Despite the parlous state of the Euro and the general decline in both construction and trading over the past few months, and also in the face of the increasing threat of the Chinese manufacturers and others in world markets, this year the Italian ceramics industry did what it always does when faced with such adversities – back to the drawing board it went to produce new trends and technologies.
FLOORS in Africa’s Business Manager, Roxanne Mancini, attended this year’s exhibition, and these are some of the lasting impressions she brought back with her.
Art and fashion combined on the Peronda Ceramicas stand which served as a stage for its latest collections in the Fine Arts, both classic and modern styles, which includes the exciting Roma collection in neoclassical architectural style, and the Foresta Collection which displayed the inclusion of simulated wood tiles.
With a huge display of different ranges, Ceramiche Atlas Concorde included a showcase of exclusive ceramic and porcelain collections dedicated to wellness areas.
Large-format tiles were much in evidence again this year, with Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola well to the fore with new graphics, surface treatments and technology with its 1,2m x 1,2m tiles.
Wood looks abounded at this year’s Cersaie, and if you thought that luxury vinyl tiles were the last word in simulated wood flooring – take a look at the ceramic equivalents now on offer!
For instance, Cerindustries reproduces all the nuances of natural wood with various configurations including classic herringbone, offset or modular with unusual and original applications.
Rex Ceramiche Artistiche has produced its Pietra del Nord collection, glazed porcelain floor tiles with a contemporary design, through-coloured body and textured finish reminiscent of fossil wood.
Marazzi was not left behind either, with its sophisticated TreverkHome range of wood-effect porcelain in neutral tones and lightweight tiles in large formats – perfect for those important renovations.
Gamma Due went one step further – using a fusion of wood and ceramics, a concept derived from the extensive use of ceramic inlays on parquet surfaces. Geometric details and floral stylistic features, and much more put the Woodeco range in a class of its own.
Italian ceramic manufacturers have long had a love affair with tiles used as pavements and/or forming a heavy-traffic walking surface with a modular base support. Look at the three different elevated pavement styles offered by Stripe Gres; Peldano; and Porcelanico Extruido – all depicting staggering modern technology.
Mosaics had a very high presence this year and the amount of innovation imparted to these miniature marvels was staggering. Commissioning world-class designers and artists to produce their latest ranges, DesignTaleStudio is in the forefront of mosaic inventiveness, combining with Refin Ceramiche to present new expressions on an old theme, including new ways to use light and its interaction with ceramic.
SICIS The Art Mosaic Factory was certainly not left behind either, with subtle and beautiful inspirations for mosaics that included unique formats for interior decoration that will be marketed through its own flagship stores on five continents.
We cannot leave mosaics without mentioning the rustic look of Salquisa with a wonderful selection of colours, hues and designs.
Out of the ordinary
Getting back to ceramic tiles again, there were some truly innovative offerings at Cersaie 2011. The new Emotion series of slip-resistant tiles in attractive colours caught the eye. Aiming at providing an extensive range of aesthetically pleasing tiles as its leading product, Agrob Buchtal emphasised its leading position with its full sales programme on display.
If you are looking for excitement and originality, look no further than Azuliber who introduced hexagon and irregular zigzag-shaped tiles to give an even more realistic look and feel to the rustic cobblestones of yesteryear.
Similar thinking went into the design of the Walk Technology exhibited by Margres Ceramic Style, with ‘walk brick’ tiles with staggered ends to interlock with each other to provide a superb pavement effect.
In reducing installation time and providing precise laying of tiles with no room for error, the Tuscan Leveling System (TLS) from Europa is another winner. Using a strap, cap and tool configuration, this is a fundamental advance in the laying of ceramic floors.
World-famous adhesive manufacturer Mapei was also prominently displayed with a wide range of adhesives and new techniques for the laying of thin porcelain tiles in particular.
Two more companies are well worth including as the finale to this review of Cersaie 2011 – Mirage Granito Ceramico and iTrend.
Mirage – with over 120-million square metres of tiles laid around the world – has researched the lifecycle of its products, searching for low-impact solutions that combine the functional aspects and aesthetic value of porcelain with the use of pre-consumer recycle material from other industrial processes. Eco-friendly in the extreme.
Finally, iTrend is a system that allows designers and consumers to create and revamp a room continuously on screen until the required result is finally achieved, and enabling the selected design, layout or colour to be captured or e-mailed to share with others.
In this short article we have only managed to scratch the surface of the new concepts, patterns, colours and technology, and not least the overall excitement of this annual venture – but have selected those that really caught the eye.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we did bringing it to you.