Cersaie never ceases to amaze

by Darren
Cersaie never ceases

Surprises abounded once again at Cersaie 2013, as many manufacturers followed the international Renaissance in wood looks, new wall textures and effects excelled themselves, and the latest designs in mosaics made a major impact.


Shayne Lessing, Walls & Roofs’ advertising manager, personally attended the 32nd edition of the international ceramics exhibition held in Bologna, Italy, during September. It 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 by about 60 000m² of exhibition space.

This year Cersaie attracted more than 100 000 visitors, 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 furnishing sectors.

Surprises abounded once again as many manufacturers followed the international Renaissance in wood looks, new wall textures and effects excelled themselves, and the latest designs in mosaics made a major impact.

The theme for the 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”. Not surprisingly, most exhibitors took this as the key to introducing the back-to-nature approach that prevailed throughout this year’s show, with faux wood and natural stone looks prevailing throughout the expo.

Trendy walls  
Apart from following the almost universal trend of providing faux looks of natural materials – particularly wood and natural stone – the bold, geometric and textured 3D tiles that were a hit last year have taken wall design one step further with the introduction of dominant black, white and gold effects that are truly stunning. There is even a Disney collection available!
Textured cement walls were also a predominant feature throughout the expo and, when combined with polished or textured floors, some stunning effects can be produced.
Perhaps the most staggeringly beautiful wall designs are the big format tiles that replicate everything from white marble to floral patterns in black and white or colour. The black and white designs, and the gold and bronze finishes, were apparent everywhere and definitely formed the biggest trend for walls (other than the wood look) this year.

With the accent on larger format tiles, intricate and textured patterns, floors and wall tiles that match or complement each other, together with “specialist” products with the use of long, narrow tiles and playing all the options such as textured finishes, flower designs, art deco representations and glass – Cersaie 2013 had everything that any architect or interior designer could desire.

This year saw considerably more mosaic ranges on offer than was seen in previous years, and with the emphasis on the natural looks some manufacturers are able to turn a normal wall into a work of art. Most manufacturers are also suppliers of all types of standard size listellos to match.

Many stands took the trouble to install the correct lighting, which really enhanced the “diamond cube” and “bubble” 3D mosaic designs.

One design in the mosaic ranges that caused excitement at the show was the 25x25mm monochromatic mosaic mounted on paper and available in 20 very attractive colours. These small, bevelled-edge mosaic tiles really caught the imagination of visitors.

The wood look
With the predominance of wood looks throughout the expo, one could miss the detail that is so exciting: Square ceramic tiles in parquet patterns that look so beautiful as a floor; the rich, tactile feel of the faux wood textures; narrow strip tiles and large planks and boards that enable designers to run riot by combining them; and finishes that replicate the distressed wood effects so popular with architects.

The cement look
The rugged, elementary beauty of cement with the performance and resistance of ceramics was a feature on many stands, with colour ranges that comprise anthracite, beige, brown, taupe and cement grey, with both classic cement shading and warmer varieties which enhance the aesthetic possibilities associated with the series.

What’s hot?
• The wood look in planks, and large and standard tile formats, including distressed wood and parquet looks.
• Geometric and 3D effects for walls.
• Emphasis on black and white, cold and bronze effects.
• Textural patterns and finishes in different styles and neutral shades.
• Mosaics, with floral and back-to-nature looks predominant.

iCementi Ariostea with their 300x150mm tile size gives surfaces a familiar taste and a refreshing “newness” at the same time. These ultra slabs provide designers with new technical and aesthetical features, ensuring both great resistance and a strong emotional impact, with none of the limits typical of the original materials that have inspired them. The twin properties of lightness and minimal thickness, as well as a roughly warm cement effect, offer pleasing contrasts and open up new horizons for design.

Another range that more than caught the eye was the tiles that look as though they are lifting off the walls.(PIC) The concept here is to offer the effect of the wall peeling, similar to a tree losing its bark, thereby replicating the effect of nature.

Clean air: A clean air and antibacterial ceramic tile range from Ariostea is obtained through the application at a high temperature of micrometric particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) which, by exploiting the photo-catalysis process, allows the creation of superior porcelain slabs for floors and walls that are anti-pollution and antibacterial, which effectively helps to improve the quality of life.

These slabs can significantly reduce the harmful effects of the main atmospheric pollutants and can almost completely eliminate some of the most dangerous bacteria for human health.

Spray drying and pressing: Metco Tiling has established a firm reputation for the quality of its printing on tiles, but are also leading exponents in spray-drying and pressing.

The spray-drying phase of the ceramic powder indirectly affects the colour yield of the soluble salts colouring solutions because it influences the evenness of the mixture and thus the evenness of the pressed body. It is important to maintain an even distribution of the sprayed product and avoid excessive quantities of the fine fractions. A sprayed product which is excessively rich in fine fractions may show uneven penetration because during pressing, the finest particles tend to move to the sides, causing the formation of more or less compact zones in the tile.

Pressing: The introduction of isostatic punches has significantly improved the uniformity of the pressing operation. At the same time, this phase of processing remains the most critical of the whole production process regarding the influence of developing the colouring of organo-metal complex solutions.

The first and main critical factor is represented by the evenness of the tile thickness: Soluble salts-based colouring solutions are capable of penetrating deep inside the ceramic mass, but they use large quantities of material, thus increasing the cost. For this reason, minute differences of thickness between one tile and another, or in different points of the same tile, are above the acceptable limit to obtain constant production at a low cost. All the outputs of the press thus have to produce tiles whose size differences are within a very small range of values, three tenths of a millimetre as an indication.

A second critical factor is the pressing pressure, which affects the density of the tile and thus the penetration of the colouring solutions in the material being decorated.

One stand that should never be missed at Cersaie is that of the tile manufacturer Marazzi, and its 2013 offering did not disappoint. Here you could see almost a complete review of the latest trends on one stand, with innovative porcelain tiles manufactured with environmentally aware, state-of-the-art processes; “ceramic woods” in a wide variety of faux exotic woods; a truly beautiful collection of coloured wall tiles; an original interpretation of seven natural stones in perfected likeness; and a collection of white body single-fired wall tiles produced with a free and non-conforming creativity.

Colour trends

• Black and white
Many manufacturers have combined last year’s favourite colours in different types of design, including extensive art deco representations.

• Grey
Grey is also represented, but this time in the numerous styles of cement wall designs.

• Colour
Back-to-nature walls were also regularly exhibited, with floral and “forest” scenes as a design feature.

• High colour
Mosaics rule the roost here, with glorious colours and the innovative use of metals and glass to complement their designs.

• Wood
There was so many wood looks for floors and walls this year, that one cannot but comment that in the right context the faux exotic wood finishes look outstanding, providing a sumptuous finish to any room.

Acknowledgement and thanks are given to the following sources for the information used in this review: Fruil Mosaic, Abissi dett, Fiandre, Cerdomas Ceramiche, Mosarte, iCementi Ariostea and Marazzi.

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