Tile from Marca Corona's Ekos Collection.

Visitors from more than 180 countries and five continents may be heard to shout "Molto buono!" (or "Very good!" for those of you who speak English) from Italian rooftops when they gather next month at Cersaie 2001 to view Italy's latest and finest ceramic tile products.

Event organizers expect 1,100 exhibitors from 30 different countries and more than 110,000 visitors to attend the international exhibition of bathroom furnishings and ceramics in Bologna, Italy, Oct. 2-7.

This year, world-renowned architect Alessandro Mendini designed Cersaie's logo. Mendini decorated a gateway with small tiles and multi-colored tesserae. The logo presents the 19th annual event as the "gateway" to view what are arguably the best new designs and technological achievements in ceramic tile.

Participants and attendees of Cersaie 2001 can expect to see a continuation of many trends introduced at Coverings 2001 in New Orleans, along with new and innovative designs from around the world.

This year at Coverings, slate looks dominated. Shades of coal gray, black and copper were high on the scale of popularity. Other tile manufacturers incorporated more traditional stone looks like granite, travertine, Solnhofen, limestone, Jerusalem stone, and marble. Many suppliers also offered glazed and unglazed rectified porcelain tiles. Thanks to their straight edges, these tiles provide for an installation that's virtually free of grout lines.

Tile from the I Quarzi Collection by Monoceram.
Cersaie 2001 will expand on these trends. Sure to be represented in large numbers are the ever-popular terrazzo-style tiles which, incidentally, made quite an impression at this year's Coverings event.

Expect more shimmering surfaces this year at Cersaie. At Coverings, visitors saw manufacturers incorporate sea glass and stainless steel metallic accents into their mosaic designs. One exhibitor mixed materials in a series of mesh-mounted mosaics featuring pieces of rescued sea glass and recycled terra cotta.

One of the most popular current trends involves the use of rectangles in ceramic tile design. Manufacturers offered both large and small rectangular tiles at Coverings. This year's Italian designs also made extensive use of curved edges, geometric shapes, cut-out patterns, and panels. And mosaics, which trace their origins to ancient Rome, are maintaining their popularity in the present day.

Tile by PI. SA from the Renaissance Collection.
A wide range of coloration also characterized products showcased during Coverings 2001. Matte blacks and shimmering grays enhanced with metallic-and-glass accents made a comeback in ceramic tile, alongside trendy blues, greens, soft yellows, and bright oranges and reds.

Naturalist motifs also figured strongly in the design direction of the show. Many new lines from Italian manufacturers featured leaves, animals, flowers, and even bamboo. An Italian fashion designer created a new line for one tile manufacturer that incorporated butterflies in black and white silhouettes.

Exhibitors at Cersaie 2001 will expand on the trends that were merely touched upon in New Orleans. In doing so, they will offer Cersaie attendees and the decorating world an opportunity to explore creative new ways to incorporate ceramics in both residential and commercial decors.