The 36th edition of Cersaie, a massive annual international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, again took place in Bologna, Italy, from 24 to 28 September 2018. This year the show was even bigger than the last, with an additional three new halls spanning 5 000m², bringing the total exhibition space to an incredible 161 000m², accommodating about 840 exhibitors from 40 countries.
WALLS & ROOFS editor in chief, Marlene van Rooyen, attended and brought back insights about the Italian tile industry as well as the latest trends.
The Italian tile industry
With about 85% of Italian tiles being exported, the industry is competing with products from all over the world, including cheaper products from China.
Michele Scannavini, president of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), pointed out that it isn’t enough anymore for Italian manufacturers to offer a premium product – they also have to be at the forefront of technological innovation to increase efficiency, which will keep costs down in order to be able to compete successfully.
Interestingly, the Italian government has invested heavily in this industry, providing about four or five euro for each euro spent by these companies. This ensures a high level of responsibility and visibility to raise the competitiveness of products.
In fact, the ratio of turnover to investment was almost 10% in 2017, according to Emilio Mussini, chairman for promotional activities at Confindustria Ceramica. “This shows that companies understand that successful competition has a lot to do with technology, manufacturing, management and operation costs,” he said. Transport is another aspect that is becoming more strategic and the last ten years have seen major infrastructure development.
Palma Costi, regional minister of economy and development in the Emilia-Romagna region, added that at 70,5%, the tile industry has the highest employment rate in the country and that social development is a priority. Furthermore, infrastructure is supported, competitiveness is protected and global challenges are addressed collectively.
Trend update: The best in tiles right now
Giving an overview of the latest developments and looks, Cristina Faedi, Marketing Director for promotional activities at Confindustria Ceramica, highlighted the major trends that emerged from the miles of tiles exhibited at Cersaie 2018.
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Main image: London Art