I just got back from Italy, where I had the pleasure of attending Cersaie, one of Europe’s top tile and bath shows. In this massive expo, I saw the latest industry innovations, products and trends.
Today, I’ll share the trends I spotted while wandering the acres of displays for three exhilarating and exhausting days. Ceramics of Italy was our host and sponsor for the trip and their brands are included in the coverage.
Alabaster looks added luxe style to the show
(Photo Courtesy: Rex Ceramiche Artistiche)
Wood looks dominated the show, but with some interesting updates. In addition to the very rustic styles we’ve gotten used to seeing recently, this year saw the introduction of highly polished wood looks. Unlike real polished wood, though, the tile equivalent won’t wear down or need reapplication.
Wood went high gloss this year,
seen in this Italgraniti Group‘s Stonewood series
Another wood-look trend was the rustic/vintage look combined with other elements. Wood and fabric was well represented. So was wood with metallic elements. Some tiles combined rustic with fabric and metallic or rustic with high gloss.
Alabaster, as shown in the top photo, was another popular glossy look at the show. As they have with natural stone, production technology has made the resemblance rich and convincing.
Graphics and hexagons continue to be popular, with a lot of tone-on-tone neutral looks.
Graphics softened into tone-on-tones and neutrals,
shown here in NovaBell‘s TriBeCa series
But there were also some flamboyant patterns, like camouflage, Burberry plaid, broken plate-style mosaics, comic book accents featuring scantily-clad women and Americana labels.
Patterns got playful, too,
like this Burberry style from Gamma Due
Tiles that can be installed without grout were a welcome trend at the show. (Regular readers know I’m not a grout fan!) There were models for both indoor and outdoor use, with different types of installation systems being offered. I’ll be sharing my favorite next week in my Top Products post.
One of the several grout-free offerings
(Photo Courtesy: Casamood)
Another trend was the inclusion of permanent anti-microbial protection built into the tile. Cosentino has been doing that for years by adding MicroBan to its Silestone countertops. It’s interesting (and potentially useful) to see the trend expanding to floor and wall tile.
I also liked the continuing trend of tile sets with indoor and outdoor (slip resistant) options. That helps create a strong visual tie between the two spaces. In so many residential projects today, entertaining flows easily between inside and outside rooms… It’s nice to see the design industry make that look seamless. One manufacturer even offered a line of mosaics for floor and wall, indoors and out. Versatility rules!
There were numerous indoor-outdoor series,
including this Memorie series from Appiani
Sheet-mounted tile and ultra-thin tiles continue to be popular trends, both speeding up the installation process by offering simpler and lighter handling. I particularly liked the sheet-mounted subway tile-inspired rustic bricks.
Sheet tiles took new forms,
like this Muro 41 series from 41 Zero 42
If you’ve been reading Gold Notes for awhile, you know I’ve been following the development of porcelain and ceramic slab countertops. Initially, only linen-textured neutrals were available. More recently, European lines started offering them in natural stone and rustic metallic looks. Can our American manufacturers be far behind?
Porcelain gives counters a new stain-resistant marble look,
shown here in Classtone from Neolith
Word is, some European brands are setting up American factories, so I’m hoping to see more leading European trends, products and technologies come to our side of the pond, too.
Next week: Top Products from Cersaie
Photo Note: Any images without a “Photo Courtesy” credit were taken by me on my iPhone 4S.