Top Tile Trends from Italy

Last year, I traveled to Italy’s top tile expo, Cersaie, with a press delegation.  I didn’t go this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share the top trends with you anyway.  The folks at Ceramics of Italy and their press representatives have kindly made them available.  Here goes.


 Wood-look tiles continue to impress


Among the abundance of graphic tiles at Cersaie, many companies turned to the world of comics and pop art to create playful collections of functional wall art.   There were tributes to famed artists Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, as well as nods to Japanese manga.  While these likely won’t adorn your master bath walls, they’re fun for a rec room or kid’s bathroom.


Tile can be a residential muse

Marble 2.0

While some companies focused on luxurious white marble such as calacatta, carrara and statuario, others continued to expand their marble lines to include creamy tones of travertine and darker hues like Saint Laurent and Berimbau. In addition, novel shapes (hexagon and chevron), overlaid designs and three-dimensional surfaces (pillowed edges and linear folds) were added to the mix.  These give you the option of pure traditional beauty — without the maintenance of natural stone — or some updated and quirky retro looks.


Marble-look tile offers a range of looks


In terms of shapes, it was undoubtedly the year of the hexagon. A far cry from traditional hexagonal tiling, this new crop includes macro and micro sizes, irregular cutouts, and encaustic, concrete, marble, wood and brick designs.


Old world look with new world style


You can have it your way! Tile companies are offering flexible systems for creating tailor-made compositions. These include patterns that can be freely rotated and randomly combined into countless combinations.


Flexible systems yield fresh looks

Modern Mosaics

Innovative mosaics were everywhere – from playing with the dimensions of traditional penny, hexagon and brick mosaics to introducing completely new formats such as linear, diamond and organic shapes.


These are not your ancestors’ mosaics

Updated Encaustics

The inherent charm and beauty of encaustic cement tiles from the turn of the 19th century inspired many collections at the fair. Putting a modern spin on the classic tiles, some were overlaid onto concrete, terra cotta and stone designs while others presented crisp or fading patterns.


Encaustics cross centuries beautifully

Black & White

Although the entire color spectrum could be found at Cersaie, from dusty hues to vibrant pop colors, there was a significant return to classic black and white with added effects such as fading reliefs and op art graphics.


Black & white is always refreshing


Coinciding with the romanticism of industrial spaces, many companies showcased metallized tiles exhibiting the sheen of platinum and bronze or the weathered effects of rusted steel and oxidized copper.


Metallic looks add drama to a space


The world’s forests are a continual source of inspiration for tile manufacturers who continue to explore new frontiers in ceramic wood. While some companies are inspired by the charming imperfections and character of rustic and recycled lumber, others are drawn to special techniques – such as charring – or adding a polished or glazed finish for a touch of sophistication and glamour.


Wood-look tiles go where real wood can’t

Tech Tiles

There were some interesting innovations, including tiles with embedded photovoltaic cells to create self-illuminating outdoor flooring, new ultra-large, ultra-thin slabs (5.5′ x 11′ and only six mm thick) and a new tile specially designed to wrap corners.


Tile makers keep innovating


All photos courtesy:  Ceramics of Italy


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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS,  MCCWC

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC
San Diego, CA

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