Every fall, the ceramic tile elite congregate in Bologna, Italy for what has become the equivalent of Milan’s fashion week. Cersaie, the international tile and bath show, is held annually and saw well over 100,000 visitors this year.
|"Everybody is pushing the boundary. The result is added value to already trusted materials."|
Visitors come from all over the world to see what’s new in an industry traditionally led by Italian tile makers. No one was disappointed this year. It was a feast of the best in trends, technology, and design.
Shelly Halbert, Product Design Director at Dal-Tile noticed “Woods in smaller sizes installed in herringbone patterns. Bricks everywhere in many different interpretations from traditional, modern and monochromic in multiple formats such as wall, paver and interlocking. Concrete ranged from minimalist to very rustic. Classic Marbles for floor and wall in large formats, both polished and matte finishes. Wall tile in everything from 3 x 6 to 16 x 48. Traditional, contemporary, 3 dimensional, monochromic, and decorated. It was a different game this year.”
Karen Sigrist, product designer at Dal-Tile, observed “Everybody is pushing the boundary. The result is that instead of adding different materials, they are adding value to already trusted materials.”
Here’s a closer look at what attendees saw this year.
Things Get Creative with Wood
Wood-look tile has been hot for a few seasons already, and that will continue as each passing product launch uses better and better technology. The scans of natural wood samples, inkjet printing, and realistic surface texture have made wood-grain tile look nearly indistinguishable from the real thing without a closer inspection.
Daltile representatives at Cersaie saw a lot of experimentation in wood-looks. Seeing technology in action was the highlight of these products.
Reclaimed, weathered, distressed—whatever you want to call it, it was everywhere at Cersaie. Vendors displayed barn wood-looks, aged painted wood-looks, and the beautiful greys of weathered wood-looks.
Whitewashed, bold and bright colors in geometric patterns, and floral designs all showed up in painted style wood-look
This tile takes wood grain and flips it around to show the tree ring edge of the wood. It’s a reallyinteresting new take on wood.
Concrete Cemented as a Trend
Concrete-looks have been around for a few seasons but it was everywhere at Cersaie. It’s really hitting its stride this year as a trend with staying power. Time to add some more urban chic to the design mix.
Much of the cement-look tile this year had a soft look to it. There were lots of warm colors and textures that softened the bluntness of traditional cement.
Cotto and concrete are a natural pair. The rustic flair gives these concrete-look tiles depth and character. The slight color variation adds the sensibility of age that grounds this look and makes it more than just a fad.
Shapes and Sizes
Concrete-look tiles made an appearance as planks, hex, mosaic, and large format at the show. It keeps with the tendency to elevate the concrete-look to something high-end and high-style.
Marble Interpretations Abound
Other Trends Worth Mentioning:
Another trendsetting concept at Cersaie was marble-look. April Wilson, Brand Marketing Director at Dal-Tile said “Beautiful, ultra-realistic Carreras, as well as dark, rich browns and blacks, and translucent grays and whites all emerged as beautiful (but more affordable) options to natural stone.”
Imaging technology allows a realistic marble look on ever durable porcelain that can be applied to kitchens, bathrooms—even outdoors—without the worry of damage and never-ending maintenance.
Calacatta’s traditional white with grey veining was the star of the show. It’s the look that comes to mind when you think about marble. The tiles have a veining pattern that isn’t obviously repeating so the look is much more realistic. And the digital imaging uses real marble to create the visuals for the tile.
A marble-look in porcelain allows for all kinds of applications that just weren’t on the radar before. This was reflected in the many interpretations of marble found throughout the show in floor, wall, mosaic, and mixed media tile.
Bricks Reach for the Sky
Brick-like tile is another style that has been present at Cersaie for a few years. Designers took the look further this year and tinkered with the original Chicago loft-look.
The reclaimed, exposed brick is still big. At the show it emerged in many colors, textures, and variations. Many traditional brick tiles were seen side by side with other brick looks like marble, wood, or concrete.
The brick look showed up in every color of the rainbow and even had some graphics and text. Mixing different colors on the same wall was also a new development that seems to be gaining popularity.
Brick, up to this point, has been mostly on the walls. But no more. Brick has migrated to the floor and is looking great. Brick-look in porcelain tile is a winning combination on the floor.
Wall Tile Takes Center Stage
Wall tile wasn’t just about backsplash at Cersaie. It seems tile has moved to the wall as a serious contender as a wall covering. It was the big surprise of the show. Largely absent from previous years’ shows, everyone has taken advantage of the technology available and is exploring the possibilities on the wall.
Long tiles, large format included, were very prevalent. Most applications showed tiles at least 24 inches long.
Waves, geometric shapes, and intricate patterns rising off the surface of the tile created wow factor for the walls in vignettes at Cersaie. The sleek look falls right in with the favor designers are showing for clean but interesting design.
Metallic is still a favorite but it is showing up more as an accent than the main event. Its impact is more dramatic in small, well-placed doses.
Daltile designers came away from the event inspired to create and encouraged to continue. Look for on-trend tile from Daltile as soon as this fall.
Massimo Ballucchi is director of product design at Dal-Tile. He joins the From the Floor Up team occasionally as a guest contributor. Look for more insight into trends and design from him in the near future.