Tile One On

Whether your taste runs to Asian tapestries or crocodile skin, you can have it with the new ceramics.

After the long monotonous reign of minimalist materials and colors, ceramics—with their inherent warmth and texture—are enjoying a huge comeback. More than 1,000 exhibitors from 32 countries and 88,500 visitors attended Cersaie last September in Bologna to see the world’s largest display of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings in the latest colors, styles, and textures. Decorative trends included Bisazza’s trompe l’oeil panels and Bardelli’s Primavera pattern, which allows you to create personalized arrangements by connecting various floral prints. Celebrity was much in vogue, with Italian manufacturers heavily promoting prestige kitchen and bath products by Tord Boontje, Marcel Wanders, and Nigel Coates. A trend that began a few years ago, tiles simulating other materials, was bigger than ever in the form of crocodile skin (Settecento’s Crocotile), wood-grain patterns (Cerim’s I Legni), and painted wainscoting (Grazia’s Electa).

Breakthroughs in glazes and pressing technologies have produced tiles with improved strength, better nonslip properties, and more eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Similar innovations have led to the emergence of architecturally scaled 3-D effects. For example, Massimiliano Fuksas’s 8-by-15.7-inch porcelain Sculpture, developed by Cerdomus, features ridges that can be positioned vertically or horizontally. This is just a sampling of the diverse styles and high-performance tiles available today.

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