Emilceramica's Antique Terracuite.

Elios' Alabastri Noce
Italian tiles are famous for their versatility. And nowhere will that quality be more evident than in Bologna, Italy, come October when the curtain rises on Cersaie 2000, the industry’s premier showcase for Italian tile. Thanks to their wide variety of shapes, colors and technical characteristics, Italian tiles are able to fill the ever-changing needs of both foreign and domestic consumers.

Edilgres-Sirio's La Formace di Provenza

Last year...

During the 1999 edition of Cersaie, a number of eye-catching new designs and trends established a niche in the Italian ceramic industry. At Coverings 2000 in Orlando, Fla., many American distributors and retailers received their first taste of what Italian tile had to offer.

Double Marble by Imola-Gres

This year...

Now, a mere five months after Coverings’ closing ceremony, visitors to the Trade Fair District in Bologna will again have the opportunity to view the latest innovations from the Italian tile industry. From Oct. 3-8, more than 1,000 of the world’s top manufacturers of ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings will exhibit for more than 100,000 professional operators the tile trends emerging in this evolving marketplace — both technologically and aesthetically.

This year, visitors to Cersaie can expect to see variations and extensions of trends introduced in 1999, as well as a number of design debuts. The new logo launched by the Italian ceramic tile industry at Coverings 2000 should provide a solid anchor from which the new product trends may hang.

Del Conca's Plus

Shapes and sizes

Modular rectangles appeared during last year’s Cersaie in no small way. Clearly the most prevalent new design direction, the ever-popular subway style was reinvented for the floor and wall. Rectangles were shown as tiny mesh-mounted mosaics; oxidized cotto; smooth matte-porcelains; “antiqued” artisan tiles; glazed extruded formats; and high-tech monocottura. These “mini-bricks” ran the color spectrum, from earthy cotto and muted blacks to bright, rich colors. Often modular in size, the format was characterized largely by its versatility.

Indian Stone from Atlas Concorde

The look

Rustic stone looks should continue their appeal. Last year’s exciting looks included a new blue stone surface, variations on the Jerusalem stone, and a number of new marble and slate looks. Several manufacturers displayed medallions of the latest stone looks accented with painted porcelain pebbles. Somewhat elongated in shape, the pebbles came in a variety of color choices, for both indoor and outdoor use. Look for the same type of efficient, decorative accents this year.

Also last year, the basic square pattern was revisited — to dramatic effect. To add interest, the Italians cut tiny square patterns within squares; framed squares; sliced and mesh-mounted corners; and glazed square patterns on square fields. This rediscovered interest in cut-out patterns went beyond the square to waterjet-cut patterns. Murals that fit together on a jigsaw grid and round relief inserts in fields of color were just some of the standout offerings.

Exploring new takes on developing trends opened the door for metallic looks and iridescent effects to appear in every shape and texture available. Several manufacturers mixed metal and glass, with surprising results. Stainless and copper traces were combined with colors, or else inserted into fields. Glass particles were mixed in glazes and sprinkled on porcelains before pressing. Metal surfaces were sculpted and covered with glass.

Eco's Collina

Other intriguing offerings

Terrazzo continued to gain in popularity in 1999, and this trend will likely continue to be evident at Cersaie 2000. Last year, new terrazzo interpretations were shown in through-body porcelains and monocottura tiles. One manufacturer showed bits of recycled cotto in a poured agglomerate slab. Others mixed cement, glass and resins to create one-of-a-kind surfaces.

Porcelain looks continue to evolve. Large-slab porcelains came glazed, double-loaded and textured at the 1999 event. Today, it is practically impossible to distinguish between porcelain and monocottura production. Look for even more advances this year.

Tiles that mimic the texture and look of textiles and lace also caught the eye of attendees in 1999. One manufacturer was able to bring the colored fabrics of a Moroccan marketplace to life. The technological advances allowing such detailed replications should make Cersaie 2000 a cornucopia of color and texture. Decorative relief tiles, complementing many of the wall tile offerings, were diverse in both style and subject matter.

Indian Slate from Sant'Agostino

Set sail

Nautical themes were popular in 1999, and should be visible this year as well. The most obvious trend last year was of things that grow. Vines, leaves, and flowers swirled across tile surfaces. It will be interesting to see what trend takes the forefront in 2000.

Cersaie creates business opportunities for profit and development, and presents attendees with a chance to obtain one of the most comprehensive overviews of the ceramic industry available today. No doubt, the breath-taking innovations seen at previous events will be more prominent than ever at Cersaie 2000.