Nearly 100,000 people converged in Bologna, Italy for the 40th edition of Cersaie, the annual international exhibition of ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings. At this momentous anniversary, 634 exhibitors reflected on the industry’s many innovations: tiles have evolved to look and feel nearly identical to wood, marble, and cement; they’re larger, thinner, and lighter than ever; and they optimize performance, innovating anti-slip and anti-mold technologies. Plus, more and more facilities are becoming carbon neutral.
So what’s next for the world of tiles? This year exhibitors found out-of-the-box ways to implement them, such as a pseudo carpet or to completely conceal stove eyes for a smooth kitchen counter. Others have found inspiration through texture. Ceramiche Refin experimented with melted candle wax to inspire a velvety smooth surface. Subtle texture ran throughout the exhibition floors as a whole, either in the mix-and match-concrete– and travertine-look at Italgraniti, or the quiet grooves within Ceramica Fioranese‘s Ôgi collection.
Among all the new entries in ceramic tiles, the following stood out from the crowd for their inventive usage, advanced research, and ability to strike a precise tone.
Ceramiche Refin | Cera
The research team at Ceramiche Refin dutifully melted, casted, and solidified beeswax to transmute its tactile qualities via ceramics. Their technological and aesthetic pursuit resulted in Cera, an immersive range that’s dreamy on the eyes and buttery soft to the touch. From a distance, the gray and cream shades appear like large blended swaths of color. A closer look reveals the depths of thin veins that run through each. It’s a mesmerizing and elegant design that elevates tiles to the multi-sensory.
Atlas Concorde | Marvel Meravigli
Atlas Concorde announced their new collection inspired by Calacatta Meravigli marble, Marvel Meravigli, which they debuted through a partnership with Zaha Hadid Architects. The architects took the elegant marble-look and created a decorative mosaic, dubbed Diamond, that playfully adheres and then interrupts a rigid geometric pattern. Comprising diamonds, triangles, cubes, and irregular hexagons, the mosaic is both a crystalline structure with an iterative color scheme and a disruptive pattern. Marvel Meravigli’s subtle, marbled veins and swatches only provide additional depth to the transforming mosaic.
Antiche Fornaci D’Agostino | La Lampara
Evoking the Mediterranean and its picturesque oceans, Antiche Fornaci D’Agostino’s La Lampara collection is resplendent in blue and outlying stripes. A modern take on traditional Mediterranean tiles, the collection comprises all-white, all-blue, and blue on white (or vice versa) tiles that can be customized to create new, striking patterns. On the floor of their booth at Cersaie, the designers even used the single-colored tiles to form a blue “rug,” perimetered by the striped designs to create a tasseled effect.
Ceramica Bardelli | Play
Design meets the gaming world in Play, the new PlayStation–inspired collection from Ceramica Bardelli. Whimsical and saturated, the tiles include the triangle, circle, and cross (made in bas-relief) found on the console’s controller. The collection is an effort to, as the brand says, seek “inspiration outside of the box” and “beyond classicism.” Of all the bold and geometric designs that united many of the exhibitors, Bardelli’s was a unique, playful take on the trend.
Italgraniti | Travertini e Cementi
Italgraniti shared two new collections—Cementi and Travertini—and then combined them with compelling contrast. The former, a cement-inspired collection, opts for a clean, modern aesthetic, available in seven colors and three thicknesses. The latter is a regal range that takes after travertine, coming in both cross-cut and vein-cut versions. It’s offered with two geometric decorations designed by architects Andrea Parisio and Giuseppe Pezzano: the first a semi-circle in relief, and the second a subtle ribbed etching. Both are made with Italgraniti’s StrideUp technology to ensure slip resistance while maintaining a smooth surface, and when combined, elegantly meld contrasting aesthetics and textures.
Decoratori Bassanesi | Lofoten
A return to nature has been a recurring theme throughout many areas in design, and Cersaie is no exception. Decoratori Bassanesi’s Lofoten collection, designed by Federica Biasi, takes cues from the landscape and architecture of Lofoten, Norway. The country’s colorful vernacular and rorbuer (fisherman huts) is present within the collection’s palette of neutral and saturated tones. Dual tongue-and-groove cladding—one that’s narrow and another with a wider pitch—evoke the pastoral and add a depth to the pleasing simplicity of Lofoten.
ABKSTONE | Cooking Surface Prime
ABKSTONE’s marble-inspired ceramic tiles, paired with their durable performance technology, makes for a clean, minimalist cooktop that’s as functional as it is elegant. The Cooking Surface Prime is an invisible induction cooking system, made possible with the company’s heat-resistant tiles, capable of withstanding fireplaces. A porcelain surface conceals three or four induction hobs to create a truly minimalist kitchen while freeing up prime counter space. Now, the company looks to expand their cooktop collection with an upcoming outdoor range.