Petraia by Imoker is a glazed porcelain tile available in seven colors and a variety of different sizes.

Cersaie, the world's largest international exhibition of ceramics for the building industry, marks its 20th anniversary in 2002. This year's show is slated for Oct. 1-5 in Bologna, Italy. To commemorate the 20-year milestone, event organizers have developed plans to enhance the show program with an inspirational new architectural program dubbed "Involucri."

The special Involucri program has been organized in collaboration with Italian architect Massimo Iosa Ghini and a planning committee consisting of architect Andrea Branzi, Gilda Bojardi, director of Interni magazine, and Dante Donegani, architect and lecturer at the Domus Academy.

The committee selected four world-famous architects -- among them were Massimo Iosa Ghini and Shiguru Uchida/Studio 80 -- and commissioned them to create mini pavilions/structures (i.e. Involucri) that explore new technology and materials in design. These plans will be discussed during an architectural forum scheduled for Oct. 2. The projects will also be on display at the Involucri exhibit at Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna. On Oct. 1, an economic forum will be conducted in which leading economists will discuss the state of the ceramics industry.

Visitors to the Cersaie Centro Servizi will experience, first hand, an exhibit designed by American designer Mitchell Mauk. Located within the information area of the show venue, there will be an all-new exhibit on baths of the future. This year, each of the six featured baths will be designed by a leading interior designer or architect.

Mercurio, new technical porcelain from Colorker, will be launched at Cersaie 2002. The polished porcelain series is available in soft natural colors (pearl, beige, ivory, and chestnut).
Of course, the main reason why more than 100,000 visitors per day flock to Cersaie each year is to stay on top of the latest trends in ceramic design. Trends at the show will expand upon those hinted at during the recent Coverings 2002 show in Orlando, Fla.

No doubt, one of the most prominent trends likely to be showcased at Cersaie is the growing poularity of metallic designs. Notable examples to look for in this area include Refin Avantguarde, Cotto Veneto Acciaio, Ascot Splash, ABK Gres, Settecento's Palazzo Dei Normanni, Gambarelli Avalon, SCIS Metallismo mosaics, and Trend's shimmering metallic mosaics.

Another burgeoning product trend to watch for will be tiles that imitate the look of stone finishes. Examples of these popular low-maintenance porcelain looks are Tagina Tapetto, Eco Ceramica Marmaron, San Prospero Colorado, Monocibec Century's Arte Del Marmo, Panaria Rocky Mountain, Piemme Terra de Fuoco, Italgraniti, Cerim Western Stone, and Rex Bianco Calacatta.

Italian ceramic producers continue to experiment with tile forms, and many exhibitors will be showing new modular formats. Coverings 2002 standouts that will be on display in Bologna include Ascot Self, Brennero's Punto a Capo, La Faenza Cotto Faenza Classic, Valverde Chalet, Senio Arte Nouveau, Pastorelli Castelmonte, and Cerdomus Pietro Di Assisi.

This year's edition of Cersaie will be awash in color as manufacturers present trend-setting new colors. Popular colors will include blues, grays and blacks. Some examples include Il Pavone, Il Sole, La Bottega de Ceramista, Fancesco De Maio, Senio, Del Conco, Cotto Veneto, and Emil Ceramica.

Warm colors -- like rust, brown, terra cotta, and orange -- are also in demand. Some highlights include Cemar Gonzagal, Saime Quarziti, Marca Corona Jam, Castelvetro Alpi and Cotto Veneto.

Ker-Av's Frammenti e Riflessi features watercolor-decorated mosaics on a porcelain tile body with a large thickness of glass.
Italian ceramic producers are expected to exhibit rich, three-dimensional surfaces inspired by natural materials including fabric, bamboo, sand, sisal, linen, woven rugs, wood, gravel, and bark. Prominent examples of such textures include Grazie Boiserie, Lea Tecnoquartz, SAICIS Bingo Bongo, Cotto Veneto, Refin Pietre Di Sicilia, and Cerim Seria KI.

Complementing the broad range of Italian ceramic products on display at Cersaie 2002 will be the offerings of exhibitors from more than 30 countries representing in excess of 1,000 companies.

Spain, the second-largest producer of ceramics worldwide, will have an increased presence at this year's show, with 97 of the country's top ceramic tile manufacturers signed on to exhibit their wares. The Spanish contingent will be the largest group of foreign exhibitors at the show, representing nearly 50 percent of participating non-Italian manufacturers.

Spanish porcelain products at Cersaie will incorporate several technical breakthroughs. Among these will be integral design, which replicates the full-body veining found in natural stone, as well as double-press technology and silicone rolling screens that allow for design patterns to be applied to the low-relief areas of textured surfaces.

In addition, Cersaie 2002 will see a continuation of the trends that were evident at Coverings earlier this year -- including a prevalence of rustics, which will be more refined and sophisticated. Mosaics and mosaic imitations will on display in antique versions of tumbled or polished marble, and in glass-like finishes in a variety of contemporary colors.

Metallic, glass and wood accents remain popular, as are textured finishes such as stucco, textiles, natural fibers, wood, and leather. Large formats and modular systems will also be found in many manufacturers' lines, with many suppliers introducing coordinated wall and floor tile series. Many Spanish manufacturers will be introducing new product lines in Bologna, including Alcagres, which will launch a new series called Parques Naturales featuring six varieties in 20-by-20-inch format. Also introducing new product lines will be Azteca, Ceracasa, Colorker, Roca, and Rocersa.

As always, Cersaie promises a wealth of new designs and innovations which, if tradition continues, will set the worldwide trends in ceramic design for the coming year. And U.S. tile professionals will get an advance look at the product trends which, almost invariably, will one day make their influence felt in the American marketplace.