum, copper or brass effect.
Glimmering rays of gold, platinum, and silver shined through all over the Sicis booth. Their to-die-for stand was the perfect showcase for its introductions including: the “Bathtub Collection,” the “Mirror Collection,” the “Colibrì Collection” and the “Classic Marble Collection.”
Shimmering & Chic: Edilcuoghi “Stardust,” Libera “Pietre Bretone Series,” Tagina “Fucina,” Decoratori Bassanesi “The Gold Collection.”
In Living ColorTaking a cue from the fashion industry, Italian manufacturers presented tiles in elegant shades of silver, black and white. Red was also a hot color this year - either mixed with black and white or as an accent. Manufacturers dabbled with tone and created a lasting impression.
Viva’s artful new collection, “Black Flowers” is the result of the collaboration with Patrizia Moroso, the creative director of Moroso, and Massimo Gardone, the photographer known for his magical eye that can make black explode into a thousand colors. This mixing of media, the exchange between photography and industrial production, is a new and exciting path for the tile industry.
Sant’Agostino presented a white diamond-shaped quilted pattern juxtaposed by a glossy black mosaic trim. Settecento’s “F1 Design” takes its inspiration from the signature black and white checkered flag that is used to signify the end of a Formula 1 motor race. In addition to the traditional color combo, the series mixes black with red, orange, yellow, blue, green and even glitter. The deep colors from Atlas Concorde’s “Intensity” collection are enhanced by the transparency of a highly polished, reflective surface. Available in a range of colors including a lavish red named Love, the 12”x36” oversized wall tiles make this series the perfect material for stylish interior design projects. Ceramica Di Treviso debuted “Frame.” The project’s aim was to create a brand new wall decoration by mixing a white or black background tile with colors from their other popular collections and special raised gold, copper and platinum pieces.
Hue Awards: Edilcuoghi “New Light,” Aspiro “Luxes Collection,” Marazzi “Le Lacche Series,” Casamood “Maiolica,” Lea Ceramiche “New Decors.”
Wake Up and Smell the RosesAs always, floral motifs blossomed around every corner. This year, however, the rose proved that it is one of, if not the most popular flower.
With their new line “Materia,” Fioranese has reached the pinnacle of creativity. The masses of spirals, which are etched into the surface of the porcelain tile, are magically transformed into rose buds by the eye. Sole Mio’s “Limited Edition” line looks like a quilt made of triangular pieces. Upon closer inspection, hundreds of tiny roses pop up on the surface.
A second ceramic introduction that resulted from Viva’s collaboration with Moroso and Gardone is “Fleurs.” The blurred photographic floral images on the surface of the tile range from the whisper of a red rose to an iris gently blowing in the wind. The photographic print in Mutina’s new line “Blossom” depicts roses in full bloom. The series can be used for floor or wall applications.
Rose Garden: Lord “Nirvana Series” and Ariana “Just Series”
Go With the FlowMany of this year’s top tile trends are also influencing other sectors of design. Metallic, fiber optic patterns are one of the best examples of this crossover. This surface decoration, which had everyone talking at London’s 100% Design, adds modern sophistication to boutiques, hotels and restaurants.
By revolutionizing the traditional concept of metal, Majorca has created an extremely innovative new look for ceramic tile. Coined “Echo,” the collection features tiles with an incredible undulating texture which, when laid together, create a modern, free-flowing pattern across the wall. Waves and brush strokes are the distinctive features of Supergres’s new “Tresor” collection. Monocibec used glaze to create an undulating motif that creates the feeling of movement. It is part of their sizzling new introduction “Prima Piano.” A 20”x20” insert, featuring fluid lines of brown or black, is just the right accent to complement Dom’s new collection, “Sack.” The surface of each piece has a texture that emulates natural leather.
Finally, Caesar, Campani, Impronta Italgraniti, Marazzi and Edilcuoghi each offered eye-catching new rolling patterns.
Making Waves: Ariana “Just Series” and Fap “For Love.”
GlobetrottingThe design industry continues to be inspired by international culture and tradition. This trend towards globalization has drawn attention at all the main shows, from Maison & Objet to Cersaie.
Known for handcrafted tiles, DecoratoriStyle, a brand of Decoratori Bassanesi, embarked on a new collaboration with architect and designer Carlo Dal Bianco. With its elaborate design and filigree, the “String” series’ sinuous knot pattern is said to resemble a Coptic Cross or the tapestries of the beginning and middle ‘900s. Maestri Majolicari showed tiles with vintage red and yellow arabesque decors.
Created using screen-printing, the Madres, Anversa and Marrakech decorative tiles from the Casamood’s “Clays” collection, are inspired by the techniques and graphic art of European, African and Indian traditions. Progretti Interior’s “Contrast” series offers ethnic patterns typical of Africa. Bisazza added a total of twelve new decors to their “Mosaic Collection.” Three of the new lines: Crocodile, Leopardo New and Rettile, all designed by Carlo Dal Bianco, are inspired by animal prints and create an exotic atmosphere.
“Sunset” is a new look from Naxos with an Eastern flair. Supergres’s “Rigo” shows off ornamental motifs typical of a Chinoiserie style, while a new compositional set from Senio has a more Japanese feel.
Jetsetters: Emilceramica “Fleur Oriental,” Gardenia Orchidea “Go Decors – Origami,” Fondovalle “Arabesque,” Keope “Maya,” Panaria “Exochic,” Imola “Chine,” Piemme “Style Series,” Siena “Cotti Senesi Series,” Ker-Av “Mosaici d’Italia,” Arkim “Finn Project,” Capri “Trilogia,” Almatec “Ouadj.”
