Now Trending: Cersaie 2012

We recap some of the hottest trends in ceramic and porcelain tile spotted at Cersaie's 30th anniversary.

by Adam Moore

The international Cersaie show holds a special place in the hearts of tile enthusiasts and product editors everywhere, and not just because it’s an excuse to travel to Bologna, Italy in September (although that’s probably one reason). It’s because Cersaie has become the place to spot the latest trends in porcelain and ceramic tile, thanks to its proximity to the continent’s leading tile producers and the vast number of products on display.

The year’s show, Cersaie’s 30th, was no different. More than 470 tile manufacturers served up a visual feast of pattern and color with geometric graphics, intentionally random patterns and encaustic-inspired tiles. Here’s a quick look at some of the most notable trends to emerge from the show; check out our blog, Inside Sources, for more pictures from the show floor.

mixed materials Patchwork tiles and compositions of varying colors, sizes and materials were popular, with many companies looking to give designers added opportunities for self-expression. A prime example of this could be found in Minoo, Marcel Wander’s third decorative tile collection for Bardelli. Intentionally designed for patchwork, the ornate 8 by 8-inch porcelain floor tiles are available in five silkscreen patterns reminiscent of Persian rugs.

Casamood offered a rich palette of mixable colors and surfaces through its Materia Project. Inspired by everything from rough cement walls to irregular panes of glass, the collection includes eight colors and surfaces with matching grout that can be coordinated or mixed and matched.

To create a mixed wood effect, EmilCeramica used HD technology to transform photographs of 50 fossilized wood blocks into the Petrified Tree collection. Bark reproduces the bark of fossilized wood with a rough-hewn, anti-slip finish while Core (in a natural or polished finish) reinterprets the petrified core of the tree.

Philippe Starck made one of the biggest splashes at the show with his first-ever ceramic tile collection, Flexible Architecture, produced by Italian manufacturer Ceramica Sant’Agostino. The tile joint, which is typically minimized or hidden entirely, becomes a central feature and decorative modular element in the line. It can be specified on one to four sides of the tile—or on no sides at all—to create an endless array of architectural compositions. A variety of thicknesses (7 and 12-millimeter), surfaces (matte and glossy) and colors (white, yellow, grey and greige) add to the product’s flexibility.

encaustic & majolica looks Although it can feel like neutrals and earth-tones have taken over as of late, a number of square ceramic tiles with bold, solid colors and striking patterns gave us hope. Some companies introduced traditional majolica motifs in new blown-out sizes and patchwork effects, while others were inspired by vintage encaustic tiles.

Azulej, Patricia Urquiola’s latest tile collection for Mutina, exemplifies this trend best. Inspired by ancient handcrafted majolica made of hydraulic cement, the 8 by 8-inch glazed porcelain tiles are available in three neutral base colors in a choice of nine patterns, or as a combination of 27 different designs.

Another avant-garde example comes from Refin’s Frame collection. Designed by graphic design firm Studio FM, the 30 by 30-inch tiles feature traditional decors from majolica tiles of the 19th and 20th centuries, but presented in a more graphic light.

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