Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings, is constantly growing. Each year, the tradeshow draws in significantly more visitors, both international and national, which solidifies the event’s importance to the architecture and design community. For its 34th edition this year, Cersaie was hosted at the Bologna Exhibition Center, where it welcomed more than 106,000 people from September 26 to 30, 2016.

Although last year’s event reported the largest contingent of visitors since the show’s inception, this year stole the spotlight with a 5% increase — almost 5,000 more visitors than last year. The recovery in the number of Italian visitors after several years of stagnation was also apparent with a 4% increase, as well as the continued rise of international visitors, which experienced a 6% increase.

“These figures confirm Cersaie’s position as a key event for developing global business in the ceramic floor and wall tile and bathroom furnishing sectors, while the more than 170 countries of origin of the visitors underscore the show’s powerful role as an engine for international trade,” said Andrea Serri, coordinator of communication and promotion for Confindustria Ceramica.

Popular trends

There’s no denying the fact that natural materials are the main inspiration for tiles nowadays. Whether from the aesthetics of stone, wood, cement or even terrazzo, these seasoned looks have only become more realistic and textured with time. “Stone looks are much more popular than the wood and concrete looks,” explained Fabrizio Storchi, marketing director of Atlas Concorde, which introduced a myriad of different styles this year. “There are a lot of wood looks, but there are so many different woods you can replicate.”

While wood- and stone-inspired looks continue to mature, incorporating more decorations and graphic elements, textile-inspired looks emerged this year, as well as more three-dimensional and decorative designs. Atlas Concorde spearheaded a new collection to satisfy this demand known as Room. Inspired by fabric, wallpaper and carpet, Room is a slightly textured collection of coordinated floor and wall tiles featuring minimalist micro-textures and sophisticated decorations. White body tiles catered for the walls offer more texture, while porcelain floor tiles relay the inspiration in a more subtle way.

Lea Ceramiche, one of the companies within Panaria Group, expanded its offerings with the introduction of Trame. Inspired by different fabrics and linens, the new neutral-colored collection is offered in three different finishes, from soft and structured to grainy and opaque. A similar look was observed in FAP Ceramiche’s new Color Now collection; although not applicable on floors and walls, these white body tiles offer the perfect pop of color for any wall.

Ceramics of Italy-branded manufacturer, Ceramica Sant’Agostino, unveiled an intricately textured fabric look with its new Tailor Art collection. Geometric and chevron patterns coupled with neutral tones make these tiles a good choice for floors and walls. Fioranese Ceramica’s new porcelain collection, Imperfetto, embraces a slightly raised, distinct texture. Offered in dark to neutral tones, these fabric-inspired tiles incorporate sporadic geometrical designs and have a shimmering appearance.

Mirage, another Ceramics of Italy-branded manufacturer, took a much more elusive approach to the trending look with Rêve. The newest porcelain addition, Rêve was inspired by the soft, delicate texture of linen, and the more textured looks of resin. Offered in a range of colors — from off-white to dark slate — the tiles are available in two different finishes.

Deviating from the norm, Refin Ceramiche created an exclusive collection with Italian artist and native, Daniela Dallavalle. Arte Pura or “pure art,” composed of eight different designs by Dallavalle, is inspired by the traditional linens and laces of her region. Dallavalle, who was completing personalized drawings for visitors when TILE visited Refin’s booth, described how she also draws inspiration from the things and people around her.

Looking forward

Aside from textured patterns, which companies have begun mastering, metallic looks are also starting to gain popularity, with many companies adding shiny, iridescent colors and decorations to older and new collections. Some companies even went a step further with glitter-infused pieces to complement the neutral tones and subtle designs in various collections, such as Ceramica Sant’Agostino with its new Metrochic collection.

Whatever the inspiration be, one thing is certain with tiles — texture. While more realistic looks are created, so are the natural textures and irregularities the materials possess, which leaves countless doors of opportunity open. The next edition of Cersaie will be held from September 25 to 29, 2017, at the Bologna Exhibition Center in Bologna, Italy. For more information, visit cersaie.it.