Beyond trends towards customisation | by Donatella Bollani

We always look forward to seeing new offerings at Cersaie and as usual we weren’t disappointed. The exhibitors taking part in this year’s ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings show once again displayed a wide range of products aimed at an increasingly international and specialised market.

And as always, we can recognise clear trends in the ceramic tile sector, including both novel interpretations of well-established products and entirely new proposals, some of which are destined to become future trends.

It is this tireless aesthetic and technological research that enables Italian exhibitor companies to truly set themselves apart from their international competitors.

The many buyers, installers and architects attending the show are already well aware of the unique technical and performance qualities of large-size thin tile. What they look forward to discovering in Bologna each year is the way in which these large-size tiles are reinterpreted and adapted to the needs of contemporary architecture.

Alongside the wide range of large sizes, another key trend is the creation of smaller sub-sizes – in many cases with striking geometries and finishes – which complement the new collections and offer scope for original interpretations of existing products.

The process of change undertaken by ceramic companies in recent years, which involves innovating the entire production cycle and adapting manufacturing operations to make the entire process more flexible, reflects the need to compete in a volatile market and to strengthen companies’ presence in the contract furnishing sector. This new market approach is reflected in the products we can expect to see at the show, including large-size tiles which are designed for ever bigger indoor and outdoor spaces and architectural envelopes but can easily be adapted to furnishing elements, worktops and accessories. To reach out to a broader public, we must continue to promote an awareness of ceramic as an attractive, hygienic and sustainable material while exploring new areas of use.

 

GEOMETRIES AND GRAPHIC DESIGNS

 

1. The Play collection from ABK rediscovers the most playful and decorative spirit of ceramics. The 20x20 cm square size is the centrepiece of this collection, whose patterns, designs and colours are inspired by the tradition of majolica and cement tiles and coordinate with the main collections in the catalogue.

2. Ariana is launching its WORN Remake multicolour version which uses all the colours in the range to create a modern patchwork effect. The Rombo 30 diagonal shape further enhances the collection’s decorative potential, breaking away from traditionally orthogonal layouts and allowing for novel installation patterns and Mix&Style combinations with the other materials in the catalogue.

3. Finding inspiration in Italian quarries, the Cava collection from Vallelunga & Co. consists of 60×120 cm slabs with extraordinary vein effects as well as decorations and mosaics designed for use in any space. The vein pattern lends dynamism to any surface, from the geometric design of the Domum decoration to the surprising blend of colours of Basket.

 

FLOWING COLOURS

1. The large-size Laminam ceramic slabs (1620x3240 mm, in various thicknesses) are available in a wide range of finishes along with the latest stunning FluidoSolido collection with its vibrant, luminous colours. The new ceramic surfaces are created through a process of controlled expansion of pigment flows.

2. LaFaenza has drawn inspiration from nature to create 6 different marble surfaces united by the colour white (Bianco Collection). One of these is Calacatta Macchia Vecchia with deep gold coloured streaks. It comes in a new 90×180 cm size and the classic 90×90 cm version, as well as two surfaces: one naturally heterogeneous, the other glossy honed.

3. The Paintboard collection by Tonalite proposes a range of intense, glossy colours on a surface marked by irregular horizontal lines, as though to create the effect of old varnished wood planks. Light plays with the colours and surface relief to create a sense of movement and depth. Size: 10×40 cm

 

NATURAL MATERIALS AND DECORATIVE CONTRASTS

 

1. Marvel Edge, the new Atlas Concorde porcelain tile and coordinated wall tile collection, is inspired by a selection of sophisticated marbles. The graphic perfection is further enhanced by a mirror honing technique while the depth of the marble effect is underscored by the large sizes. A decorative wall tile solution (pictured) contrasts effectively with the natural look of the slabs.

2. One of the latest offerings from Cotto d’Este available in the new Kerlite thicknesses, the Pietra d’Iseo collection is inspired by a Lombardy stone called Ceppo di Grè. Incorporating Protect antibacterial technology developed in partnership with Microban®, this finish stands out for its irregular design and countless grey tones and is specially designed for large indoor and outdoor surfaces.

3. The new Loft collection from Italgraniti exploits the value of wood surfaces transformed by nature and time. The collection reproduces the vintage look of reclaimed wood and creates interesting juxtapositions with many of the ranges in the catalogue.

