Istanbul, Turkey hosts an international ceramic tradeshow each year, known as Unicera. As the country’s largest international event covering this sector — as well as bathroom and kitchen furnishings — the show’s organizers plan diligently to make it as grandiose as possible.

Unicera is organized collaboratively by CNR Holding, Turkish Ceramics Federation (TSF) and the Trade Association for Sanitary and Plumbing Supplies (TIMDER). This year, it was held from February 27 to March 3 at CNR Expo in Yeşilköy, where it welcomed 84,320 visitors from 130 countries.

The global event spanned over 860,000 square feet, with more than 1,000 ceramic companies displaying their newest products for 2018. Two halls were added this year to accommodate the 25% increase in exhibitors, according to Fuat Güvenlidal, international relations director for CNR Holding. “This is the biggest fair in the history of Unicera,” he said.

Two years ago, the decision was made to relocate the fair to CNR Expo, neighboring the Ataturk Airport, in order to make transportation as easily as possible for local and international attendees, according to Güvenlidal. “People wanted to attend the fair, but since there was so much traffic getting there, they didn’t end up coming,” he explained of prior years when the fair was held at Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center, located 15 miles to the west of CNR Expo. “Because of the new location, there are several ways to come here. From the Asian side [of Istanbul], there is a ferry and a metro. There are also more trains, buses and taxis.”

In addition to the positive feedback, the show has also seen a surge in attendees and exhibitors since the relocation. “There has been a significant increase in international visitors,” said Güvenlidal. “We want people from all over the world to visit this fair and see all that it has to offer.”

For many manufacturers TILE spoke with, we learned that stone-look tiles are currently the most popular products, especially for the U.S. market, as well as cement-like tiles. “Our best-seller in the U.S. is the stone-look,” explained Soner Çakılkaya, export sales manager for Yurtbay Seramik, one of the leading tile producers in Turkey. “Marble is on the rise.”

“Marble looks are the most popular in the U.S.,” added şükrü Bideciler, export representative for Gransier Seramik. “Most [people] prefer polished looks.”

A couple of other companies agreed, stating that marble-looking tile is one of the best sellers in the European market, as well as the North American market. “The best seller is stone,” said Aybüke Bayraktar, product specialist at Seranit, which introduced a curved tile that creates a bullnose finish for floor and wall features. “Reddish and yellowish hues especially, and surfaces with texture.”

For Turkish companies that aren’t already established in the U.S., consumers are driving them to open new factories and showrooms. “We are currently looking to expand to the U.S.,” said Emre April, export representative for Qua Granite. “We have a demand right now.”

The next edition of Unicera will be held from February 6 to March 2, 2019, at the CNR Expo in Istanbul, Turkey. For more information, visit