The Architect’s Newspaper just got back from a week in Bologna, Italy, exploring Cersaie—Italy’s ceramic tile design fair. There were a few recurring themes amongst exhibitors, and here are the trends that really stuck out. Click on each thumbnail to see the larger version!
A lot of companies were showing tiles inspired by fashion. We saw designs emulating the weft and stitching of suiting fabrics as well as printed and mosaic tiles resembling houndstooth, tartans, and lace.
This year pattern was taken a step further. Rather than traditional flat tiles laid in ways to give the illusion of depth, these tiles are actually formed to have three-dimensional textures that create different shadows depending on the light.
It may seem cliché to have tile inspired by natural stone, but with advancements in digital printing techniques, designs inspired by traditional natural materials (like French limestone and Belgian bluestone) looks and feel just like the originals with all of the added benefits of porcelain.
Nobody does terrazzo quite like the Italians, and this year there was a large spike in ceramic tiles made to look like the traditional flooring motif. Often this was paired with designs resembling traditional mismatched hand-painted tiles that can be found in old bars and restaurants across the area. Offerings included single pattern tiles, which could be mixed-and-match accordingly as well as large format sheets that had a repeating pattern meant to look like mosaic.