I Can't Believe It's Not Wood!Move over natural wood, the new material in town is porcelain tile. Thanks to continued advances in technology, manufacturers can perfectly replicate the texture and grain of natural timber. Tiles are available in all shapes and sizes including elongated planks, squares and chevrons. The offerings also include basket-weave textures, knotty pines mixed with metallic and wood replicas in any hue from the color chart. Plus, the material is innately sustainable and does not stain, scratch, streak or swell. Even better, its resistance to water and humidity allows for stunning installations in any room, including the kitchen and bath.
“Happywood” from Novabell boasts five warm colors, modular boards, chic formats and decors that extend from tile to tile. Plus, the porcelain stoneware is made with a high percentage of recyclable materials. Ragno’s “Revision” has a shiny-opaque surface and natural texture. The collection recalls the beauty of old salvaged wood floors that have been given new life by restoration and waxing. Also new from Ragno is “Vintage,” a porcelain stoneware collection that mimics Oak.
Provenza introduced a porcelain tile that is connected to a substrate. This innovative system joins the pieces together without using grout. It is suitable for exterior installations such as decks. Impronta Ceramiche’s “Eden” offers a washed wood look. The company’s “N°4” combines wood with metal. The design is meant to be a delicate pun on the graphic adorning the Coco Chanel’s famous perfume, the first blend of natural and synthetic essences.
Natural Knock-Outs: Gambarelli “Legni Collection,” Rondine “Eco–Olmo Collection,” Serenissima “Timberlands Collection,” Sichenia “Forest Series.”
Architect's DelightInnovation was bountiful at Cersaie 2007. From new technologies to new shapes and sizes, the Italians are always at the forefront.
Del Conca’s new no touch coloring technology acts like an ink jet printer and allows the manufacturer to reproduce the exact look of a material such as natural stone. It also eliminates the need for screen sprays. Ceramiche Keope introduced “TI-LED,” a lighting system for its collections that can be applied to all their modern collections and is available in four formats. Cotto D’Este has taken another step further with their popular “Kerlite” series and introduced “Kerlite Plus.” With a minimum height increase, from 3-3.5mm, “Kerlite Plus” is reinforced with a fiberglass mesh backing to maximize its cladding potential. The oversized tiles are installable directly over existing flooring, making renovation simple. Viva’s “Glam,” designed by Ulf Moritz, is a state-of-the-art new line. The 3mm thick slabs, available in 3.3ft x 3.3ft, 1.6ft x 3.3ft and 1.6ft x 1.6ft, were produced to obtain a high bending resistance. The groundbreaking and high-styling range can be installed directly over already tiled walls with minimum joints to create a seamless look.
Etruria Design introduced “Mondrian,” a three-dimensional mosaic tile that, when laid together, bring to mind the De Stijl art movement. FAP is now manufacturing “Pura,” a range of diamond-shaped tiles. Coem’s “T.U.” project was born out of the idea of transforming a material distinguished by its technical excellence into a material that is aesthetically unique. The innovative range includes XS Concept, XS Degredè, XS Round, Bar Code and Fractals, a triangular mosaic inspired by the morphing of surfaces in contemporary architecture. Casamood’s new “Link” series offers a diverse range of geometric modules including: quadro (square), Più (plus sign), elle (which resembles the letter L) and cerchio (circle). When applied with grout, the end result is an original installation.
“36h,” a new collection designed by architect Diego Grandi for Lea Ceramiche, outlines three hypothetical days in the life of a young couple. The series offers a whole host of decors including crowd favorites: Streets and City. The concept of an urban map was the basis for Streets, a geometric knit of intertwining lines, marked by a glossy, enameled texture. The urban colors bring to mind the anthracite grey of asphalt. In the version, City, the urban map, based on the city of Milan, becomes even more abstract and creates a serigraphic texture with a metallic effect. Brix cleverly created “BRIXsystem,” a comprehensive collection of six original tile and mosaic ranges created by Europe’s top designers including: Andrée Putman, Claudio Silvestrin, Claudio La Viola, Ludevica and Roberto Palomba and Mattia Frignani. It allows for unlimited mixing and matching of different collections and sizes.
Modern Marvels: Marazzi “Soho,” Appiani “Appiani Light,” Cipa Gres “Eternity Series.”
Just the FixWith a downturn in real estate, U.S. homeowners are now thinking renovate rather than relocate. The Italians have just the solution to turn that out-of-date space into a modern oasis.
“Bloom” is a new proposal by Novabell developed for stylish, spectacular bathrooms. It is available in five colors, each offering two different graphic designs and two prestigious sizes: 9.5”x19” and 6”x19”. Similarly, Cerim dedicated an entire project, appropriately called “Easy Bathroom” to this important room in the home. The series includes a total of nine exquisite collections: “Bloom,” “Trend,” “Pied de Poule,” “Pearly,” “Pixel,” “Millerighe,” “Chic,” “Shade” and “Glossy;” which provide the final customer with a range of coordinated and balanced materials to mix and match. Atlas Concorde introduced “Motivi,” a coordinated collection for the bath, with patterns inspired by a variety of different fabrics. The light and elegant floral “Flos” pattern was created using a silk-printed ink technique that has the capability of making fine marks in slight relief. Fioranese’s new “Fizzy” series gives bathrooms a youthful rejuvenation. Floral archetypes take the spotlight in this offbeat, scintillating collection. Similarly, Grazia’s “Koine” combines sought-after colors with modish decorations.
The new trends seen at Cersaie 2007 are already making a statement in the U.S. market. For tile lovers, the most fascinating part about is that they mirror what’s hot across all other sectors of design and are right on par with the fashion industry as well. For more information on new products, visit www.italiantiles.com, the portal to the Italian ceramic tile industry.