This year marked an exciting milestone for the city of Bologna, Italy. Taking place from September 25 to 29,Cersaieheld its 30th annual international ceramic tile and bath exhibition. In celebration of 30 years of promoting developments in the tile industry, companies from across the globe brought out their latest looks, colors and innovations. The exhibition provided a platform for the latest trends in stone- and wood-look tile, graphic designs on ceramic, an array of mosaics, innovations in the tile industry such as self-cleaning ceramics and the latest in installation products and methods.

A growing trend

A walk through the exhibition halls, which included both indoor and outdoor space, showcased that this year’s hottest trend is wood- and stone-look ceramic tile. Viewing booth after booth, it seemed that almost every tile manufacturer had something to bring to the table in terms of this technology. And in mimicking these organic and natural elements, there were plenty of unique characteristics and interesting looks.

In just a sampling of what was shown at Cersaie, Tagina, using its “Super Made in Italy” initiative, launched a stone-look line, “Pietra del Mondo,” and a wood-look line, “Woodays” — both for indoor and outdoor use. Keeping the production of these tiles localized in Italy, the tiles are crafted with eco-conscious efforts. The Italian tile manufacturer also emphasized that it maintains elements of “Italian ceramic culture” in its products.

Italian tile manufacturer Fap also launched a new wood-look tile collection called “Nuances,” which highlights the natural graining and veining of hardwood. Available in two sizes of rectified panels, 22 ½ x 90 and 15 x 90 cm, these tiles can be used on floors or as wall covering. They are also non-slip — making them ideal for outside use.

Additionally, Emil Ceramica unveiled “Petrified Tree,” which brings a look of naturally aged and smoothed wood to the tile collection. Moreover, its stone-look line, “StoneBox,” is inspired by marble and other natural stone, and is available in four colors and two finishes.

Customized graphics

Another trend that could not go unnoticed is custom-made graphic designs on ceramic tile. Advances in technology allow for intricately detailed and unique designs that look like artwork.

 The “Frame” Collection by Refin, which was designed in collaboration with FM Milan design firm, was launched this year. The designers presented the new tile line at this year’s exhibition. “It is a modern contemporary way of remembering tradition,” said Sergio Menichelli of FM Milan. “Each pattern is inspired by a different place.”

Mosaics

As the most whimsical displays at Cersaie 2012, mosaics also shined on the show floor. No longer are these tiny pieces of glass, ceramic or metal limited to 1- x 1-inch squares. Mosaics are now available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and finishes — making them ideal for accent walls and other decorative aspects of design.

Italian tile manufacturer Trend constructed an elaborate showroom booth that showcased its new “Metropolis” Collection — a line of shimmering textured rectangular tesserae that vary in size and have a reflective surface — and “Peacock” — part of the company’s “Best” Collection, a decorative line inspired by nature. Additionally, Mosaico+ launched its “Décor” Collection, while Appiani displayed its customizable mosaics — exhibiting how it can take any photo and turn it into a beautiful mosaic design. On the show floor, the company had exhibited a depiction of the Roman Colosseum in mosaic tile.

Innovation in sanitary tiles

An innovation in sanitary tiles came from Casalgrande Padana, with its introduction of Bios Self Cleaning Ceramics®. In a partnership with TOTO Ltd. in Japan, the company has put out a range of tile products that combine self-cleaning antibacterial and pollution-reducing properties using Hydrotech® technologies. The company explained that the “exclusive formulation of the Hydrotect® coating is based on a combination of two different active agents. One is titanium dioxide (TiO2), which gives the product photo-catalytic properties so that, when exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light), it provides self-cleaning and pollution-mitigation properties. The other is a well-balanced formulation of noble metals that offers antibacterial and antivirus properties
as well.”

Installations and tiles

Bringing the installation process to the tile directly is “Del Conca Fast” from Del Conca. This quick dry-laying ceramic tile can be installed over any floor surface without the use of mortar or grout. The tiles of this line are just snapped in and laid over any flooring.

Looking at more traditional installations, Laticrete was promoting its Drytech line of floor prep self-leveling underlayments. The cement product is able to be
used on a variety of substrates and on a variety of covering materials, according to the manufacturer.

In another development, among the immense amount of products that Progress Profiles has to offer the market, the company was most excited to launch its Proleveling System for laying medium- and large-sized materials with a thickness between 2 and 40 mm. The two-piece system allows installers to level their tiles while adjusting spacing, separating, joining floors of any type and material with the turn of a cap.

The 30th year of Cersaie was one that was packed with all that the tile industry has to offer. Visitors from around the world came into Bologna to see what is happening in the industry and did not leave disappointed. The excitement for Italian Ceramics is almost unable to be subdued. The convention still stands strong, in spite of the economic struggles that the world has faced. And although all is not fixed in the financial world, this year is another example of the truth that the excitement for the art of ceramics will be around for a long time to come.