Ceramics of Italy: Terrazzo and Marble

General / People / Places / Products / October 2, 2019

If, as Bob Dylan famously wrote, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble, the arcades of Bologna are paved with terrazzo.

At the CERSAIE tile show there last week, artisans clearly took cues from that art form so prevalent across the city.

But that was just one new trend from the world’s largest tile show, held annually in late September – in a in a setting the size of five football fields.

The other trends to consider: Faux marble is mounting a multi-colored comeback, in as many striations as Joseph’s biblical coat. It’s refined and exquisite, and virtually indistinguishable from the real thing – except it’s thinner: three millimeters for walls and six for floors. Slabs of it reach up to five by ten feet.

It draws inspiration from the real deals from Turkey, China, Iran, Brazil, and Mexico. That means veins of gold, streaks of ochre, bands of blue, with yellow and green thrown in for good measure. The colors are bright, with yesterday’s restraint mostly gone.

Then there are the patterns – fabric-like in repetition, matte finished for an authentic presentation of porcelain in its natural state. These are architecture-inspired, with grids of dots, slashes of diagonals, diamonds geometrically spaced, lines horizontally balanced, bubbles popping up, and even pebbles randomly scattered.

Agreeably, the wood patterns of yesterday now are mostly a thing of the past – though some contours and textures are raising edges and eyebrows too. The concrete look is greatly diminished, save flourishes tinted blue and green. One of the most striking new offerings is the duality of two of 2018’s favorites: rough-edged wood juxtaposed against slabs of faux concrete.

This is a show that not only evolves and grows bigger every year – it’s also an international extravaganza that never fails to surprise and amaze.

With apologies to Bob Dylan, the professionals at Ceramics of Italy have yet to paint their masterpiece.

And when they do, it’ll be as smooth as his rhapsody to Rome.

For more, go here.

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Mike Welton

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on October 4, 2019

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