4. Bio Select from Lea Ceramiche recreates the aesthetics and warmth of wood floors in a ceramic surface, combining large-size planks with a wide range of decorations. The ample scope for cutting geometric sub-sizes further enhances the collection’s versatility in terms of design.

5. Inspired by the lands of the ancient Celts, the new Dotcom collection from Viva reproduces the sandy, floury consistency of Northern European limestone. The compositional potential of the original material is further enhanced by the Ruled accent with its three-dimensional design and regular geometries and the eye-catching Random mosaic.

6. Portoro collection from Preziosi range by AVA reproduces a refined natural marble with powerful decorative appeal, ideal for elegant, prestigious applications. Available in sizes up to 320×160 cm, in thickness of 6 and 10 mm, and in lappato rectified finish, Portoro combines exceptional aesthetics with outstanding technological characteristics.

 

CLAYS AND METALS

1. Fincibec Group has launched the Over collection, a brand specialising in large sizes (160x320 cm and 120x260 cm). Contemporary design materials provided the inspiration for Titan, a wide range of surfaces with metallic and cementitious appeal.

2.  The Costruire collection from Serenissima is inspired by the material appeal and colour contrasts of clays and metals, as well as the soft look of freshly poured concrete. This innovative offering is based on the appeal of oxidised metals.

3. The Oxidart porcelain tile collection from Ceramica Sant'Agostino reproduces oxidised metal sheets that have been exposed to the elements in different atmospheric and lighting conditions at different times of day and in different seasons of the year.

 

FRAGMENTS AND THE SIGNS OF TIME

1. Small fragments of material and colour create a stylised texture, with irregular geometries that are a cross between Venetian terrazzo and Memphis Style patterns. In keeping with Casamood’s usual experimental approach, Artwork revisits the original source of inspiration, transforming a traditional art into a new compositional strategy.

2. The River collection from Flaviker offers an original interpretation of traditional Venetian terrazzo floors, combining surface homogeneity with the beauty of individual fragments while preserving the signs of wear and tear experienced over the centuries. The range includes micro-pebbles and submultiples that offer unlimited design potential for even the smallest details.

3. The I Cocci collection from Fioranese is inspired by the early twentieth century floors typical of farmhouses in Italy’s Romagna region, where reclaimed materials are incorporated into the floors and cement is used as a binder. The various sized fragments featured in the collection derive from old terrazzo and white terracotta floor tiles. The field tiles replicate the gravel pattern present in the accent pieces.

 

WARPS AND WEFTS

1. In the Denim collection from Appiani, a brand that began collaborating this year with FUD (the Lombardini22 group’s branding and communication division), the essence of denim is reworked through three ceramic mosaic decorations (Striato, Ondulato, Sfilato). Different movements and colours are achieved by varying the inclinations, the relationship between warp and weft and the pattern of stripes and weaves.

2. The Incipit collection (Valentino by Ceramiche Piemme) recreates the elegance of textiles with original patterns and a combination of textures. Thanks to special glazes and high-precision latest-generation digital decoration, the ceramic surfaces recreate the delicate effect of linen, arabesque silks and even the metallic meshes of contemporary fabrics. It is a true fashion collection ideal for any surface.

3. Maiolicata from Ornamenta is a “ceramicised” grey coloured lava stone treated artistically through the application of coloured granules that create textures on the compact surface. High-temperature fusion of the material creates a highly resistant material for use on floors and walls.

 

LARGE CONTINUOUS SURFACES

1. Casalgrande Padana is expanding its Kontinua large size collection inspired by natural materials (pictured, Pietra del Cardoso) with the addition of new finishes and colours.  The 6.5 mm thickness together with the large sizes (120x120 cm, 120x240 cm) expands the concept of surface covering, creating a sense of visual continuity between the various spaces and new integrated solutions for floors and walls, ventilated façades and custom furnishings.

2. The Grande 2018 collection from Marazzi has become even larger. The iridescent metal, stone and rare marble effect surfaces, available with a satin and glossy finish and in solid colours, are now produced in the new sizes 160x320 cm (with a 6 mm thickness) and 162x324 cm (12 mm) to enhance the compositional potential and sense of visual continuity or discontinuity on large horizontal and vertical surfaces, furnishing elements, countertops and entire facades.

3. Plain is the new extra-large solution from Refin. The 120x278 cm slabs (6 mm thickness) offer plenty of potential for customisation and coordinate both with the new collections in multiple material versions and with existing finishes such as Master Plan (Plain, Mold and Block).

 

October 2018