Cersaie is the largest international exhibition for ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, which is held annually at the Bologna Exhibition Center in Bologna, Italy. This year, the event took place from September 23 to 27, where approximately 900 exhibitors showcased their newest and most innovative products to more than 112,000 visitors from all over the world.

Over the years, I have observed various industry trends emerge and evolve at the five-day show, and this year was no different. While perusing the various booths, it was apparent that graphics are on everyone’s mind. And much more detailed ones at that. Ultra-realistic interpretations of flowers, plants, animals and even buildings — speckled with metallic accents, unique patterns and attractive textures — dominated the floor. Tile manufacturers have been taking advantage of digital printing technology and all it offers, transforming ordinary images and designs into true works of art. A selection of companies are also taking the next step with more detailed design processes such as hand painting and utilizing special software programs that allow artists to create real-life renditions of anything they want to accompany stock images.

Natural-inspired designs such as terrazzo, natural stone and wood have continued to incorporate more realistic details and textures, and are now being combined in innovative ways to offer unordinary looks.

In regard to shapes, square, rectangular and triangular formats still remain popular, while hexagons, octagons, diamonds and other irregular shapes have begun to really establish themselves. More risks are being taken with these geometric designs, in regard to color, texture and graphics. Manufacturers aren’t afraid to push design boundaries and it's certainly exciting to see.

In the above slideshow, you can explore the top five tile trends I observed this year.