Launch Slideshow

Italian Companies Refresh Tile Offerings With Color, Patterns

Expect to see these designs in showrooms soon.

Italian Companies Refresh Tile Offerings With Color, Patterns

Expect to see these designs in showrooms soon.

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    It looks like marble, but it ain’t marble. The Pietra Splendente by Ceramiche Coem offers the timeless strength and beauty of polished marble. Made with Deep High Definition 3D printing technology, the tiles assume a polished surface with veining and streaking that create a “mirror” effect. It comes in four colors and three sizes. www.coem.it.

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    HZL Zelo from Del Conca is a through-body rectified porcelain tile collection that is ideal for the home furnishing market, the company says. The line comes in four sold colors that can create a modern subdued look, or it may come with graphic floral patterns for a touch of decoration and whimsy. Sizes include 24 inches by 24 inches, 4 inches by 24 inches, and mosaics. www.delconca.com.

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    Tiles that look like delicate fabrics, such as Visionary from Fap Ceramiche, are hot. Specialists in ceramic wall tiles, the company says the glossy glazed rectified white body tiles are ideal for the bath. Made with 3D printing technology, the products come with matching decorations such hexagonal mosaic strips. One size, 12 inches by 22 inches, and eight colors are available. www.fapceramiche.com.

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    Many tile manufacturers do stone-look ceramic tile, but some companies do it better than others. Ceramica Fioranese’s Eco_Alabaster is the company’s latest natural stone floor and wall covering. Made with over 40% recycled content, the classic stone design has been given a contemporary twist with delicate shades and modern patterns, the company says. It also comes with complementary mosaics. www.fioranese.it.

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    White isn’t the only color in the tile aisle. Natural stone-look wall tiles such as this balast number from Impronta Ceramiche is every bit as versatile. The white-body wall tiles come in seven interpretations of natural stones and one size, 9½ inches by just over 23 inches, with a matte surface finish. www.impronta.it.

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    Pure, a monochrome, multi-faceted tile by Mirage Granito Ceramico, offers architects and builders a variety of textures, reflections, and shadows. The high-performance, full-body colored porcelain product can be used on ventilated facades or high-traffic areas. Five colors and three sizes are available. www.mirage.it.

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    If you’re squeamish about marble because it stains easily, I Marmi Italiani from Ceramica Sant’Agostino can solve your problems. The through-color body porcelain product has the polished look of real stone due to revolutionary digital ink-jet printing technology. It comes in six colors and a variety of sizes, including mosaics. www.ceramicasantagostino.it.

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    Lava from VIVA Ceramica comes in a wide range of bold tile patterns that allow builders, architects, and consumers to express themselves, "breaking free from the Mediterranean style and setting new rules for design and architecture,” the company says. Sizes as big as 32 inches by 32 inches are available, as well as 30 different graphic motifs. www.cerviva.it.

You would think that a tile show in Bologna, Italy, has nothing to do with your home building or residential design business. Guess again. Cersaie, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, is one of the tile industry's most important shows and where manufacturers decide what you--and your customers--will be see in showrooms in the coming months and years.

As happens at every trade show, multiple design trends emerged at Cersaie this year. The Italian Trade Commission says buyers can expect looks that are reminiscent of delicate fabrics and muted metallics, as well texture, and more texture. Stone-look tiles aren’t new, but manufacturers now use digital printing that create porcelain tiles with the true look of stone.

“The 2011 style forecast calls for everything from Renaissance-inspired looks to patchwork patterns to what Patone is calling ‘the mosaic of color,’” the trade commission’s trend report says. “Thanks to technology, all these archetypes have a new modern twist.”