Italian Tile Showcases Texture and Color
BOLOGNA, ITALYFrom across the pond, European designs particularly
those from Italy continue to influence U.S. kitchens and baths.
This was particularly evident at the recent Cersaie, held here,
which showcased hundreds of tile designs and styles.
Some of the latest kitchen and bath tile trends to come out of
Cersaie reflect the fact that style trends from across the globe
are weaving their way into American kitchens and baths especially
when it comes to color and texture.
Bold color and patterns burst onto the show floor at Cersaie,
while retro looks and bas-relief-inspired designs in colorful as
well as in soft, neutral tones of gray, cream and black were seen
throughout the exhibit indicating several upcoming rends sure to
hit American homes, according to Italian tile manufacturers.
COLOR & TEXTURE
Tiles on display at Cersaie showcased vivid shades of blue and
yellow, which tile manufacturers, cited as being seen on a
recurring basis. These are appearing alongside more offbeat hues of
orange and chartreuse the former of which is already showing up
increasingly as a bold accent note in U.S. design. Texture also
made headway at Cersaie, with several manufacturers exhibiting some
unique residential designs that offered visual depth and
For example, a chunky, subway-style tile which could be used as
an accent in a kitchen or a bath called Pun was presented by Ascot
in amped-up shades of aquamarine, orange, blue, brown and
Bold color choices are also being seen in textured tiles and
cut-outs, as evidenced by the tiles showcased by several
manufacturers at Cersaie.
For instance, Dom’s Naturalia by Giorgio Vigna, combined several
of these tile trends in one tile design that featured bright
colors, scooped edges and a textured dot pattern.
Mosaic tiles, a traditional mainstay for accentuating kitchen
and bath designs with color, received a new twist at Cersaie from
one manufacturer. Marca Corona unveiled a new line of glass glazed
mosaic strips called Glossy that was displayed in vignettes that
placed the new tiles over splashes of paint to show designers
creative uses for the line. The company’s colorful mosaic line is
further evidence that residential tile including those specifically
made for the kitchen and bath are trending toward bright
Meanwhile, Ceramgres’ use of glass a material that is
increasingly being used in mix-and-max applications in U.S.
kitchens and baths was seen in unique, large-slab formats in
vibrant, liquid-like colors. The same company also featured Vitrum
Luxa glass tiles in bold colors that are seemingly accentuated by
reflections of light.
Further emphasizing that color is king, Italian wall tile
manufacturer Bardelli introduced an updated color system called
Colore & Colore and Reflessi & Reflessi. It features
“colorways” that are split into nine color families, 36 different
colors and two different finishes that are completely
NEUTRAL, NOT BORING
While Italian tile manufacturers were keying into the color trends
of Europe at Cersaie, they also had their eye on neutrals, with
several suppliers exhibiting tiles in muted tones of gray and
black. In addition, other shades that are less defined and, again,
more textured are also making headway, according to Italian tile
Taking their inspiration from soft cements, variations displayed
at the show included mottled grays, swirling muted blacks and cream
“These down-to-earth, industrial looks were often punctuated
with metallic inserts that would look equally at home in an urban
loft, stainless steel kitchen or commercial installation,” notes
Christine Abbate, spokesperson for Ceramic Tiles of Italy.
Illustrating this “industrial” trend was the concrete porcelain
tile from Atlas Concorde that was inspired by the aesthetic
appearance of concrete. The concrete look is just beginning to make
headway in upscale kitchens and baths in the U.S., and Abbate notes
that tile in Italy is increasingly reproducing the surface, colors
and movement of this material.
Part of the appeal of the cement influence is, once again, the
texture it provides, or at least implies, manufacturers
Texture an obviously recurring trend at Cersaie for tiles created
specifically for the kitchen and bath gives any design more depth
and interest, and draws on the appeal of elements inspired by
nature, according to Italian tile manufacturers. That’s why texture
found its way its way into all types of tile designs exhibited at
the show, regardless of the neutral or bold color adorning them,
“Textural effects such as linen, moss, leather, gravel, bark,
wood, sisal, florals, pebbles, dots, circles and metals are mixed
with porcelain, monocottura or terra cotta fields to add
dimension,” Abbate says of the textural tile trend seen at
One example of texture comes from Cotto Veneto. The Italian
company expanded its collection of finishes with a line of textured
terra cotta motifs that mimic the look of “nubblely” linen or
knitwear, Abbate explains.
Another line of mesh-mounted porcelains provided the aesthetic
of aged, tumbled pebbles, for a natural, worn look.
Tile manufacturer Grazia presented Boiserie, which featured a
different kind of texture. The new ceramic tile has the look and
characteristics of traditional American beadboard.
Still, the most popular of the natural, textured looks is stone,
manufacturers agree. “The appetite for elegant stone looks has
spurred an ever-expanding array of cost-effective, elegant and
low-maintenance porcelain options,” notes Abbate.
Stone-inspired porcelain can come in a variety of styles and
shades, including marble, slate, rough-hewn and desert.
For instance, playing on the colors and designs of the multi-hued
stone found in Bolivia, tile supplier Tagina has created its new
Santa Cruz series. And a glazed porcelain line from Piemme called
Terra de Fuoco provides the look and feel of rough-hewn stone,
according to Abbate.
Pattern in all forms, including swirls, geometric shapes and both
symmetrical and asymmetrical configurations, also emerged as a hot
tile trend at Cersaie.
In particular, tiles that recalled the look of the late 1960s
and early 1970s were most prevalent at the show. And, according to
tile manufacturers, the retro tile patterns displayed at Cersaie
play right into many of the retro looks that are being created for
the home, particularly for the kitchen and bath.
“Many of the decorative motifs on display [at Cersaie] were a
playful homage to that period,” adds Abbate.
Circular motifs, in particular, made a strong showing, with
decidedly yet modestly mod patterns, especially for walls.
Fashion designers at Benetton further emphasized the return to
retro tile patterns. They were tapped to create Joy, a line of tile
from Marazzi that recalls the 1970s with colorful green, orange and
Meanwhile, erring on the side of more neutral tones, several
tile manufacturers took a cue from the Verner Panton Op Art fabric
of 1961 to create the many white and black circular patterns that
were seen at Cersaie, according to Abbate.
Lastly, metallic tile styles made an appearance another trend
that has already won favor in the U.S. as an accent for
backsplashes and countertops with some manufacturers trending
toward the pairing of metal with wood and glass.
Playing on the continued popularity of earthy metallics,
mix-and-match pairings were seen with cool porcelains, stone,
marble, terra cotta and mosaics proving that some style trends
truly are global in scope.