Cersaie 2013 – Better than ever but ‘wood’ prevails

by Tania Wannenburg
Cersaie2013 better

The 31st edition of the international ceramics exhibition held in Bologna, Italy during September 2013 certainly lived up to its reputation for providing the latest trends and designs in ceramic tile and bathroom ware, with an increased number of visitors accommodated in around 60 000m² of exhibition space.

This year Cersaie attracted a total of 100 769 visitors, 5.7% down on last year, but with international visitors (+4.2%) making up almost 50% of the total.  With an average attendance of 20 000 visitors a day on each of the five days of the show, half of whom were from outside Italy, Cersaie 2013 maintained the exhibition’s international appeal and its role as a leading global trade fair for the ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings sectors.

The international appeal of Cersaie is demonstrated by the figures for international exhibitors, which this year amounted to 302 – a third of the total – from 34 different countries, two more than last year (Japan and Slovenia).

The theme for the 2013 event was ‘Cersaie, in praise of normality – an invitation to take an objective look at the world as it really is, to consider ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings as elements that belong to the sphere of everyday living, both historically and in terms of their expressive and functional potential’ and, not surprisingly, most exhibitors took this as the key to a back-to-nature approach that prevailed throughout this year’s show, with faux wood and natural stone looks dominating the expo.

The commercial side of the event was complemented by the broad cultural approach of this year’s “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” programme with practical demonstrations staged in “Tiling Town” and the free consulting service offered to the general public in “Cersaie designs your home” – an initiative fronted by Paola Marella.

Trends at Cersaie

Following the pattern of the previous two years, the latest trends were once again inspired by natural materials, with practically every manufacturer displaying their versions of the wood look that has become internationally popular, and the imitation natural stone which seems to be the next progression.

This also resulted in ‘planks’, faux parquet, experiments in tactility, and both walls and floors exhibiting the concrete look – including a textured feel. Mosaics for walls had a very high profile this year, as did black and white contrasting designs, and large-format, thin porcelain tiles producing stunning designs in both floral and ‘pencil art’ patterns.

Terracotta, that was so popular last year, seems to have taken a back seat in 2013, but the use or promotion of ceramic tiles for outdoor applications including patios, decking and pool surrounds was more prominent this year.

This also included innovations such as using artificial grass as a grouting material for outside use; raised supports for floors on flat roofs; and digital designs for floor and wall tiles to produce feature floors reminiscent of antique and art décor patterning.

One cannot talk about innovation without considering the worldwide emphasis on green materials, and this resulted in several manufacturers at Cersaie highlighting their successes in being able to recycle production waste, or using other materials such as glass in their production processes.

Details of the trends at Cersaie form the subject of a separate article in this issue.

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