For more than a decade, we’ve been covering Cersaie, the annual exposition of ceramic and porcelain tiles held in Bologna. This year came the aha moment. We realized that tiles are analogous to an artist’s canvas, presenting a blank surface ready for an endless range of design and creativity—from both aesthetic and technological standpoints.
We oohed and aahed over patterns this year. They included bold contemporary graphics, frankly charming Mediterranean inspirations, and “ceramic wallpapers” running the gamut from oversized strawberries to a haunting, painterly pentimento interpretation covering a wall like aged plaster. Encaustic and majolica looks fit into the mix as well.
Ever-popular cement looks sported increasing amounts of texture and embossing and were sparked up with metallic touches. So too, in seemingly a first, were stones with glitter effects. A standout among the wood looks was a faded pattern, vaguely Scandinavian, printed on the planks. Dimensional effects were big, too.
Yes, there was color: blue and green, ocher, rose, and brick red were standouts. Subtle gradient effects were especially stunning. And there can never be too much black and white.
The big news in technology concerned size. Slabs were immense, reaching up to 5 ¼ by 10 ½ feet. Imagine, for example, covering a shower stall with just four pieces. Needless to say, installation requires special expertise and a steep learning curve.
What’s next? Tiles are expanding beyond walls and flooring to enter the furniture arena. Cersaie 2018 brought some standout tables front and center, adding to a growing concentration of countertops. Stay tuned for future innovations.