Homes & Design Photo Credit: ABK Ceramiche

Ceramic Tile Just Got a Whole Lot Cooler

From ceramic wallpaper to rusted elegance: the top 7 trends spotted at this year’s CERSAIE Expo in Bologna, Italy.

CERSAIE is an annual exposition of ceramic tile in Bologna, Italy, where over 800 manufacturers gather to showcase their latest technological and design advancements. And it’s pretty astounding just how far the simple ceramic tile has come. New rolling presses mean that the size of each piece is just about limitless (well, a truck still needs to be able to carry it, and installers to get it on the wall), and printing advancements mean that just about any colour is doable.

I was there in late September, and these are the top 7 trends I discovered amongst the literally hundreds of gorgeous new tiles I obsessively snapped on my iPhone.

1. Ceramic Wallpaper

These elaborate, floral- and jungle-print ceramic panels transform a surface. In general they’re oversize, so seams disappear. Stunning.

ABK‘s “Dark Editions” from their Wide and Style line feature butterflies, strawberries, and rich floral patterns—all on a dark background.
Ornamenta‘s Operae line features ombre gradient patterns.
Sicis recently launched their Vitrite Gem Glass, which features lifelike images of geodes and natural stone.
Ceramiche Piemme has an ongoing collaboration with Valentino that includes this gorgeous “Jungle Cold” tile.
41Zero42 is a new Italian company with innovative processes. Their Paper 41 line uses UV light for its final “firing” rather than intense heat, which preserves bold colour.

2. Retro Palettes

From soft, ’80s colour palettes to vintage ’60s-style imprints, these ceramic tiles evoke the feeling of yesteryear.

Marazzi‘s “Ecclectica” embraces both retro geometric shapes and a cool, rose-tinted palette.
The Folk Mix print from Marca Carona‘s “Lagom” line of tiles looks like wood with vintage Scandinavian prints stamped into it.
The “Shiny” collection from Naxos has a very ’80s-Miami vibe.
Atlas Concorde‘s “Boost” collection features a soft, sage-green shade.

3. Perfect Pairs

Much like a perfect piece of stone from a marble quarry, Italian ceramic tile manufacturers are creating oversize “marble” stones that appear book-matched—perfect above a modern fireplace.

Carrara Venato from Lea Ceramiche looks like a slab of marble—though it’s much slimmer and lighter in weight.

4. Feeling Rusty

With the appearance of a well-weathered, oxidized Corten steel, these ceramic tiles add a touch of industrial edge to a space.

Oxidart from Ceramica Sant’agostino also comes with tiny impressions and patterns in it.
Cir produces a Revolution line of tiles that works for either floor or wall treatments—perfect for an industrial-style loft.

5. Heavy Metals

Metallic inserts—bands, stripes, even geometric shapes—sparkle against classic ceramic tile in this shiny new trend.

Hex tiles from Atlas Concorde’s Boost collection feature a metallic glaze.
Ceramica Bardelli worked with Storagemilano to create LInes—a ceramic tile designed to allow for metallic bars to be inserted anywhere on their face.
The Pietre tiles from Gigacer can be finished with gold and silver glazing.
Monocibec‘s Transalp collection features both a glossy finish and ’70s-metallic patterning.

6. Shou Sugi Ban Tile

The Japanese method of charring wood to preserve it—so popular in west coast architecture—makes its way into ceramic, though the range of colours is more flexible in this medium, of course.

The Yaki collection from Brand Viva can be set in intricate floor patterns, and showcases its “burned” texture.
Unlike true Shou Sugi Ban wood, these Yaki tiles from Brand Viva can come in lighter shades too.

7. 3D Vision

The 3-dimensional tiles add texture and a little play to wall treatments.

Flake from Atlas Concorde has the abstract look of a deconstructed snowflake.
Dot from Fioranese has the appearance of formed concrete.
Dekorami from Ceramica Vogue is designed to recall historic tile patterns—perfect both in a century-old home and a modern condo.

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