Trends in Tiles from Ceramics of Italy

Sure, CERSAIE – the international exhibition of tile and bathroom furnishings – has been pushed off until Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, 2021.

But that doesn’t mean that tile and product manufacturers have lain dormant. Just the opposite’s true, and some interesting trends are now afoot.

One of the more intriguing is a new process for manufacturing faux marble in porcelain. “There’s a new technology where the edges match the surface,” says Kristin Coleman, spokesperson for Ceramics of Italy.  “As materials are poured onto a conveyor belt to form the tile, operators are controlling which materials are placed where.”

Select materials are blended, pressed and fired to get what’s called a “through-body vein.” The veins and grains go all the way through the tile, rather than simply being printed on one side. In essence, it’s a controlled sedimentation process.

“It’s 3-D glazing so the surface matches the graphics of the tile,” she says. “What looks like a vein far away, when you get up close the surface has grooves that are hyper-realistic.”

As for colors, pinks, blues, and greens still rule, says Coleman. “Pastel is not quite the right word – it seems to be a more dusty color palette,” she says. “There’s the Pantone blue, plus rare blue marble, and all-across-the-board blues everywhere.”

And in patterns, the terrazzo look of fragmented patterns on larger surfaces is still coming on strong.

Some patterns are more organized than others. “Because it’s printed porcelain tile, the manufacturers can control the pattern they print,” she says. “For example, fragments of marble appear to be inlaid inside a circle of wood – there’s a real playfulness with different materials overlaid.”

More than 112,000 people usually flock to CERSAIE every year, about half of them coming to Bologna from around the world.

So the one upside to cancelling the 2020 show? It’s giving organizers 12 more months to prep for 2021 – with in-person and digital opportunities for all who attend.

For more, go here.


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